DFAT links nutrition to its major development priorities

Australia’s government has not developed a strategic framework for nutrition policies. It considers nutrition as a development challenge that is linked to its major policy priorities such as health and agriculture. Nutrition is integrated into both the health and agriculture strategy documents. The ‘Health for Development Strategy 2015-2020’ refers to nutrition as a crucial “pre-condition for good health” and has combined it with its water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) strategic priority area (“Investments in improved access to WASH and nutrition”). This focus area emphasizes nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life and for adolescent girls. Other priorities include addressing over-nutrition and the linkage of nutrition with other health and WASH policies. Nutrition is also integrated into the agriculture strategy, ‘Strategy for Australia’s Aid Investment in Agriculture, Fisheries and Water’. Enhancing food, nutrition and water security is identified as a major effort to promote prosperity, reduce poverty and strengthen stability in partner countries. DFAT published a report in 2015, ‘A window of opportunity: Australian aid and child undernutrition’, that discusses the alignment of Australia’s nutrition interventions with best practices.

Nutrition-specific: interventions with primary objective to improve nutrition (i.e. support for exclusive breastfeeding, supplementary feeding, etc.)
Nutrition-sensitive: interventions addressing underlying causes of malnutrition and consider cross-sector impacts (i.e. improve access to diverse diet, etc.)

Within health and agriculture policy, nutrition is an elevated development priority, with an emphasis on high-need areas.

Australia continues to focus on sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia and East Asia, due to their higher rates of undernutrition. This geographic focus deviates from Australia’s overall concentration on the Indo-Pacific region. Australia is involved in the ‘Nutrition for Growth’ initiative and has joined the ‘Scaling up Nutrition’ (SUN) movement. The government has disbursed US$6 million to nutrition-specific projects in 2014 . This makes Australia the 11th-largest donor to nutrition-specific interventions and represents a moderate increase of 0.7% compared to 2013. According to self-reported data from the Global Nutrition Report 2016 , Australia disbursed US$73 million to nutrition-sensitive interventions in 2014.

DFAT leads policy development and decision-making

Nutrition financing policies and decision-making processes are spread across development areas, reflecting Australia’s cross-sectoral perspective. Policy development and decision-making in these fields (e.g. health and agriculture) is led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and implemented by the respective governmental agencies.