Malnutrition is a growing development priority

Tackling malnutrition, especially in pregnant women, mothers, and young children is an explicit focus of the ‘One World - No Hunger’ initiative. It has thus become one of Germany’s key development priorities, as part of its larger focus on agricultural and rural development for food and nutrition security. Germany was the driving force behind the G7’s ‘Broad Food Security and Nutrition Development Approach’, which was developed in 2015. This is another manifestation of the growing importance of nutrition for Germany’s development cooperation.

Germany’s nutrition-sensitive support focuses on improving the quality and diversity of food and to improve access to nutritious food.

In June 2013, Germany committed US$260 million for nutrition (2013-2020) at the Nutrition for Growth Summit and is currently considering topping up its pledge. Nutrition is a priority of Germany’s Special Initiative ‘One World – No Hunger’, and the 2017-2021 coalition treaty emphasizes that Germany will further support nutrition and just access to land, as well as oppose speculation on food.

Germany’s nutrition-sensitive support focuses on improving the quality and diversity of food and to improve access to nutritious food. Additional priorities related to nutrition include improving access to safe drinking water, to health care, to social protection, and to knowledge on food storage and preparation.

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Interventions with primary objective to improve nutrition (i.e., support for exclusive breastfeeding, supplementary feeding, etc.)

Interventions addressing underlying causes of malnutrition and consider cross-sector impacts (i.e., improve access to diverse diet, etc.)

Quantifying Germany’s overall engagement in the area of nutrition is difficult. According to OECD DAC data, Germany spent US$18 million on basic nutrition in 2016 – however, it is much more difficult to quantify donor support for nutrition-sensitive interventions due to their multi-sectoral nature. According to the 2017 ‘ Global Nutrition Report’, which relies on figures reported by donors themselves, Germany spent an additional US$84 million on nutrition-sensitive interventions in 2015.

BMZ shapes Germany’s policy on nutrition

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) shapes Germany’s policy on nutrition. It applies a multisectoral approach, combining nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions (see box). Germany focuses its nutrition-specific interventions primarily on maternal and child health.

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) is also a relevant actor in Germany’s engagement in the fight against malnutrition. It represents Germany at the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and hosts the annual international conferences ‘Policies against Hunger’ and ‘Global Forum for Food and Agriculture’.