Sweden pays particular attention to gender equality and environmental protection in its nutrition interventions

Within Swedish ODA, nutrition is considered as a determinant of health; on its own, nutrition is not among the priorities of Swedish development assistance. Sweden does not have its own sectoral strategy and is rarely integrated as a priority within country strategies.

However, Sweden’s development agency Sida addresses nutrition issues indirectly through its work in agriculture and food security, its environmental policy, and its focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment. It emphasizes the importance of working with women on nutrition issues as a way to empower them, through recognizing their right to adequate nutrition, and enhancing their access to land, equal participation in labor markets, access to financial services, and to technology.


Nutrition-sensitive: Interventions that address underlying causes of malnutrition and that take into account cross-sector actions and impacts (i.e., improving access to diverse foods).

Nutrition-specific: Interventions that address immediate causes of undernutrition and have the improvement of nutrition (i.e., support for exclusive breastfeeding, supplementary feeding, etc.) as their primary objective.


Quantifying Sweden’s engagement in the area is difficult, particularly as Sweden does not participate in the reporting framework set by the ‘Scaling Up Nutrition’ (SUN) initiative to track nutrition-sensitive interventions. It also did not make a commitment at the 2013 Nutrition for Growth Summit, where participating countries signed on to a ‘global compact’ to improve nutrition and made a range of international commitments. Sweden’s funding for nutrition-specific intervention is very low: according to OECD data for basic nutrition, it amounted to US$3 million in 2015.

The department for International Development and Cooperation leads on strategy around nutrition

The Department for International Development and Cooperation, within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, coordinates the strategies of Swedish ODA, including around nutrition. When it comes to the design of specific programs in Sweden’s bilateral cooperation framework, the respective regional department within Sida takes the lead.