The EU is a strong supporter of multilateral initiatives on nutrition

Nutrition is an important priority for the European institutions. In 2015, it contributed US$472 million to the sector, according to the Global Nutrition Report 2017.

The EU has three important strategic priorities that it has outlined in its 2014 Action Plan for Nutrition. First, the EU aims for stronger commitment and mobilization for nutrition on country and international levels through initiatives such as the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement. To this end, the EU pledged €3.5 billion (US$3.9 billion) for 2014 to 2020 during the Nutrition for Growth Summit in 2013, making the second-largest commitment to fight malnutrition through projects in the agriculture, education, water, and social protection sectors. US$533 million will be spent on nutrition-specific programs. Second, nutrition interventions at the country-level are targeted to facilitate sustainable improvements in nutrition. Third, the EU intends to invest in research and to support information systems, as well as providing technical support for the implementation of nutrition initiatives. The European Commission (the 'Commission') reported a three-fold increase in spending for Nutrition for Growth in 2016 as an effort to meet the US$3.5 billion commitment made for the current MFF.

A variety of initiatives were set up by the Commission in order to work towards its nutrition goals. The Food Facility, for example, was set up from 2008 to 2011 with a budget of €1 billion to boost agricultural productivity and tackle hunger. The European Commission claimed that the scheme benefited 150 million people around the world. Of the 232 projects that were conducted through the scheme, 80 specifically addressed nutrition and safety net measures. The EU also intends to tackle ‘hidden hunger’, which refers to vitamin and mineral (micronutrient) deficiencies that are often undetected as they do not manifest themselves as more recognizable ‘chronic hunger’. Specifically, the EU aims to significantly reduce the number of children under five who suffer from wasting and stunting and associated cognitive under-development.

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The EU is also active in driving support for nutrition multilaterally. The EU and the FAO launched a partnership in July 2015 to support food and nutrition security in 61 countries around the world, the Food and Nutrition Security Impact, Resilience, Sustainability and Transformation (FIRST). The EU is contributing €50 million to this initiative (FAO’s contribution is €23.5 million), comprising two five-year programs. The FIRST facility aims to provide policy assistance and capacity development to national governments to improve nutrition and food security. It entails an information program (the Information for Nutrition Food Security and Resilience programme), designed to increase the ability to cope with food crises by supplying the necessary information and data to policy-makers in individual countries.

DG DEVCO Directorate on Sustainable Growth and Development is most relevant for nutrition issues

Within the Commission’s Directorate-General for Development Cooperation (DG DEVCO), the Directorate C, ‘Sustainable Growth and Development’, contains the Unit relevant for nutrition: Unit C1 ‘Rural Development, Food Security, and Nutrition’.