Norway - Nutrition

Despite being one of Norway’s lesser-funded sectors, nutrition is growing in importance. At the policy level, Norway considers nutrition both an element of its work on global health (specifically within maternal and child health) and a pillar of its work on sustainable food systems. 

In June 2019, the government published an ‘Action plan for sustainable food systems,’ within which nutrition is identified as one of four pillars (alongside food production, value creation and markets, and policies and governance). Within nutrition, the action plan highlights a focus on sustainable consumption patterns based on increased knowledge and access to a varied and healthy diet, safe food, and clean drinking water. Norway targets its efforts towards small-scale farmers and fishermen, with a particular focus on Eastern, Western, Central, and Southern Africa. Increased funding for nutrition is expected within the context of the action plan, although no specific funding targets are provided. Against the backdrop of the action plan, the government has pledged to include the issue of sustainable food systems in international negotiations and include efforts in this area in relevant policy documents (e.g., in its strategies related to antimicrobial resistance, climate change adaptation, resilience and the fight against hunger, and non-communicable diseases).  

The government’s agriculture and nutrition strategy is represented in the national budget for 2022 under the chapter for ‘Business development, agriculture, and renewable energy.’ Under this headline, the budget shows an allocation of NOK5.4 billion (US$569 million) to Norway’s agriculture and nutrition strategy. Guidelines for this budget line are provided by the action plan and by the strategy for climate adaptation, prevention of climate-related disasters, and the fight against hunger. The funding is to support sustainable development goal (SDG) 2, ‘zero hunger,’ and has already been approved by parliament.  

The new government has made it clear in the ‘Hurdals platform,’ their current policy steering document, that they want to make the fight against hunger and food security an area of focus in development policy, with a special focus on sustainable small-scale production and climate-smart agriculture. Minister of International Development, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, has said that the government is planning on new investments and funding for food security. The government will work on detailing this investment and prioritization through the end of 2022.  

Tvinnereim also argues that the current global food crisis substantiates the importance of creating a new food security strategy. As food insecurity has turned into a food crisis in 2022, further exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, Tvinnereim says that Norway’s priority going forward is to look at development policy, agricultural policy, and the entire food system as a whole.  

As part of Norway’s strong commitment to multilateral funding, the World Food Programme (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) are important investment partners for the government with regards to nutrition.  

The Norwegian private sector plays a lead role in the country’s global nutrition policy, with conversations driven by the ‘EAT Forum’ (a non-profit founded by the Stordalen Foundation, Stockholm Resilience Centre, and the Wellcome Trust to catalyze food system transformation), the ‘EAT Stockholm Food Forum’ hosted annually in June in Stockholm, and the latest ‘EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, and Health.’  

The MFA leads Norway’s nutrition policy 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) shapes Norway’s policy on nutrition. Within the MFA, the ‘Section for Global Health, Education and Inclusion’ in the Department for Sustainable Development is a key actor in driving relevant policies.