Norway’s focus on nutrition is increasing, with a new 2019-2021 Action plan for sustainable food systems

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. Despite being one of Norway’s lesser-funded sectors, nutrition is growing in importance. In June 2019, the government published an ‘Action plan for sustainable food systems’, of which nutrition is 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. Increased funding for nutrition is expected within the context of the action plan, although no specific funding targets are provided.

Overall, nutrition-related activities usually fall under other development areas (e.g., health, humanitarian aid, food security). Due to this, it is difficult to quantify Norway’s current engagement in the sector. According to OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) data, Norway spent less than US$1 million in bilateral funding for basic nutrition in 2017. In Norway’s ODA 2019 budget, nutrition is included, among others, in the budget line on food security and agriculture, though no figure for nutrition specifically is quoted. The government does not report to the Stakeholder Group for the Global Nutrition Report.

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 partners with regards to nutrition.

A few initiatives and spending are noteworthy. In June 2017, Norway announced the establishment of a sustainable fisheries action network as part of the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016-2025). Norway’s focus on fisheries and aquaculture to improve food security largely falls under its agriculture investments (see agriculture sector). In parallel, Norway’s emergency food assistance (counted towards its humanitarian assistance) has risen in past years.

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 a 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 Department for Economic Relations and Development in the Development Policy Section, is a key actor driving related policies.