Norway - Nutrition

Nutrition is becoming increasingly important in Norway’s development policy

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 of 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, to climate change adaptation, resilience and the fight against hunger, and to non-communicable diseases).

Overall, nutrition-related activities usually fall under other development areas (e.g., health, humanitarian aid, food security). In Norway’s 2020 ODA budget, nutrition is included in the budget line on food security and agriculture, though no figure for nutrition specifically is quoted. Due to this, it is difficult to quantify Norway’s current engagement in the sector. What we do know is that the allocation to food security, fisheries, and agriculture, including climate-resilient agriculture, stood at NOK816 million in 2021 (US$93 million).

A few initiatives in this area are noteworthy. In June of 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 Sector: ‘Agriculture’ for Norway).  

The government also does not report to the Stakeholder Group for the Global Nutrition Report, and its nutrition-sensitive funding can thus not be estimated. However, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC), Norway spent US$4 million in bilateral funding for basic nutrition in 2019.

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.

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 Welcome 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 in driving related policies.