Spain - Nutrition
At a glance
Spain uses political action to drive nutrition-related issues forward internationally
Spain outlines its position regarding nutrition in its ‘Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation for 2018 to 2021’ (Master Plan), listing nutrition under the ‘zero hunger’ strategic priority, together with food security. The Master Plan continues to place nutrition (the goal of ‘zero hunger’ and ending all forms of malnutrition) among its top priorities. It aims to provide all people suffering from malnutrition with food supplies and to support low-income countries (LICs) in building effective and sustainable agri-food systems. Further orientations and priorities are outlined in the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation’s (AECID’s) ‘Sectoral Intervention Plan on Rural Development and Fight against Hunger’. Under Spain’s new Foreign Action Strategy (2021-2024), nutrition is highlighted as a key element of tackling poverty and contributing to Spain’s development cooperation.
Spain strongly links nutrition-related issues to food security and the fight against hunger. It focuses on women, children, and vulnerable populations. Its interventions in nutrition aim to work on prevention and risk-management efforts by developing resilience mechanisms and crisis-management tools. AECID places emphasis on women’s empowerment and their participation in decision-making processes within the sector.
The cross-sectoral nature of nutrition interventions makes it difficult to accurately quantify Spain’s overall engagement in this sector. Spain does not participate in the reporting framework set by the ‘Scaling Up Nutrition’ (SUN) initiative, an international initiative to track nutrition-sensitive interventions. However, according to Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) data, Spain’s funding for ‘basic nutrition’ amounted to US$8 million in 2020.
Spain engaging more to promote nutrition on the international stage. For example, during the drafting of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, Spain actively promoted the importance of food and nutrition security. Since 2009, Spain has also supported the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) through a food security and nutrition-focused development cooperation program amounting to €38 million (US$43 million). In October 2018, Spain hosted the first World Parliamentarian Forum Against Hunger and Malnutrition to build support for the Sustainable Development Goal of ‘zero hunger’. Spain also hosts the World Food Program’s (WFP) logistics center on the Canary Islands, which is an important hub for humanitarian assistance to ‘sub-Saharan Africa’ (meaning the countries of Eastern, Western, Central, and Southern Africa as designated by the African Union), particularly for the Sahel region. Most recently, in April 2022, at a high-level meeting on food and nutrition in the Sahel and Lake Chad, the Spanish government announced a €6 million (US$7 million) pledge to foster nutrition standards given the ongoing food crisis in the region due to drought, regional conflict and rising food costs.
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.
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).
MAUC and AECID are key policymakers
Within Spain’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAUC), the General Directorate for Sustainable Development Policies (DGPOLDES) drives strategy on rural development and food security. At AECID, the Directorate for Multilateral and Sectoral Cooperation, as well as regional departments (including the Directorate for Africa and Directorate for Latin America), oversee the programming and implementation of nutrition-related programs. AECID’s Humanitarian Office manages emergency interventions related to food security and nutrition, such as those in the Sahel region.