Spain - Nutrition

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. In particular, it aims to provide all people suffering from malnutrition with food supplies and to support developing countries in building effective and sustainable agri-food systems. Further orientations and priorities are outlined in the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation’s (AECID) ‘Sectoral Intervention Plan on Rural Development and Fight against Hunger’. 

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 focusing on developing resilience mechanisms and crisis-management tools. The AECID places emphasis on women’s empowerment and their participation in decision-making processes within the sector. 


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).


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 OECD data, Spain’s funding for ‘basic nutrition’ amounted to US$6 million in 2018.  

In parallel, Spain is becoming more engaged in pushing the issue of nutrition forward 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. 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, particularly for the Sahel region. Furthermore, since 2009, Spain has supported the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) through a food security and nutrition-focused development cooperation program amounting to €38 million (US$45 million).  

MAEUEC and AECID are key policymakers 

Within Spain’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAEUEC), the rural development and food security division drives strategy. Within Spain’s development agency, AECID, the Directorate for Multilateral and Sectoral Cooperation, as well as regional departments (i.e., Directorate for Africa and Directorate for Latin America), oversee programming and implementation of nutrition-related programs. The AECID’s Humanitarian Office manages emergency interventions related to food security and nutrition, such as in the Sahel region.