United Kingdom - Nutrition

UK’s funding for basic nutrition is expected to decrease compared to past commitments

While the May 2022 UK international development strategy does not highlight nutrition as a key priority, it has historically been an area of focus for the UK. While current ODA funding cuts are expected to affect allocations to nutrition, there is alignment between nutrition goals and other priorities laid out in the strategy, such as climate, humanitarian assistance, and health and ending preventable deaths, in which nutrition aims feature throughout. The COVID-19 crisis and the conflict in Ukraine are expected to continue putting pressure on these development priorities.


Nutrition-specific:
Interventions that address immediate causes of undernutrition and have the improvement of nutrition as their primary objective. (i.e. support for exclusive breastfeeding, supplementary feeding, etc.)

Nutrition-sensitive:
Interventions that address underlying causes of malnutrition and take into account cross-sector actions and impacts (i.e. improving access to diverse foods).


The UK committed to providing £1.5 billion (US$1.9 billion) to tackle global malnutrition between 2022-2030. The announcement came as a surprise following the UK’s marked failure to make a pledge at the Nutrition for Growth Summit in December 2021, the only major donor abstaining from a pledge. While the financial commitment has been welcomed by many NGOs, many have noted disappointment; the commitment represents a considerably lower amount than what the UK spent between 2013-2020, which is estimated to have been between £2.6 billion (US$3.3 billion) and £5 billion (US$6.4 billion). In addition, the UK has committed to introducing the OECD Nutrition Policy Marker in program design across all of its development programming to increase the integration of nutrition across the FCDO.

The UK spent US$126 million, or less than 1%, of its total ODA on basic nutrition in 2020, according to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) data. ODA funding for basic nutrition has fluctuated from US$165 million in 2016, peaking at US$207 million in 2017, only to decrease to 2020 levels. The FCDO is responsible for nutrition programs in low-income countries. FCDO’s total ODA spend on nutrition-related projects amounted to US$816 million in 2019, according to the Global Nutrition Report. Nutrition-related projects included ODA spend on both nutrition-specific (US$54 million) and nutrition-sensitive (US$762 million) projects.

The FCDO is responsible for shaping the UK’s policy on nutrition in low- and middle-income countries

The FCDO is responsible for decision-making on nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive programs in low-income countries. The FCDO is also committed to including the OECD Nutrition Policy Marker in its program design across all assistance programming. The nutrition team is housed within the global health team within the FCDO.