Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Nutrition for Growth (N4G) commitment

Reported progress


London 2013

1. Strengthen its approach to enhancing nutrition in all aspects of its work, including strengthening nutrition-specific activities and emphasizing nutrition-sensitive approaches in agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and natural resources.

2. Locate additional staff resources outside headquarters to be better able to respond to country needs.

3. From 2014 onward, monitor and report nutrition-related outcomes and targets against FAO’s new strategic-level objective: Contribute to the eradication of hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition. FAO commits to approve provisional targets to monitor achievement of this objective, including the percentage of countries with medium-to-high or high stunting prevalence (16 in Africa) that have improved their evidence-based process to formulate, implement, monitor, and evaluate policies and programs, increasing to 50% by 2015 and 100% by 2017.

4. Improve the measurement of food insecurity, hunger, and malnutrition, including through broadening the basis of measurement to include other dimensions of malnutrition.

5. Continue to support countries in adopting evidence-based nutrition programs, sharing experiences, and consensus building through the process leading up to and beyond the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) in 2014.

6. Mobilize the UN System, through the UN System High-Level Task Force on Global Food Security, to meet the goals of the UN secretary-general’s Zero-Hunger Challenge (ZHC) announced at the Rio summit last year.

Reported progress

1. FAO updated the Vision and Strategy for FAO’s Work in Nutrition; after a thorough two-year consultative process, including consultations with all FAO Technical Committees, the Strategy was endorsed by the FAO Council in 2021. This is a key milestone in order to guide FAO in its mission to raise levels of nutrition and support FAO Members to transform their agri-food systems for healthy diets.

FAO's Strategic Framework 2022–2031 was endorsed at the FAO Conference in 2021 and seeks to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through the transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind.

Further, 103 FAO country offices reported for the year 2020 that FAO provided guidance and technical assistance to the host country on nutrition-related issues, with the aim to enable access to healthy diets by all.

FAO institutionalized a Nutrition Marker that will be affixed to every FAO project at the design stage to flag projects with a nutrition component and monitor the extent to which the FAO portfolio is inclusive of nutrition-sensitive projects.

2. For the year 2020, 41 FAO country offices reported that they had sufficient nutrition expertise to effectively support relevant policies and actions to enable healthy diets from across food systems in the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework.

All five FAO regional offices have designated nutrition officers and/or nutrition focal points (20 in total). For the year 2020, 78 FAO country offices reported having at least one FAO colleague in charge of overseeing the nutrition work in the office.

Through the mobility exercise, some nutrition officers were transferred from HQ to field offices to better fertilize knowledge and experience.

3. Through the annual flagship report, the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOF)I, which is jointly prepared by FAO, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), UNICEF, World Food Programme (WFP) and World Health Organisation (WHO), FAO disseminates information on progress towards ending hunger, achieving food security and improving nutrition, and provides in-depth analyses on key challenges for achieving these goals in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2020 and 2021 reports highlight estimates for a new indicator on the cost and affordability of healthy diets, which expands our understanding of the challenges to ensuring healthy diets for all. Future SOFI Reports will enable assessing progress in making healthy diets affordable for everyone, everywhere, leaving no one behind. Furthermore, the 2021 report provides critical information on the challenges encountered by the Covid-19 pandemic and presents estimates on the impact on food security and the prevalence of undernourishment.

The prevalence of undernourishment increased from 8.4% to around 9.9% between 2019 and 2020, heightening the challenge of achieving the Zero Hunger target by 2030. It is projected that between 720 and 811 million people in the world faced hunger in 2020. About 21.0% of the population in Africa was facing hunger in 2020, compared with 9.0% in Asia and 9.1% in Latin America and the Caribbean.

4. FAO developed and encouraged its members to use the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) to get disaggregated data on moderate and severe food insecurity.

FAO continued promoting the use of the Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women (MDD-W) as a diet quality indicator. FAO supported several countries with collecting and analyzing MDD-W data. MDD-W has been integrated for use in future Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). FAO publised in 2021 updated guidelines for the measurement and utilisation of MDD-W data.

FAO continued expanding the Global Individual Food consumption Data Tool (FAO/WHO GIFT) database, which is continuely evolving and currently provides summary information for more than 280 individual-level surveys, and microdata disaggregated by sex and age for 26 surveys. The microdata can be freely downloaded and used for expanding the knowledge base on what diverse populations and sub-groups are actually consuming, based on high-quality individual dietary intake measurement. In 2020, FAO launched the comprehensive Technical Platform on the Measurement and Reduction of Food Loss and Waste http://www.fao.org/platform-food-loss-waste/background/en/, which built on the State of Food and Agriculture in the World (SOFA) report of 2019 to highlight the critical need to reduce food loss and waste for healthy people and a healthy planet. This platform combines multiple sources of data, as well as the Community of Practice on Food Loss and Waste for one comprehensive site for sharing information to inform better policies and programmes for addressing this barrier to food security and good nutrition for all.

5. In terms of ICN2 follow-up, FAO’s country support in 2020 mainly addressed issues related to food safety, governance and coordinating mechanisms for food security and nutrition, food systems for nutrition, food environments, income generation and decent rural employment, nutrition policies and nutrition education.

On Food-based Dietary Guidelines (FBDGs)

FAO worked on an update of the guidance to countries for the development and implementation of FBDGs. FAO updated its repository of FBDGs with the latest and expanded information on the process of developing FBDGs. FAO is currently supporting 25 countries develop or update their FBDGs. Additionally, FAO has been working on a list of suitable indicators to measure sustainable healthy diets and consumer behaviour to support countries assess progress in these areas.

On Dietary Data

FAO continued providing support in the collection, harmonisation and dissemination of dietary data. FAO and the Intake Center for Dietary Assessment published a report in 2020 on the meeting “Dietary data collection, analysis and use: taking stock of country experiences and promising practices in low- and middle-income countries" that took place in 2019. FAO, together with the working group on Diet Quality of the WHO/UNICEF TEAM Project, organised an expert technical consultation in 2020 on measuring healthy diets, bringing together developers and users of metrics to share experiences and build a consensus on the metrics to use at a global level.

Impact pathways for mainstreaming nutrition

In collaboration with World Vision and Action Contre la Faim (ACF), FAO worked with 12 partner countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to develop a participatory approach (with accompanying visualisation tool) to define impact pathways for mainstreaming nutrition considerations in plant production, livestock, forestry and fishery. By adopting an agri-food systems perspective – from ecosystems supporting food production to the actual production, processing, distribution, preparation and consumption of food – stakeholders are enabled to identify win-win solutions through a better understanding of potential trade-offs between health/nutrition, environmental and socio-economic agendas.

Capacity development (CD)

FAO developed a Capacity Development Roadmap in support of the implementation of its Vision and Strategy for FAO's work in Nutrition. This Roadmap, developed through consultations with decentralised offices and partners, sets the foundation for better coordination and delivery of CD efforts through a country-led demand-driven approach, systematic tracking of CD efforts and documentation of promising CD practices.

6. FAO, as a core member of the Steering Committee, lead in partnership with other UN agencies working in nutrition, the establishment of UN Nutrition. UN Nutrition is the result of the merger of the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition and the UN Network for SUN. Its aim is to enable better coordination of UN nutrition work and strengthen governance for nutrition at all levels.

Through FAO's Strategic Framework 2022–2031, FAO remains committed to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 and work towards the eradication of hunger and all forms of malnutrition as the foundation for the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Through the updated Vision and Strategy for FAO's work in Nutrition, FAO reiterates its mandate and commitment towards ensuring that everyone can access healthy diets from efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems.

Reached commitment
Basis of assessment

All individual components of the commitment have been reached