World: Regional advocacy brief: Nutrition-sensitive social protection

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More than 820 million people suffer negative consequences of malnutrition around the world. In 2018, WFP supported 88 million undernourished people. To accelerate the action and end hunger by 2030, we must find new and fast ways to get there.

Social protection provides a unique opportunity for WFP and partners to meet sizeable needs, expand reach, and strengthen governments’ assistance to their affected populations. Good nutrition is an important pre-requisite for human and socio-economic development. Through effective policies, programmes and service delivery, malnutrition can be prevented, and millions of lives could be saved while livelihoods, productivity and health can be enhanced.

This advocacy brief lays out ways to strengthen WFP’s engagement in nutrition-sensitive social protection in countries supported by the Regional Bureau for the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. It is a call for action advocating for nutrition-sensitive social protection, supporting the most vulnerable.

Ensuring national social protection systems are nutrition-sensitive at different levels, the brief highlights pieces of evidence on the need for, as well as the impact of nutrition-sensitive social protection. It identifies potential entry points, and opportunities in the development and implementation of national responses, poverty-reduction and development plans; and it speaks to broader social policies, programmes and schemes.


  • Increasing focus on quality nutrition services: Social protection in the region has been traditionally characterized by a reliance on universal food subsidies. However, there is growing consensus that non-targeted subsidies have an adverse effect on the nutrition outcomes of targeted population, and rather contribute to the triple burden of malnutrition. Social protection reforms – currently considered by many countries – provide a good opportunity to address the problem of triple burden.
  • WFP reputation as a credible social protection actor: comparative advantages in analysis to inform policy/ programmes; experience in cash-based transfers; delivery mechanisms such as targeting and vulnerability analysis, M&E and registration.
  • WFP’s extensive expertise delivering food security and nutrition outcomes to support the most vulnerable population. In efforts to address all forms of malnutrition, WFP ensures physical and economic access to a nutritious and age appropriate diet for those who lack it and support households and communities in utilizing food adequately. WFP also works with governments to adopt policies and improve systems to address malnutrition, through food fortification of staple foods and micronutrient supplementation.
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