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Whether due to conflicts, natural disasters or policy failures, food security and nutrition are at risk in many parts of the world. Across nations and continents, people increasingly share expectations of accountability and good governance. 

Against this backdrop, governments have unanimously adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These represent the broadest attempt so far to tackle multiple challenges, including persistent poverty, hunger and malnutrition.

Achieving Zero Hunger (SDG 2) means that countries must be able to draft and implement policies that promote food security and nutrition objectives. These underpin nations’ capacities to withstand shocks and stress factors which limit the availability of food or constrain access to it.

To be relevant and effective, food security and nutrition policies must be rooted in strong governance, responsive institutions and an enabling environment. A combination is often involved, of disaster risk management plans, robust social protection systems and inclusive economic and social programmes.

The World Food Programme (WFP) offers country-tailored technical assistance to strengthen national systems. The WFP Strategic Plan (2022-2025) highlights WFP’s role in improving the sustainable functioning of national systems and programmes – particularly emergency preparedness and response, food systems and social protection systems. 

Country Capacity Strengthening (CCS) constitutes a fundamental component of WFP’s contribution to sustainably addressing the underlying drivers of food insecurity and malnutrition.  

In 2022, WFP developed an adaptive approach to CCS that is driven by the national and local context and presents a strategic framework for working effectively with a range of actors. 

Five pathways help structure national demand for capacity strengthening: 

•    Policy and legislation 
•    Institutional effectiveness and accountability
•    Strategic planning and financing
•    Programme design and delivery 
•    Engagement of non-government actors 

WFP’s context-driven support is articulated around national development priorities, critical needs and available resources. Sustainable food security and nutrition solutions are jointly decided by the national government and development partners. These solutions may involve capacity for emergency preparedness and response and supply chain management; strengthening  social protection; and enhancing the resilience of food systems.

Capacity strengthening for school-meal programmes, and in crosscutting areas such as climate action and resilience building, are frequently included in WFP country programmes.  

WFP may also facilitate the transfer of knowledge by third parties, for example through South-South or Triangular Cooperation initiatives, which promote peer-to-peer sharing of best practices.

WFP's 2022 Country Capacity Strengthening Policy Update