Whether due to conflicts, natural disasters or policy failures, food security and nutrition are at risk in many parts of the world – even as globalization drives economic, social and technological growth. Across nations and continents, citizens 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 (Goal 2) means that States must be able to draft and implement policies that promote food security and nutrition objectives. These underpin nations’ capacity 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 nationally-tailored technical assistance and capacity development to strengthen individual government capacities in all of these fields. We respond to capacity gaps identified through an assessment process that is led by the partner government, facilitated by ourselves, and supported by other partners. This process rates national food security and nutrition governance capacity against five indicators, which measure the presence of:

1.    Effective anti-hunger policies and legislation;

2.    Effective, accountable anti-hunger institutions;

3.    Strategic anti-hunger planning and financing;

4.    Anti-hunger programme design and delivery

5.    Continuity and sustained national capacity to manage, reduce, and eliminate hunger

These areas also guide WFP’s offer of technical assistance and capacity development. Demand for WFP assistance must be articulated around national development priorities, critical needs and available resources. Appropriate sustainable food security and nutrition solutions are jointly decided by the national government and all development partners, including ourselves. These solutions may entail building capacity for emergency preparedness and response, logistics, and supply chain management; strengthening risk reduction capabilities through social safety nets; and bolstering climate risk management, adaptation and resilience. Frequently included in country programmes is support to smallholder markets and capacity building in crosscutting areas such as nutrition and HIV/AIDS programmes.

Both technical assistance and capacity development may be provided through WFP’s own staff and as part of its programme activities, or else through the deployment of external experts. WFP may also facilitate the transfer of knowledge by third parties, for example through South-South or Triangular Cooperation models, which promote peer-to-peer sharing of best practices between developing nations.