Equate and conflate: political commitment to hunger and undernutrition reduction in five high-burden countries

Equate and conflate: political commitment to hunger and undernutrition reduction in five high-burden countries

As political commitment is an essential ingredient for elevating food and nutrition security onto policy agendas, commitment metrics have proliferated. Many conflate government commitment to fight hunger with combating undernutrition. Here the authors test the hypothesis that commitment to hunger reduction is empirically different from commitment to reducing undernutrition through expert surveys in five high-burden countries: Bangladesh, Malawi, Nepal, Tanzania, and Zambia.

Findings confirm the hypothesis. The paper concludes that sensitive commitment metrics are needed to guide government and donor policies and programmatic action. Without, historically inadequate prioritisation of non-food aspects of malnutrition may persist to imperil achieving global nutrition targets.

Hightlights:

  • nine key components of political commitment are identified

  • political commitment to reducing (a) hunger and (b) undernutrition is measured
  • research uses expert perception surveys in Bangladesh, Malawi, Nepal, Tanzania, and Zambia

  • hunger reduction commitment differs from commitment to address undernutrition
  • commitment metrics must be sensitive to these differences to better guide policy