A new study by HANCI researchers Dolf te Lintelo and Raijith Lakshman, published this month in World Development, examines in detail the hypothesis that commitment to hunger reduction is empirically different from commitment to reducing undernutrition.
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. This study tests 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. The findings confirm the hypothesis. The paper concludes that sensitive commitment metrics are needed to guide government and donor policies and programmatic action. Without these metrics being available to guide policy, historically inadequate prioritization of non-food aspects of malnutrition may persist to imperil achieving global nutrition targets.
The study Equate and Conflate: Political Commitment to Hunger and Undernutrition Reduction in Five High-Burden Countries is available as an open access publication from Science Direct.