The Social Protection Pathways to Nutrition: A Stocktaking of Evidence in Asia and the Pacific

Interest in food security and nutrition has increased dramatically in recent years, especially since the 2008 global financial crisis that led to generalized food shortages, and rising food prices. It is now well understood that the design of social protection programmes can be enhanced to maximize and sustain important food security and nutrition results. Comprehensive approaches including multiple sectors such as social protection, health, education and agriculture, can better tackle complex challenges and achieve vital impacts in terms of reduced stunting and other nutrition outcomes.

Despite this confirmation, recent and updated evidence from Asia and the Pacific on the impacts of these interventions on the underlying causes of malnutrition is still exceptional and hard to come by, and when they do results are mixed or inconsistent. Drawing on the wealth of evidence gathered by the authors for the 2019 Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition —SOFI report— this paper summarizes the evidence available in the region with the objective of facilitating discussion on the topic.