As the UK hosts the global nutrition summit on World Children’s Day, 45 million children continue to suffer (PDF) from wasting, 150 million from stunting, and malnutrition continues to drive around half of all preventable child deaths worldwide.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, global progress in tackling child hunger and malnutrition has stalled. Wasting in sub-Saharan Africa is now rising, and humanitarian crises of food insecurity and starvation have escalated in multiple regions. The World Food Programme projects a staggering 60% shortfall in operating budget for 2023 – with severe impact on availability of adequate aid packages in highly aid-dependent countries and communities.
Against this background, we call on the UK Government to reverse the cuts to our international aid made since 2020 – cuts which have impacted disproportionately on nutrition programmes, and which the government itself acknowledges will lead to preventable child deaths.
This summit provides an opportunity for the UK to re-establish its credentials as a leader on global nutrition – at a minimum by returning to the manifesto commitment to allocate no less than 0.7% of Gross National Income on overseas development assistance (ODA) , and by working with other bilateral, multilateral and philanthropic partners to scale up the funding desperately needed for global and regional nutrition programming.