Children with deadliest form of malnutrition to be counted in how new global goals are measured

Another great step towards a world without hunger, as the UN formally adopts a set of global indicators on child malnutrition.

By Action Against Hunger

Mar 14 2016

The United Nations (UN) has formally agreed a set of global indicators to measure the world’s progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The agreement includes monitoring the world’s progress to end childhood wasting – the most devastating form of malnutrition that affects 50 million children today and is responsible for 1 million needless child deaths every year.

Action Against Hunger's International Advocacy Director, Glen Tarman says: “The agreement on an indicator on childhood wasting is  a pivotal moment since the  Sustainable Development Goals target to end all forms of malnutrition was agreed  in September 2015, as what gets measured is far more likely to get done.” 

Happy Children, washing
Two cheerful Filipino girls having fun doing washing. Photo by Daniel Burgui, for Action Against Hunger Philippines

The new framework will systematically measure the rate of wasting in children under five years of age from now until 2030. This mechanism is vital for the delivery and implementation of the SDGs, enabling stakeholders to use this data to monitor progress, inform policy and ensure that governments can be held accountable.

The success of securing a wasting indicator in the SDGs cannot be understated, as just a few months ago the Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) proposed a set of indicators that did not include a means to measure wasting progress on the global commitment to end all forms of malnutrition.   

For the last few years Action Against Hunger has campaigned tirelessly for childhood wasting to be properly elevated in all levels of the SDGs. In recent months Action Against Hunger mobilised with partners in the Generation Nutrition campaign to convince decision makers that children with the deadliest form of malnutrition must be counted in the world's development agenda.  “For the indicator framework to have not matched the political commitment to end child undernutrition made by 193 governments would have been a momentous omission,” says Tarman “so we are thrilled to see wasting formally agreed.”

The initial global indicator framework now agreed, by the UN Statistical Commission - the highest body of the global statistical system, now passes to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the UN General Assembly for to complete the formal adoption process.

Nutrition advocates are now pressing countries to reflect the malnutrition global targets and indicators of the SDGs in their national plans and commitments.

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