Image copyright: Sanjit Das for Action Against Hunger
World Food Day: We can end child malnutrition in a generation
On World Food Day, we reflect on the progress needed to end life-threatening hunger in our lifetimes...
Oct 16 2015
We can end child malnutrition in a generation. But which generation? It could be yours and mine. But if things continue as they are, it's more likely to be our great-great granddaughters’ generation who witness the elimination of malnutrition.
Ending child malnutrition in 15 or 150 years?
Last month we made history when world leaders gathered in New York and adopted 17 ambitious goals for a better world. This included, for the first time ever, a commitment to end child malnutrition by 2030. This is an amazing victory, but the job is not over yet. Now governments need to consider how they will move from ‘promise to progress’ and start implementing this ambitious agenda. However, with such an ambitious commitment 'business as usual' policies and programmes will no longer cut it. The world has made progress on malnutrition, but it has been slow and uneven. Since 1990, acute malnutrition rates have declined three times more slowly than those of chronic malnutrition, decreasing by 11% and 35% respectively.
Today an estimated 50 million children suffer from acute malnutrition, the most deadly form of the condition, which is caused by severe and rapid weight loss and a weakened immune system. Most worryingly, if things continue as they are it could take a further 150 years to end acute malnutrition in children for good.
Malnutrition must not be our destiny
This is not inevitable. Malnutrition is not our destiny if we choose to change it. We can be the generation that sees the end of malnutrition, but in order to do so we must do away with complacency and ‘business as usual’. We will need investments in programmes and policies that put the nutritional needs of people first. We need more than targets and commitments—we need resources.
In August 2016, presidents and prime ministers from all over the world gather in Brazil for the Nutrition for Growth Summit, which takes place alongside the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. This is the best opportunity to increase investments to end child hunger and malnutrition.
As the host of the first Nutrition for Growth summit in 2013, David Cameron must show the world that the UK remains a leader in the fight against child malnutrition. He has already committed to improving the nutrition of 50 million women and children. So this World Food Day we are calling on the Prime Minister to make - at this milestone summit - new financial commitments to deliver this ambitious commitment so those in need will have the nutrition they need to thrive.
Join us to call on David Cameron to get ready to pledge big at Rio
You helped make history by signing our petition, calling on the governments of the world to put tackling malnutrition at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals. Now you have the opportunity to see these promise fulfilled.
Let’s not let this opportunity pass us by. If we get this right, my great-great-granddaughter won't be witnessing the end to malnutrition, I will. And so will you.
Help provide children with healthier futures