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Joint statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore and CEO of the Eleanor Crook Foundation William Moore ahead of World Food Day

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NEW YORK, 15 October 2021 – “This year, World Food Day comes at a time when child malnutrition is worsening by the day in vulnerable communities across the world.

“The converging forces of rising poverty, inequality, climate change, conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic are leading to an alarming exacerbation of the malnutrition crisis worldwide.

“According to the latest data, 149 million children under five have stunted growth and development, and at least 45 million suffer from wasting — the most life-threatening form of malnutrition. Two thirds of young children are still not getting the minimum diverse diet they need to grow well. Without urgent action, an additional 9 million children could suffer from wasting by 2022.

“Children suffering from severe wasting are some of the most vulnerable children on the planet. They tend to be the youngest of the young and the poorest of the poor. Without receiving timely lifesaving treatment, they are at extremely high risk of dying.

“No child should die from malnutrition when we have the tools to avert it. Solutions to prevent, detect and treat child malnutrition early are well known. With the right policy commitments, programme investments and partnerships, we can end malnutrition.

“UNICEF and the Eleanor Crook Foundation are committed to using our leadership, expertise, and convening power to reach this goal. ‘No Time to Waste', an initiative led by UNICEF and supported by partners such as the Eleanor Crook Foundation, charts a strategy to take known solutions to prevent and end child malnutrition to scale. Our two organizations also support ‘Nourish the Future’, an evidence-based proposal for greater U.S. Government leadership on global malnutrition.

“The global community has a unique opportunity to build on government commitments made during September’s Food Systems Summit in New York and turn these into meaningful investments at December’s Nutrition for Growth Summit in Tokyo.

“We are calling on development and humanitarian partners to – at a minimum – double their financial support to help fight child malnutrition and commit to the solutions we know work.

“Together, we have the political will, skills, and resources to eliminate child wasting and reverse the malnutrition crisis. Together, we can put every child on a path to good nutrition. There is no time to waste.”

Media contacts

Helen Wylie

UNICEF New York

Tel: +1 917 244 2215

Email: hwylie@unicef.org