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As climate threats escalate funding to support those most vulnerable is imperative
by CAN International, IIED, OHCHR, agencies
30 Nov. 2023
Loss and Damage Fund adopted at opening plenary of COP28 (agencies)
Delegates meeting in Dubai at the COP28 climate talks have agreed on the operationalization of a loss and damage fund intended to help compensate vulnerable countries cope with loss and damage caused by climate change.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed the agreement to operationalize the fund calling it an essential tool to deliver climate justice. He urged leaders to support the fund.
The fund has been a long-standing demand of developing nations on the frontlines of climate change coping with the ever increasing costs of the devastation caused by increasingly extreme weather events such as drought, floods, and rising seas.
The cost of loss and damage for developing countries is projected to reach $400 billion per year by 2030.
Following the agreement, a handful of countries promised contributions to the start-up phase of the fund. Germany and the United Arab Emirates committed $100 million each, followed by the United Kingdom ($50.5m), the United States ($17.5m) and Japan ($10m). EU member states, including Germany, are expected to collectively deliver at least $245m.
The relatively paltry contribution from the US – the world’s largest economy – attracted immediate criticism. Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa, called it “embarrassing".
Significantly more money will be needed to help vulnerable communities benefit from the new mechanism once it gets up and running. The fund is designed to receive contributions “from a wide variety of sources”, including grants and cheap loans from the public and private sectors, and “innovative sources”.
“Innovative sources” of finance could mean taxes on fossil fuels and financial transactions, carbon taxes on international aviation or shipping and the like. France and Kenya are set to launch a coalition at Cop28 to further develop options.
The World Bank is set to initially host the fund for four years, despite strong resistance to its involvement from developing countries and non government agencies. Developing countries have opposed the role for the World Bank, raising concerns over high costs, slow procedures and the predominant US influence on the institution. They grudgingly accepted the compromise to progress the fund, with certain conditions attached to World Bank involvement and a phase out/review of the role of the bank after four years.
All developing countries “particularly vulnerable” to the effects of climate change will be eligible to benefit from the mechanism. However, the definition of vulnerability is not detailed in the text.
Developed nations have sought to broaden the pool of donors expected to contribute to the fund, but have made limited headway. The text “urges” developed countries to provide financial resources to the fund, while other nations are only “encouraged” to do so “on a voluntary basis”.
The EU climate chief, Wopke Hoekstra, said China and petrostates like the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar should pay into the fund. Others want to broaden the donor base to countries with high-emitting economies categorised by the UN as developing nations like South Korea and Russia.
Civil society experts have said much more work lies ahead and, ultimately, the success of the fund will depend on how much money it is equipped with. The cost of loss and damage for developing countries is projected to reach $400 billion per year by 2030.
“Although rules have been agreed regarding how the fund will operate there are no hard deadlines, no targets and countries are not obligated to pay into it,” said Adow. “The most pressing issue now is to get money flowing into the fund and to the people that need it.”
Civil Society reactions: Loss and Damage Fund adopted at COP28
Harjeet Singh, Head of Global Political Strategy, Climate Action Network International:
“Amid the historic decision to operationalise the Loss and Damage Fund within a year of its establishment, addressing underlying concerns becomes critical. On one hand, rich countries have pushed for the World Bank to host this Fund under the guise of ensuring a speedy response. Conversely, they have attempted to dilute their financial obligations and resisted defining a clear finance mobilisation scale.
“The absence of a defined replenishment cycle raises serious questions about the Fund’s long-term sustainability. Therefore, a robust system, particularly integrated with the Global Stocktake process and the new climate finance goal, is needed to ensure that COP28 results in a meaningful outcome.
“The responsibility now lies with affluent nations to meet their financial obligations in a manner proportionate to their role in the climate crisis, which has been primarily driven by decades of unrestrained fossil fuel consumption and a lack of adequate climate finance delivered to the Global South.”
Tasneem Essop, Executive Director, Climate Action Network:
“A key issue to be addressed head on at this COP is that it delivers an outcome that deals with the need to justly and equitably phase out fossil fuels. We have had a record breaking year of global climate impacts and a number of alarming reports telling us that we are going in the wrong direction".
Rachel Cleetus, policy director and lead economist for the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, highlighted that we are in the midst of a climate crisis falling disproportionately on marginalised and disadvantaged people:
“The consensus recommendations for operationalizing the Loss and Damage Fund are far from perfect yet are an important step forward and should be quickly adopted at COP28. Richer nations–including the United States–must also live up to their responsibility and provide robust resources for the Fund. The needs are immense and crushing for low- and middle-income nations already reeling from billions of dollars of damages and an immense human toll from extreme climate impacts. Moving this agreement forward expeditiously will also create the space for addressing other pressing issues, including the phase out of fossil fuels which are the root cause of climate change and loss and damage.”
Andreas Sieber, Associate Director of Policy at
“We welcome the fund, but rich countries were quick in trying to marginalize the fund by setting a very low bar for contributions. The needs of affected communities are in the hundreds of billions, not millions. This can only be the start and must be urgently followed up with significantly increased pledges.”
Landry Ninteretse Africa Director
“The step towards operationalizing the Loss and Damage fund is a promising start to the climate talks. The urgency of the climate crisis requires that we move with speed to translate this to action and work towards the delivery of financing to communities that continue to bear the brunt of the climate crisis in the most climate-vulnerable regions. It is time for big polluters in line with their historic emissions to pay up to deliver justice to those disproportionately affected by their reliance on fossil fuels.”
Joseph Sikulu, Pacific Director:
“For a region that has already seen so much destruction due to the climate crisis, the Loss and Damage fund is crucial to ensuring our communities can move through this world with dignity. So many of our voices, leaders, and negotiators continue to fight to ensure this fund is operationalized quickly and effectively. We celebrate today’s win, but there is an elephant in the room, without a commitment to phase out fossil fuels this is an open chasm, more fossil fuels means more loss and damage. Unless high emitting nations also commit to a rapid phase-out of fossil fuels at COP28, the Loss and Damage fund will be blood money, paying for the destruction of our islands.”
Ani Dasgupta, President & CEO, World Resources Institute:
“The loss and damage fund will be a lifeline to people in their darkest hour, enabling families to rebuild their homes after disaster strikes, support farmers when their crops are wiped out and relocate those that become permanently displaced by rising seas. This outcome was hard-fought but is a clear step forward.
“The success of this fund will depend on the speed and scale at which funds start flowing to people in need. We call on world leaders to announce substantial contributions at Cop28 – not only to cover start-up costs but also to fill the fund itself. People in vulnerable countries will face up to $580bn in climate-related damages in 2030 and this number will only continue to grow.”
Fanny Petitbon, head of advocacy for Care France:
“Today is a landmark day for climate justice, but clearly not the end of the fight. We hope the agreement will result in rapid delivery of support for communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis. However, it has many shortcomings. It enables historical emitters to evade their responsibility. It also fails to establish the scale of finance needed and ensure that the fund is anchored in human rights principles.
“The loss and damage fund must not remain an empty promise. We urgently call on all governments who are most responsible for the climate emergency and have the capacity to contribute to announce significant pledges in the form of grants. Historical emitters must lead the way. Financial commitments must not be about robbing Peter to pay Paul: funding must be new and additional.”
Mariana Paoli, Christian Aid’s global advocacy lead:
“The fact that the World Bank is to be the interim host of the fund is a worry for developing countries. It needs to be closely scrutinised to ensure vulnerable communities are able to get easy and direct access to funds and the whole operation is run with far more transparency than the World Bank normally operates on. These were the conditions agreed by countries and if they are not kept to, a separate arrangement will be needed.
“It’s now vital we see the fund filled. People who have contributed the least to the climate crisis are already suffering climate losses and damages. The longer they are forced to wait for financial support to cover these costs, the greater the injustice. At Cop28 we need to see significant new and additional pledges of money to the loss and damage fund, and not just repackaged climate finance that has already been committed.”
* Loss & Colloboration News (30/11):
Oct. 2023
Climate-related extreme weather events are happening all over the world with the poorest and most marginalized the worst impacted.
Countries and communities, disproportionately those in the developing world, are being severly impacted by floods, droughts and cyclones, and suffering the consequences of a steady sea-level rise.
They are paying the price of the rich historical emitters and those who continue to expand fossil fuels, further exacerbating the crisis.
The writing is on the wall, countries have gone past the point where adaptation alone can arrest the climate impacts. Losses and damages are happening with ever growing economic and non-economic costs.
The unfortunate reality is all of this is expected to worsen because collective efforts to limit global warming are falling short.
This means that development in the global South will be further eroded, and its people, who are least responsible for the crisis, will bear the brunt of it — through displacement, loss of infrastructure, lives, and livelihoods.
Countries and communities incurring significant costs associated with climate change-induced loss and damage need and deserve as a matter of justice urgent financial support.
The world can no longer afford to delay in assisting developing countries and communities experiencing catastrophic losses and damages from climate events.
170 Humanitarian, Climate and Development organisations issue a joint call to demand Loss and Damage Funding:
In an era marked by the increasingly palpable ramifications of climate change, the interplay between its impacts and humanitarian crises has intensified.
Marginalised and vulnerable communities in the developing countries, despite their minimal contribution to climate adversities, find themselves grappling not only with the direct climatic and environmental consequences of climate change but also with a myriad of pre-existing humanitarian and developmental challenges.
These communities are also confronting both historical and systemic inequalities, underscoring the urgent need for climate justice.
At COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh in 2022, a landmark agreement was forged, establishing a fund and funding arrangements to provide crucial financial support to address loss and damage.
It is vital for the humanitarian, development, peace, human rights, and climate communities to operate in tandem. Their unified voice is crucial in ensuring the delivery of loss and damage finance to the affected communities.
By fostering collaboration, we can secure a more holistic, comprehensive, and effective approach, reinforcing our commitment to safeguarding the rights, protection, dignity, and livelihoods of those most affected by the multifaceted challenges of climate change.
We are witnessing and enduring the repercussions of human-induced climate change everywhere, yet the impacts are disproportionately burdening those least responsible for causing the climate crisis, and it is only poised to worsen.
The scale, frequency, and duration of climate-related extreme weather events are escalating, presenting new challenges due to slow onset processes such as sea level rise, loss of biodiversity, and the accelerating pace of desertification, all of which demand attention.
While communities, domestic responders, and humanitarians are at the frontlines of this crisis, the overwhelming and escalating needs far surpass their capacities to absorb and recover from shocks. Moreover, the existing humanitarian financing system is ill-equipped to adequately respond to multiple and compounding climate impacts.
To address both economic and non-economic loss and damage arising from slow-onset processes and rapid-onset events, there is a need for a substantial increase in finance and in national capacities, through the Loss and Damage Fund, which can be accessed by countries and communities promptly.
This is crucial to prevent communities from unjustly suffering the current, immediate, and prolonged ill-effects of human-induced climate change. Consequently, additional resources are essential to address loss and damage, thereby complementing the role played by the humanitarian system.
We are joining together to support the urgent calls for loss and damage finance under the UNFCCC based on four priorities: access, adequacy, additionality, and accountability.
Access: All developing countries necessitate and are entitled to loss and damage finance based on the principles of equity, justice and human rights. Special attention must be accorded to ensure that particularly marginalised and climate-vulnerable communities and individuals, on the frontline today and in the future, are able to access the loss and damage finance they need, as directly as possible.
This must align with Grand Bargain commitments on localisation. Access should also be flexible, multi-year, timely, transparent, equitable and administratively light in the context of rapid-onset and slow-onset impacts.
Adequacy: Climate change is indisputably costly, with the annual costs already amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars in developing countries. As the frequency, scale, and duration of climate-induced extreme weather events and impacts of slow-onset events escalate, more and more people will continue to be affected in ways that surpass their capacity to fully recover from these recurrent calamities.
Therefore, substantial financial resources are not merely desirable; they are essential. This includes fulfilling commitments for new and additional climate finance and addressing the shortfall in humanitarian finance. It is crucial that loss and damage finance is appropriately scaled to fully cover both the economic and non-economic costs of rehabilitation and reconstruction for affected communities.
As climate threats escalate, prioritising substantial, timely, and accessible funding to support those most vulnerable to climate change is more than a moral duty – it’s an existential imperative.
We demand:
Initiate immediate measures to address the scale of loss and damage finance. This encompasses fulfilling commitments for new and additional climate finance, closing the gap in humanitarian finance, and scaling loss and damage finance to fully address the rehabilitation and reconstruction needs of impacted communities. Moreover, ensure that communities are equipped with the necessary tools to build resilience against future climate-related risks.
Timely, flexible, predictable, multi-year funding support for both rapid-onset and slow-onset impacts, enabling affected individuals and communities to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.
Inclusive and equitable access to loss and damage finance by developing countries, with a special emphasis on enabling leadership and direct access for local actors, marginalised and vulnerable communities. Empower these communities with skills and resources to prepare, respond and recover from climate impacts.
Unequivocal commitment and accountability from historical polluter countries to provide grant-based financing for loss and damage, emphasising that this finance must be genuinely new and additional to Official Development Assistance (ODA).
Prohibit any double counting or relabelling of funds and maintain transparency and adherence to the principles of human rights, equity, and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR-RC) in allocations for loss and damage finance. The Loss and Damage Fund must institute robust systems to manage funds transparently, ensuring they are accounted for separately according to agreed criteria.
Both recipient and contributing nations must uphold unwavering integrity in implementing measures consistent with human rights to empower impacted individuals and communities amidst climate-related challenges.
This is the year in which governments must unite to formally establish and provide adequate funding for a Loss and Damage Facility for communities unjustly affected by climate change. We stand in solidarity with them, unified as humanitarian, development, peace, human rights, and climate communities in our urgent call.
* Nov. 2023: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report: Taking Responsibility - Towards a Fit for Purpose Loss & Damage Fund. Chapter 3: Innovative sources of financing for funding Loss and Damage:
Dec. 2022
Rich nations can afford to pay their fair share to fix global crises, by Lidy Nacpil, Thuli Makama. (Thompson Reuters Foundation)
Will rich countries pay international climate reparations? Vanuatu first asked this question in 1991, and by 2013 the U.S. response was still a firm no. As State Department Climate Envoy Todd Stern put it, “The fiscal reality of the United States and other developed countries is not going to allow it.”
Throughout most of 2022, Stern’s successor John Kerry had a nearly identical response, saying, “there is not enough money in any country in the world to actually solve climate change. It takes trillions and no government that I know of is ready to put trillions into this." His counterparts in other wealthy governments held similar positions.
But the COP27 climate summit in November forced a change of script. Channelling frustration with the uneven impacts of the last few years of the pandemic, climate chaos and the energy crisis, Global South social movements made this the summit’s headline issue.
This helped cement unprecedented unity among the developing-country negotiating bloc and forced wealthy countries to agree to establish a ‘loss and damage’ fund to address escalating climate impacts. It was an important breakthrough in an otherwise disappointing summit, in which language on a just fossil-fuel phase out - notably the most critical measure to limit the amount of loss and damage - was excluded from the final text.
There is still a struggle ahead to ensure that rich nations fill this new fund with anything near their fair share of what is needed to respond to climate disasters. What is not in question is whether they can afford to.
Fossil fuel wealth
Wealthy governments control international financial systems and their domestic economies. We saw them make trillions of dollars in fiscal space available for bank bailouts in 2008 and for COVID-19 responses since 2020. And each year, they find trillions for militaries and fossil fuel subsidies. It is in this context that proposals to redistribute significant public funding to address overlapping global crises are gaining momentum.
The first is making fossil fuel companies pay. While many households were pushed into poverty this year, oil and gas companies made record profits and governments continued to subsidise them. Ending fossil fuel subsidies would raise at least $600 billion a year, and a 10% tax hike on oil and gas production about $400 billion in 2022. Along these lines, the EU and UK among others have introduced windfall taxes on oil and gas profits, and U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres and small island governments are calling for part of these to be levied toward the loss and damage fund.
There is also momentum to shift a particularly influential form of fossil subsidy - international public finance - towards renewable energy instead.
Second, a small tax on extreme wealth would raise $2.5 trillion a year, and related proposals to crack down on tax dodging would significantly bolster this. Because the world’s richest 1% have caused 23% of greenhouse gas emissions growth since 1990, these measures are also needed to reach climate targets.
In a push that mirrored the loss and damage win, last week African countries secured a key step towards these reforms by passing a resolution for the U.N. to hold its own intergovernmental talks on tax rules rather than them remaining the sole domain of the OECD.
Calls to cancel Global South countries’ sovereign debts predate the climate crisis but are intensifying with it. Campaigners brought these asks to COP27, pointing out that low-income countries are forced to pay wealthier countries the initial $100 billion a year they have been promised in climate finance many times over in debt service payments.
The economic volatility of the last few years has compounded debts in many countries, preventing public spending on basic needs, let alone climate action. In response, some governments and agencies are finally making serious debt proposals like cancelling $100 billion a year for the next decade.
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s popular Bridgetown Agenda to tackle debt and climate has components of these proposals, as well as an ask for the International Monetary Fund to inject at least $650-billion worth of reserve assets into struggling economies annually through Special Drawing Rights. Together, these modest proposals add up to well over $3.7 trillion a year.
* Lidy Nacpil is coordinator of the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD) and Thuli Makama is Oil Change International’s Africa Director.
Oct. 2022
Climate change the greatest threat the world has ever faced, UN expert warns. (OHCHR)
Human-induced climate change is the largest, most pervasive threat to the natural environment and societies the world has ever experienced, and the poorest countries are paying the heaviest price, a UN expert said.
“Throughout the world, human rights are being negatively impacted and violated as a consequence of climate change. This includes the right to life, health, food, development, self-determination, water and sanitation, work, adequate housing and freedom from violence, trafficking and slavery,” said Ian Fry, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change, in a report to the General Assembly.
“There is an enormous injustice being manifested by developed economies against the poorest and least able to cope. Inaction by developed economies and major corporations to take responsibility for drastically reducing their greenhouse gas emissions has led to demands for ‘climate reparations’ for losses incurred. The G20 members for instance, account for 78 per cent of emissions over the last decade.”
The Special Rapporteur’s report focuses on the topics of mitigation action, loss and damage, access and inclusion, and the protection of climate rights defenders.
“The overall effect of inadequate actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is creating a human rights catastrophe, and the costs of these climate change related disasters are enormous,” Fry said.
Those most affected and suffering the greatest losses are the least able to participate in current decision-making and more must be done to ensure they have a say in their future, including children and youth, women, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and minorities.
Fry also raised deep concern about climate rights defenders. “As groups and communities become increasingly frustrated with the lack of action on climate change, they have turned to protests and public interventions to bear witnesses to the climate emergency. Sadly, we are seeing many climate rights defenders persecuted by governments and security organisations. Some defenders have even been killed.”
The expert emphasised that indigenous peoples, in particular, have been the target of serious attacks and human rights abuses.
Fry presented several recommendations to the General Assembly, including the establishment of a consultative group of finance experts to define the modalities and rules for the operation of a Loss and Damage Finance Facility, and a climate change redress and grievance mechanism to allow vulnerable communities to seek recourse for damages incurred.
July 2022
It is a long way from Ighembe in northern Malawi to the Bonn negotiating rooms. The members of the local rice growers' cooperative have not heard of the UNFCCC. But they do know that the climate is changing around them, in ways that make it increasingly hard to sustain a living.
In January, Cyclone Ana hit three of the world's poorest nations: Madagascar, Mozambique, and Malawi. To date, it was the world's second deadliest weather event of 2022. Trees were toppled, roofs were ripped off buildings, and massive flash floods washed away roads and bridges. This is what the climate crisis looks like.
But there is a huge disconnect between pace at the global negotiations and the urgency of climate action needed now. Specifically, funding for efforts by communities on the frontline of the crisis to withstand climate shocks is lagging far behind the growing scale of need.
At the recent Bonn climate talks, the poorest countries made impassioned calls to put 'loss and damage' on the agenda, recognise the 'polluter pays' principle, and compensate climate-affected communities for the fallout from the crisis.
Yet efforts to establish a Finance Facility were swept aside, with no agreement on how to advance this agenda at the UN climate talks in November, at COP27.
Loss and damage – those irreversible and uninsurable climate impacts beyond what can be adapted to by communities and countries - is not a future threat.
Between 2010 and 2020 climate and weather-related disasters carried an average annual cost of $170 billion per year – roughly equivalent to global aid spending. Increasingly frequent and severe floods, storms, and droughts are destroying agricultural land, homes, schools, hospitals, and roads. Rising sea levels threaten the assets of millions of people.
Plenty of critics, in civil society and among governments in climate-vulnerable countries, believe that the big carbon-emitting countries are actively seeking to obstruct progress on loss and damage, for fear of signing an open cheque. Yet while governments haggle, those people who did the least to cause the climate crisis are trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty and debt.
The ultimate test of climate talks will be whether they protect current and future generations from the worst effects of the crisis and keep the world within the 1.5 degree limits agreed at Paris in 2015.
For that to happen, fairness has to be the guiding principle. In a new report Christian Aid, together with civil society partners, has set out what an equitable solution to loss and damage would entail, and its benefits.
Acting now on loss and damage will protect the global economy and preserve precious development gains. It will also be a lot less costly to rich countries than passing the buck and playing for time.
Conversely, failure to act will erode the poorest countries' trust in the Paris Climate agreement will be eroded – something that is already a scarce commodity.
If the official UN process is seen to be failing to deliver, climate legal action will increasingly take its place. Litigation has more than doubled since 2015, with Small Island States using the courts to hold historical polluters accountable.
By providing new and additional loss and damage funds at the necessary scale, developed countries can instead choose to reconcile different interests, and rebuild trust. New payment mechanisms must also be set up for the fossil fuel industry to pay its fair share of the loss and damage they have knowingly caused.
There are countless villages like Ighembe across the world, where the human suffering caused by the climate crisis is deepening and widening. The fact that this suffering is greatest among people who've done least to contribute to the problem is an injustice.
It is time that the richest countries, their wealth built on greenhouse gas emissions, recognise their role in tackling this injustice. Without it, the future of international cooperation on climate change is at risk.
* Author: Patrick Watt is chief executive at Christian Aid:
* Report: Loss and Damage Finance Facility – Why and How - prepared by the following cooperating organisations: CAN International, Christian Aid; Heinrich Boll Stiftung (Washington, DC); Practical Action & Stamp Out Poverty:


194 million children born between now and 2030 will suffer from stunted growth
by Save the Children, IRC, UNICEF
Sep. 2023
An estimated 194 million children born between now and 2030 will have stunted growth unless world leaders gathering at the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit urgently accelerate progress towards meeting the goals, says Save the Children.
The latest findings from Save the Children’s new data visualization tool, the Child Atlas [], expose the grim consequences of global inaction in addressing rising levels of malnutrition, which countries committed to end in SDG2 on zero hunger.
If current stunting trends persist, nearly one newborn on average will be stunted every second over the next seven years.
Stunting damages growth and development in children who are under nourished or have poor nutrition and can have devastating lifelong effects—making them more susceptible to disease and infection and damaging their physical and cognitive development.
Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are expected to bear the heaviest burden, estimated to account for 86 million cases of stunting for children born between 2023 and 2030, followed closely by South Asia with 67 million cases. The Eastern Asia and Pacific region is set to witness nearly 22 million stunted children, while the Middle East and North Africa brace for 9.6 million cases, and Latin and Central America anticipate 6.7 million children facing stunted growth.
Pakistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) stand among the top four countries expected to face the highest levels of stunting in the next seven years with over 25% of their populations currently experiencing crisis levels of hunger.
The Child Atlas also found that more than half of projected stunting cases to children born in the next seven years will happen to children living in the poorest 40% of households, underscoring the impact of extreme poverty on children’s development.
While stunting has steadily decreased since 2000, progress has fallen short of the internationally agreed targets of 100 million cases by 2025 or to eradicate all forms of malnutrition by 2030.
Nana Ndeda, Head of Advocacy and Policy for Hunger at Save the Children, said:
“About 194 million children born between now and 2030 will suffer from stunted growth–nearly one child every second for the next seven years. That’s more than all the children under 18 currently living in the G7 countries combined.
“The silent crisis of stunting speaks volumes about how much work is still needed to address the global hunger crisis to reach the SDGs by 2030. If we do not eradicate all forms of malnutrition in the next seven years, an entire generation of children will suffer the ripple effects of hunger. Children must be at the forefront of all decisions at next week’s UNGA; their futures depend on it.
“Although immediate funding is critical to saving lives now, we need longer-term solutions and changes to systems that will stop this crisis from recurring. Reactive humanitarian funding is too slow, unreliable, costly and ultimately ineffective to tackle the complex crises of today. World leaders must invest in early warning systems and disaster preparedness to better prepare for future shocks and mitigate the impacts before it is too late.
We also need world leaders to commit to an overhaul of the global financial systems to unlock the finance needed at scale to deliver the SDGs for all people everywhere, in line with the pledge to Leave No One Behind.”
Save the Children is calling on world leaders at the UNGA to address the root causes of acute food and nutrition insecurity. Only by putting an end to global conflict, by tackling the climate crisis and global inequality, and by building more resilient health, nutrition and social protection systems that are less vulnerable to shocks like COVID-19, will we be able to ensure the same warnings are not ringing out again in the coming years.
The child right’s organisation is also calling for greater collaboration, dialogue and investment across sectors with, and leadership by, local communities, to bolster response planning and implementation, as well as our abilities to act early and prevent predictable shocks from turning into crises. Save the Children is also calling on world leaders to scale up low-cost interventions to prevent and treat malnutrition: community-based treatment for acute malnutrition, supporting and protecting breastfeeding, and investing in community and primary-level healthcare.
Sep. 2023
No More Deaths From Wasting: Changing How the World Fights Acute Child Malnutrition, report from International Rescue Committee
Two million children under five years old die every year from acute malnutrition, otherwise known as wasting. Wasting is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths in children under the age of five worldwide and increases the risk of childhood mortality 12-fold among kids under five, making it one of the top threats to child survival globally.
But deaths due to wasting are preventable. A proven solution, involving shelf-stable, fortified peanut paste known as Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), exists that helps 92% of acutely malnourished children recover. But 4 in 5 children in need of this treatment still do not have access to this life-saving remedy.
As the global food security picture heading into 2024 looks especially ominous, preventing famine-like conditions and increased child mortality from acute malnutrition must be a top priority. There is an urgent need to save the lives of the most vulnerable— children under five years old—as global food insecurity and malnutrition risks increase.
The international community has an opportunity to make deaths from wasting a crisis of the past. But the current global approach isn’t working, and far too many children are suffering the consequences.
Sep. 2023
Two-thirds of global goals for children’s rights and well-being off-pace to meet 2030 target - UNICEF
At the halfway mark towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), two-thirds of child-related indicators are off-pace to meet their targets, according to a new UNICEF report: Progress on Children's Well-Being: Centring child rights in the 2030 Agenda.
“Seven years ago, the world pledged to eradicate poverty, hunger, and inequality, and to ensure that everyone – especially children – has access to quality basic services,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “But at the halfway mark of the 2030 Agenda, we are running out of time to turn the promise of the SDGs into reality. The consequences of not meeting the goals will be measured in children’s lives and the sustainability of our planet. We must get back on track, and that starts with putting children at the forefront of accelerated action to reach the SDGs.”
The world is still grappling with the effects of multiple crises – COVID-19, climate change, conflict, and economic crises – halting or reversing years of progress. Notably, over the past few years, the pandemic directly contributed to a historic breakdown in immunisation services, and learning poverty increased by a third in low- and middle-income countries. Goals related to protection from harm, learning, and a life without poverty are the furthest from their targets.
To realize the 2030 targets, countries need to accelerate progress. Evidence shows that investing in child rights drives and sustains results for all societies, people, and the planet, as interventions in children’s early years go the furthest toward eradicating hunger, poverty, poor health, and inequality.
UNICEF is calling on countries to put child rights at the heart of their agendas and to significantly increase and safeguard social spending in areas such as health, education, and social protection. Governments and the international community should also increase investments to develop and implement climate mitigation and adaptation strategies.
“We can renew and refocus our efforts and make the world a fairer and healthier place for all. But to do so, world leaders must become champions for children and put child rights at the heart of their domestic policy and budgeting agendas”, added Russell

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