- New figures published to coincide with our launch show the number of people at crisis levels of food insecurity has nearly doubled from 146 million in 2019 to 278 million in 2022.
- Analysis released today highlights the overwhelming economic case for action to treat and prevent chronic malnutrition, showing a return of over 10 times on investment in nutrition specific interventions.
- UNICEF Country Representative in Somalia Wafaa Saeed tells launch that Somalia remains in dire need, with half of all children under five malnourished.
- United Against Malnutrition and Hunger will bring together leaders from scientific, business, finance, military, diplomatic, faith, philanthropic and civil society backgrounds to champion action from the UK.
United Against Malnutrition and Hunger is formally launched today to call for an urgent reprioritisation of global malnutrition and hunger by the UK government as decades of progress risk being undone.
Our launch comes amid fears of impending famine in the Horn of Africa, and waning UK investment and influence in global forums where it once championed the agenda. Rates of malnutrition and hunger are surging across the globe due to the “three C’s” of covid, conflict and climate change.
New data analysis of countries affected by humanitarian crises, conducted for UAMH by Development Initiatives, has shown that the number of people at crisis levels of food insecurity has nearly doubled from 146 million in 2019 to 278 million in 2022.
The UK’s step back from its previous role as champion of global action in this area has come amidst growing evidence of the benefits of investing in tackling malnutrition. Analysis released by The Power of Nutrition today found that investment in nutrition specific interventions across seven countries delivered over 10 times the return in economic benefits.
Baroness Liz Sugg, Co-Chair of UAMH said: “These new figures show the importance of the UK taking action on malnutrition and hunger, and the impact of doing so. The surge in malnutrition and hunger levels is first and foremost a human tragedy, with millions of children at risk of death and millions more lacking the basic nutrition needed for a healthy life. But a hungry world is also a poorer and less safe world - this is something that is in all of our best interests to tackle.
“Britain has a proud history of leadership on malnutrition and hunger - as we see these crises grow across the world, we need the UK to step up and play its part once again.”
Jonny Oates, CEO of UAMH said: “I was in Ethiopia during the famine in the eighties and saw its impact. It’s easy to feel that despite our efforts, nothing changes. But that’s not true. In the twenty-five years from 1990 to 2015, the number of people facing extreme hunger fell by nearly half even as populations grew. This didn’t happen by accident, but because leaders, including those of all political parties in the UK, chose to act. We know what it takes, we’ve done it before and we know the benefits.
“That’s why this alliance will be pressing the government and politicians of all parties to ensure the UK plays its full role in tackling this global crisis using British expertise and knowledge to champion cost-effective, scalable interventions that save lives and make sustained progress on malnutrition and hunger.”
UAMH will bring together leaders from scientific, business, finance, military, diplomatic, faith, philanthropic and civil society backgrounds with cross-party support, demonstrating the extraordinary breadth of commitment to this issue throughout British society.
Specifically, the initiative is calling for:
- The UK to mobilise its full breadth of expertise, resources and influence to save lives and provide sustainable solutions to malnutrition and hunger.
- New partnerships between government, business, private finance and science to drive innovation and maximise impact.
- The restoration of UK funding for malnutrition programmes and using that renewed support to leverage additional finance and drive international action.
The Alliance will be launched at an event at Unilever headquarters in London. It comes a decade on from the Nutrition for Growth Summit hosted by the UK at the same venue, which brought together political, business and philanthropic leaders from around the world as part of the UK’s G8 presidency.
Speaking at the launch former UK Prime Minister David Cameron will say: “The rapid rise in global malnutrition should concern us all. Let’s be clear what we are talking about: children going hungry; stunted development; famine raising its head again.
"We already have many solutions available, so I welcome the launch of this alliance, to raise the importance of the scourge of malnutrition and hunger, and to champion the role that British expertise can play in making a vital difference."
David Miliband, President of the International Rescue Committee will say: “Over 30 million people don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Famine is ultimately the greatest political failure anyone could preside over. There is an opportunity for the UK to step up, but it’s going to have to step up with actions, not just words. I hope the launch and the campaign around it raises people’s sights – because there’s a danger politics is small when the issues are big.”
Air Marshal (Ret’d) Sir Graham Stacey KBE CB, a member of the alliance’s Global Leadership Council will say: “Tackling malnutrition and hunger is a moral imperative but it’s also critical to our national security interests because a hungry world without food security cannot be a safe and stable world.”
The alliance will be co-Chaired by Baroness Liz Sugg, former minister at the Department for International Development and the Foreign Office, and Simon Bishop, CEO of The Power of Nutrition. The Chief Executive is Jonny Oates. UAMH is backed by funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Eleanor Crook Foundation.
Notes to the editor:
About Development Initiatives
Development Initiatives (DI) is a global organisation harnessing the power of data and evidence to end poverty, reduce inequality and increase resilience.
 This figure has been taken from preliminary analysis of research conducted by Development Initiatives. Researchers primarily used the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC’s) acute food insecurity framework to classify people experiencing food insecurity. Annual country totals of people living in food insecurity are taken from IPC’s population tracker where available. For countries not covered by the IPC’s population tracker, researchers used Cadre Harmonisé (CH’s) country datasets. For countries not covered by IPC/CH, researchers used UNOCHA’s Humanitarian Programming Cycle data of humanitarian needs assessments which record the numbers of people in need and targeted under Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs) by sector. The global total of people facing food insecurity annually is the sum of each country’s annual available data.
About The Power of Nutrition
The Power of Nutrition is an innovative global financing and partnership platform. Its vision is a world where every child has the right nutrition to achieve their full potential. It does this by raising money and creating partnerships to accelerate the fight against malnutrition in Africa and Asia.
 New analysis shows that a $1 investment in childhood stunting prevention interventions yields an average return of $11.63, based on research from 7 low- and middle-income countries.
The study estimated the return on investing in stunting prevention by using what is known as Benefit-Cost-Ratios – an indicator showing the relationship between the relative costs and benefits of a proposed programme. In this case, we used the cost, effect and coverage of 10 key nutrition-specific interventions (such as Vitamin A supplementation, promotion of breastfeeding, iron and micronutrient supplementation). We applied a 3-5% discount rate to ensure a conservative estimate and the research shows estimates for seven countries included in the original Cost of Stunting research.
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