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The G20 must support the world’s poorest children

As the leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies gather in Seoul, the international financial institutions are pointing to signs of a fragile global economic recovery. Yet the aftershocks of the biggest global downturn in decades are still being felt by millions of the world’s poorest people.

A combination of falling revenues and a drive for fiscal stability in low-income countries is hitting the poorest households hardest, by reducing funding for essential services, including healthcare and education.

Ultimately it’s children who are the most affected. Household coping strategies are being severely tested: food price rises and falling incomes are placing a double squeeze on the poorest families. Even short-term increases in malnutrition threaten to have an irreversible impact on long-term child health and development. Combined with cuts in education spending, the future ability of millions of people to secure productive livelihoods could be affected.

Our forthcoming policy paper calls on the G20 to use its upcoming summit to agree steps to achieve a broad-based recovery from the global economic crisis.  It’s vital that the G20 promotes a recovery which protects essential services and ensures that the poorest households are able to participate in growth.

In 2009 the G20 made strong commitments to protect the world’s poorest people. Save the Children is now calling on them to acknowledge their collective responsibility by disbursing the funds they’ve committed, demonstrating strong support for social protection programmes, and by working in partnership with developing countries.  Low-income country governments also have a pivotal role to play, in ensuring that spending is progressive and that cuts do not have an impact on the poorest and most vulnerable children.

Watch out for our report which will be published here in the coming days.

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