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SCUK response to FCDO announcement on protecting the world’s poorest from coronavirus and famine


Responding to the Foreign Secretary’s announcement that the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will lead global action to ensure the world’s poorest people are protected from coronavirus and famine, Kevin Watkins, Chief Executive of Save the Children UK, said:

“We welcome the FCDO using its first announcement to make a commitment that will save children’s lives and protect children from the deadly threat posed by rising hunger.

Covid-19 has triggered a surge in child poverty and malnutrition. Even before the pandemic, more than 690 million people were already chronically food insecure. This could almost double, with devastating consequences for the most deprived and marginalised children – especially those living in countries affected by humanitarian emergencies.

A hunger crisis is part of a longer-term malnutrition problem. Failure to tackle malnutrition now will leave children carrying the consequences for the rest of their lives. Access to good, nutritious food must be part of a package which prioritises essential nutrition services such as preventing and treating malnutrition, supporting breastfeeding and making sure children get the vitamins they need.

“The UK has used its aid budget effectively to respond to short-term nutrition crises and long-term reductions in malnutrition rates. The government’s current Nutrition for Growth commitment expires at the end of this year. We look forward to working with the Foreign Secretary to turn today’s announcement into actions that make a real difference in the lives of vulnerable children, and a renewed multi-year commitment that maintains Britain’s leadership.”