The world is facing a hunger and nutrition crisis of unprecedented proportions: with every passing minute, another child suffers from severe malnutrition and eight million children in 15 crisis-affected countries are at risk of death. In total, almost 50 million people worldwide are already affected by hunger. Only decisive action in the face of these terrible numbers can still avert the devastating and lifelong impact on children's health, nutrition, education, protection and survival.
Joining Forces Alliance against impact on childrenWe, the leaders of the six largest children's charities in the world, have joined together in the Joining Forces Alliance to express our shared concern about the devastating impact on children: Hunger is preventable and has no place in the 21st century. In 2017, we showed that our collective action averted famine in Somalia. As an international community, we have a collective responsibility to take urgent action to prevent the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children. We cannot wait until a famine is officially declared before we act. 260,000 people paid for this waiting with their lives in the 2011 famine in Somalia. Half of all fatalities were children under the age of five.
As organisations working directly with children, families and communities around the world, we see every day the devastating toll of the compounding effects of conflict, climate change and Covid-19, as well as the aftermath of the conflict in Ukraine. The hunger and nutrition crisis is already having a profound impact on children: threatening their survival and protection and increasing the risk of severe and acute malnutrition. Children are at increased risk of violence, exploitation and abuse due to dropping out of school, forced labour, recruitment and deployment by armed forces or armed groups, and separation from their families. Children without parental care are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity and its multiple impacts. Child, early and forced marriage, early pregnancy, dropping out of school, sexual exploitation and abuse put girls in particular at risk. When food is scarce, girls and women often eat less and last.
Protect children's rights and needsThe rights and needs of children must be at the forefront of addressing this crisis. We cannot simply carry on as before. The response must be guided by the needs and aspirations of children and empower young people as agents of change. Governments and donors must act urgently to save lives and protect millions of children from lifelong negative consequences. Food security is not a privilege, but a right enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. International leadership and political will must both drive an immediate response and address the root causes of hunger, such as conflict, economic shocks, climate change and unequal access to agricultural resources, through community and locally driven solutions.
We are committed to working with governments and donors to ensure that children's needs are prioritised through a gender-responsive, multi-sectoral response in food security, nutrition, health, WASH (water, sanitation, health), education, protection and social protection.
In this way, we can address the impact of the food crisis while protecting lives and building resilience to protracted crises and future shocks.
Joining Forces is an alliance of the world's six largest international child welfare organisations to uphold the rights of and end violence against. ChildFund Alliance; Plan International; Save the Children International; SOS Children's Villages International; Terre des Hommes; World Vision.