Malnutrition is caused by having key nutrients missing from your diet. It is responsible for more ill health than any other cause. Malnutrition prevents vaccines from working and devastates immune systems. This can cause death, lifelong serious illness and dramatically hinders the ability for countries and communities to develop economically. The good news is that malnutrition is preventable and treatable – and 2020 will be a key moment in the fight to end it once and for all.

The UK has spearheaded the global fight against malnutrition. The ‘Nutrition for Growth’ agenda was kicked off by the British Government in 2013, where partners pledged $24bn over seven years to ending malnutrition. The summit caused a 33% uplift in global nutrition spending. The UK is currently the world’s leading global donor on nutrition, followed very closely by the World Bank and the US. Nutrition programmes run by the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) alone reached 42 million people between April 2015 and March 2018 – that’s a population five times that of London whose lives have been saved or transformed by UK interventions. 

In 2015, governments agreed to end malnutrition in all its forms by 2030. Despite immense progress, at current rates the UN expects this target to be “largely missed.” In 2020, existing Nutrition for Growth pledges will expire and Japan will host the next summit in Tokyo. The summit is our chance to get back on track and end malnutrition once and for all – but that will
not be possible unless the UK continues in its role as global leader.