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The COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and conflict are fuelling an unprecedented global food and nutrition crisis.


The 15 countries worst affected by the crisis account for 8 million children with severe wasting and 27 million children living in severe food insecurity. In these 15 countries an estimated 40 million children live in severe food poverty, meaning they are fed diets that include only one or two food groups, as opposed to the five food groups recommended for minimum dietary diversity in early childhood.

To respond to this crisis, UNICEF launched 'No Time to Waste: Early prevention, detection and treatment of child wasting in the countries most vulnerable to the global food and nutrition crisis'. The plan aims to accelerate UNICEF's response to support women and children across the 15 worst affected countries. 


To achieve the plan's overarching goal of averting child deaths from wasting, UNICEF aims to reach 12.2 million children and 9.3 million women with essential services to prevent undernutrition, 45 million children with actions to detect and treat wasting and 1.8 million children and women with social protection/cash assistance to improve access to nutritious diets and services.



As part of the Global Action Plan on Child Wasting, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has launched a child wasting prevention action plan (2023-2024) to enhance nutrition in emergencies and resilience agriculture responses to prevent child wasting.

FAO aims to reach 1 million vulnerable households with at-risk children, pregnant and lactating women and girls. FAO will scale up, improve, and coordinate preventive and/or crisis response actions by strengthening nutrition in its emergency and resilience interventions. These efforts will promote small-scale farming and home gardening, small animal husbandry, food and nutrition education, and food safety.


The constant monitoring of the food security situation and the integration of food and dietary data will be key to understanding the risk factors of child wasting and tailoring and evaluating preventive strategies.

FAO will support countries to build the resilience of individuals in greatest vulnerability and foster household livelihoods, thus breaking the cycle of distress that underlies child wasting. FAO's commitment is to ensure that children are breastfed and have access to an adequate and diverse diet in the first years of their lives by supporting agrifood systems that provide safe and nutritious food to meet the needs of children and women.

There is an urgent need to complement life-saving interventions with preventive measures that will help keep recovered children out of wasting and avoid future cases.

FAO's response complements the combined efforts of the other UN Agencies to raise awareness about the critical role of agrifood systems in ensuring the availability, affordability, and access to healthy diets to support the prevention of child wasting and all forms of malnutrition.



In response to the global food and nutrition crisis and the Global Action Plan on Child Wasting, the World Food Programme (WFP) is launching its surge plan to address wasting in food insecure contexts. The plan aims to scale up the prevention and management of moderate acute malnutrition in food insecure contexts in the 15 countries most affected by the crisis.


Over the coming year, WFP aims to reach a record-breaking 22 million children under 5 years old and 10 million pregnant and breastfeeding women and girls. WFP will scale up the management of moderate acute malnutrition to save lives and to avoid further deterioration in children and women's nutritional status. This includes stepping up efforts to prevent wasting from occurring through specialized nutrition foods, food, cash and social behaviour change communication, adapting programmes based on needs and context. Prevention programmes will centre around improving access to healthy diets, strengthening social protection systems and building more resilient food systems to prevent malnutrition, focusing on populations in food insecure contexts and targeting those often left behind.

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