Moreover, the World Food Programme predicts the number of people without access to enough safe and nutritious food could almost double this year to around 265 million due to the indirect impacts of Covid-19 on food production and distribution, access to markets and affordability due to income losses. We need urgent action to reduce the immediate threat of Covid-19 to malnourished people, and mitigate the risk of an escalating hunger crisis.
You can find out here how we are responding to Covid-19 in the countries where we work.
Conflict is the single biggest driver of humanitarian crisis today; it is estimated that 80% of the extreme poor are expected to live in fragile states by 2030. Insecurity seriously hampers effective humanitarian responses, including to the Covid-19 pandemic. The disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on the urban poor in contexts already affected by conflict could exacerbate existing tensions. The risk of violence is high in countries where the economy was already struggling, with high unemployment, frustration at government performance and pressures created by conflict in neighbouring countries.
Firstly, there is a clear need to strengthen resilience in communities in developing countries. For many of the people and communities that Concern works with, Covid-19 is just one of a number of challenges they face. This year alone countries have had to deal with locusts, extreme weather, droughts and lack of funding. Investing in disaster resilience enables communities to respond quickly to emerging threats. You can find out more about our resilience work here.
Additionally, it is imperative that poverty eradication remains the purpose of UK aid, and only through comprehensive and sustained focus on delivering the SDGs and reaching those people most in need will this succeed. Indeed, without this concerted effort the Covid-19 pandemic will exacerbate global inequality and has the potential to reverse years of progress.
Finally, with malnutrition set to soar this year, we need the UK to remain a nutrition champion. Britain has made a huge impact, and is a global leader. Although the global summit to fight malnutrition– Nutrition for Growth – has been postponed to next year we are calling for the UK to make an early signal of support to help ensure a successful summit. Good nutrition matters for poverty reduction, for unlocking economic potential, for businesses and achieving the SDGs. As the world responds to the coronavirus pandemic, now more than ever we need the UK not to drop the ball on investing in proven interventions such as preventing nutritional deficiencies in children.