ECF Joins Partners in Urging UN Action on Wasting

In December 2019, the Eleanor Crook Foundation joined with leading partners to call for urgent action by the U.N. Secretary-General to address the global wasting emergency.

ECF Team

Leading philanthropic donors funding wasting research and implementation of wasting treatment services, including ECF, sent a letter to Secretary-General Guterres calling for a reformed approach to the prevention and treatment of wasting by U.N. agencies. 


In addition, 45 leading technical, research, and programmatic experts, including ECF signatories, sent a letter calling on the U.N. Secretary-General to prioritize three urgent actions to address wasting, which affects nearly 50 million children around the globe. These letters followed the World Food Day Statement issued by leading humanitarian and nutrition organizations in October 2019, regarding development of the Global Action Plan on Wasting: a framework for action to accelerate progress in preventing and treating child wasting.

Letter From Leading Donors of Wasting Treatment to UN Secretary-General Guterres

Highlights from the letter:

  • In 2018, 49.5 million children worldwide experienced acute malnutrition and only one in five had access to treatment
  • If these trends continue, we won’t achieve the targets for the World Health Assembly of reducing the proportion of children suffering from acute malnutrition to less than 5% by 2025, or the Sustainable Development Goal target of less than 3% by 2030
  • Longstanding inefficient approach from UNICEF, WFP, and WHO has led to ineffective programs and policies, inequity in care provision, guidance gaps, and a fundamental lack of clear ownership, transparency, and accountability 
  • Leading philanthropic donors for research and implementation to address wasting are calling for:
    • Continuum of care for the management of acute malnutrition 
    • Single UN agency oversight of treatment of acute malnutrition, embedded in a wider continuum of care to prevent and treat undernutrition in all its forms in all settings
    • The process to determine leadership and reform relevant UN roles and responsibilities must be more consultative and transparent

Read the Full Letter

Letter from Nutrition Technical Experts Requesting Urgent Action to Address  Childhood Wasting

Highlights from the letter:

  • An estimated 50 million children are wasted
  • Severely wasted children are 11 times more likely to die than a healthy child
  • Wasted children are at risk of disease and impaired growth 
  • Ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) is a cost-effective treatment that has existed for decades, but only 1 in 4 wasted children are being reached with it
  • Asking for comprehensive reform of the UN’s approach to the management of wasting
  • Recommendation is 3-fold:
    • Designate a single UN agency  with overall responsibility and accountability for the provision of a continuum of care for wasting in all settings 
    • Urgent review of the systems for the supply of Ready-to Use Foods (RUF) for the treatment of wasting for the development of a plan to ensure consistent and appropriate provision of RUFs so no child is left behind
    • WHO to ensure a dynamic process for development, update and uptake of normative WHO guidance for the prevention and treatment of wasting 


Read the Full Letter


The Eleanor Crook Foundation is a growing U.S. philanthropy fighting to end global malnutrition through Research, Policy Analysis, and Advocacy. Learn more about our Strategy and Grants & Investments.


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