The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by 193 countries in 2015. They agreed to progress for all people and committed global leaders to eliminating all preventable child deaths by 2030.


SDG 2: Zero Hunger

2.2 By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving by 2025, the internationally agreed to target to reduce and maintain wasting to less than 5% in children under the age of 5.

SDG 3:  Good Health and Well-being

3.2 By 2030, end preventable deaths of new-borns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1000 live births.

With undernutrition serving as the underlying cause of almost 50 percent of child deaths, we must drive concerted and coordinated action if we expect to achieve this promise. Failure to prevent and treat malnutrition at scale undermines the effectiveness of efforts to progress on all 12 Sustainable Development Goals.

There were 50.5 million children affected by wasting in 2017, a number that has barely budged from 52 million in 2011. 

What is wasting?

Children who are thin for their height are ‘wasted’, also known as acutely malnourished. Their nutritional status can rapidly deteriorate over a short period of time, caused by food shortages or disease. Find out more about wasting and how it is treated here.

Children threatened and affected by wasting are at a disadvantage. They are up to 11 times more likely to die than well-nourished children and, while nearly 80 percent of children who complete treatment are cured, less than 20 percent of them have access to treatment.

Funding for prevention and treatment of wasting in children is lacking and has barely increased over the years. Both donors and national governments must increase investment in order to meet World Bank projections of a necessary $2.6 billion per year to scale up community-based treatment of severe acute malnutrition, and an additional $3.6 billion to scale up complementary feeding to prevent and treat the moderate form of this disease.

In the face of this injustice, No Wasted Lives coalition members say “no more.”

With the backing of the world’s leading international organisations and country-level agencies, we are driving a movement where prevention, early detection and treatment of wasting are scaled up, and can deliver impact at unprecedented levels for our world’s children.


No Wasted Lives members