Lesotho at COP28 – Critical need for nutrition financing and climate change in Africa

In the face of commendable efforts by African nations to combat malnutrition, a formidable challenge remains. The burden of malnutrition persists, and progress has been frustratingly slow. Recognizing that nutrition is not just an outcome but a pivotal investment in economic development, the established targets to advance nutrition goals across Africa present a unique opportunity for leaders to prioritize nutrition financing commitments in the context of climate change.

Recent data underscores the pressing nature of the situation. Since 2014, the strides made in addressing hunger, poverty, and food security in Africa have waned, leading to 44 million more people going hungry by 2018, totalling a staggering 256 million. Globally, as per the World Food Programme, approximately 349 million people across 79 countries face acute food insecurity in 2022, with a substantial 140-million of these individuals located in Africa. This represents the most severe food crisis witnessed in the past 40 years.

With over 50 countries, Africa is rich in agricultural diversity, boasting more than 150 food crops, including 115 indigenous varieties. Its youthful population of approximately 800 million presents both opportunities and challenges, given the rapid population growth and concerns surrounding life expectancy, maternal and child mortality rates, exacerbated by the impacts of climate change on food systems.

The African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN), in collaboration with The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), the Kingdom of Lesotho, the African Union Commission, AfDB/ALN, FAO, Power of Nutrition, and other distinguished partners, is gearing up for a significant high-level event during COP 28 on 9 December in Dubai. The event is to mobilise commitment to integrating nutrition financing into the climate change financing framework and ensure that Africa speaks with one voice on Nutrition and Climate Change financing.

The ALN initiative is at the forefront of the battle against malnutrition. It is led by an illustrious group of Champions, including current and former heads of state and finance ministers. These eminent figures possess the influence and capacity to catalyse and sustain high-level political commitment and leadership dedicated to eradicating malnutrition in Africa while recognizing the critical role of financing in nutrition and climate change.