People around the world know that education is the key to a better life. Voters from over 190 countries who responded to the United Nations My World survey said providing a good education for all was the best way to build a better world. There's a huge gap between that goal and reality, however: 250million children are still being denied a chance to learn the basics.
The treatment of malnutrition has revolutionised over the last few years, with the development of Ready to-Use Therapeutic Foods meaning more children than ever can receive life-saving treatment at home, in the comfort of their own community. However, as I recently discovered when I visited West Pokot in Kenya, there are still a high number of malnourished children who are not yet accessing treatment.
Hence, the ambitious TAHMO project we are pioneering which requires the installation of 20,000 measuring stations, each one costing only 500 dollars, at intervals of 30 kilometres. The new weather stations, based upon latest cost-effective technology, will measure all standard meteorological variables (rainfall, radiation, temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction).
Peter is just one of many millions of children who have not had access to the right nutrients in their first 1,000 days of life. Without this crucial nutrition in their first days and years, they cannot develop mentally and physically. Peter is just one of 165million children facing a life of lost potential and pain.
At a time when across the developed world public finances are under pressure, we must ensure our aid investments are cost-effective. Tackling child malnutrition could add $125 billion to the global economy each year by 2030. Yet only 0.37 per cent of aid globally is spent directly on tackling the problem. This is clearly a missed opportunity.
Despite malnutrition causing a third of child deaths, new research published this week highlights that nutrition programmes are chronically underfunded - with only 0.37% of total aid spent on basic interventions that are deemed to have huge benefits for children and for economic growth.
By showing strong leadership and committing its fair share of new money to the Green Climate Fund to help children adapt to the effects of climate change, the UK Government can make sure children everywhere have enough nutritious food to eat, grow up to fulfil their potential and do not pay for our past mistakes with their futures.
This focus on the very young is perhaps a natural reflex, yet we mustn't allow it to blind us to the needs of older people. As a doctor myself, and currently president of an international medical humanitarian organisation operating in emergencies around the world, I want to challenge our sense that we should always focus first on the needs of the very young in emergencies.