Executive Director of Save the Children UK warns of "lost decade" for children
Kevin Watkins, the Executive Director of Save the Children UK, warns that unless immediate action is taken, the 2020s could be a "lost decade" for making progress on improving the lives of millions of vulnerable children.
Watkins highlights the fact that children in many countries are already missing out on their education as a result of school closures because of the COVID-19 crisis. These closures also mean that 370 million children are not receiving daily school meals, which represent a vital part of many children's daily nutrition.
Loss of income and the impact of rising food prices as a result of COVID-19 could also put a further seven million children around the world at risk of stunting. Furthermore, according to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the current suspension of routine vaccinations could result in more than 13 million people missing out on vital vaccinations.
Watkins calls for donors to:
- Maintain their development assistance budgets, stressing the fact that poor countries require financial assistance now more than ever;
- Support further debt relief for poor countries. The G20 already agreed to suspend official creditors debt to the poorest countries, which will free up US$14 billion, but Watkins calls for the G20 to push for a suspension of poor countries' commercial debt as well since overall, commercial debt is twice the size official creditor debt; and
- Enable the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to support countries and expand their fiscal space.