5 Countries Consider Implementation of Zero Hunger Challenge

Five Asia-Pacific Countries Consider Implementation of a Regional Zero Hunger Challenge

FAO press release

Bangkok, Thailand | 29 September, 2014 – The Zero Hunger Challenge in Asia and the Pacific has taken another important step toward implementation, FAO announced today.

FAO-ZHC-APGovernment representatives from five countries are taking part in an inception workshop on FAO’s “Regional initiative to support the Zero Hunger Challenge in Asia and the Pacific,” at FAO’s Regional Office in Bangkok, Thailand.

The participants heard that with nearly two-thirds of the world’s 805 million chronically undernourished people living in the Asia-Pacific region, implementation of regional activities through the Zero Hunger Challenge would provide the impetus for moving toward the goal of a hunger-free world by 2025.

“Policies on food security and nutrition need to be harmonized through a mutli-sectoral and inter-ministerial approach,” said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, adding the workshop was “aiming for a regional workplan” to implement the FAO regional initiative.

The regional initiative to support the Zero Hunger Challenge in Asia and the Pacific was endorsed earlier this year by member States at the FAO 32nd Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific.

The participants in today’s workshop – from Bangladesh, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal and Timor-Leste – aim to develop a common understanding and approaches in tackling hunger. They will review the current status and components of the regional initiative which aims to reduce stunting of children and strengthening national statistical capacity for measuring undernourishment in each of the five countries and will aim to agree elements of a workplan in each of the five countries.

“This regional initiative is part of a corporate effort and it has the political and technical backing of FAO,” said Kostas Stamoulis, Director of FAO’s Agricultural Development Economics Division (ESA). In order to be implemented successfully, it needs “consistency and coherence of policy and programmes, it is a complex task that requires efforts of multiple sectors and stakeholder,” he added, emphasizing the importance of the workshop and the five countries’ participation.

The Regional Initiative on Support to the Zero Hunger Challenge in Asia and the Pacific is one of the means by which FAO’s Strategic Objective No 1 “Contribute to the eradication of hunger and malnutrition,’ is to be attained. It is being implemented initially in the five focus countries above, all of which face serious problems of food insecurity and malnutrition.