Empowering Lao PDR Through Nutrition: Building the Foundation for a Prosperous Future

The Ninth National Nutrition Forum and Annual National Nutrition Committee Meeting 2024 brought together Government and Development Partners to assess progress in tackling malnutrition in Lao PDR and to make commitments for future action.

06 March 2024
Nutrition Forum 2024.
UNICEF Lao PDR/2024/OVannasouk

Vientiane, 6 March 2024 – Today the Deputy Prime Minister of Lao PDR and Chair of the National Nutrition Committee, H.E. Dr. Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune chaired the Ninth National Nutrition Forum, a key annual event about nutrition in Lao PDR. The event acknowledged that good nutrition and healthy diets is important for people’s well-being, which is an important milestone for the socio-economic development of our country.  

Following last year’s forum, which highlighted the importance of nutrition for sustainable development, this year’s meeting focused sharply on nutrition as a driving force for investing in people and nurturing a prosperous nation. The theme “Nutrition for Human Capital Development” aligns with achieving the Government’s socio-economic development agenda as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

"Approaching the 2025 milestone for our 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan and the 2030 SDG targets, Lao PDR prioritizes nutrition, recognizing its critical role in the health, growth, and development of our nation," said H.E. Dr. Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune, chair of the event. "This forum marks a pivotal time to evaluate our 2023 nutrition achievements, commit to future goals, and strategize against malnutrition for 2024 and beyond." 

The forum was co-chaired by H.E. Ms. Ina Marčiulionytė, the European Union Ambassador to Lao PDR, and UNICEF, Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, Representative to UNICEF Lao PDR, on behalf of the Food Security and Nutrition Development Partners Group. 

"We commend the Government's efforts in 2023 and its commitment to nutrition action," stated H.E. Ms. Ina Marčiulionytė, EU Ambassador to Lao PDR. "We reaffirm our support for the 2021-2025 National Nutrition Plan. Yet, to meet the 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan and SDG targets, we need more collective action on nutrition. Insights from national nutrition information platforms and assessments highlight this need. Moving forward, enhancing policy recommendations and ensuring alignment with nutrition trends across Lao PDR is essential." 

The forum brought together various nutrition stakeholders, including Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Director Generals of key line ministries, Vice Governors, Development Partners, Civil Society Organizations, members of academia, the private sector and youth representatives. 

Key achievements and future priorities were set out including a summary of progress made, what has been achieved against the expected NPAN targets, and commitments and actions for 2024. This was followed by the signing of the commitments pledged.  

"In a world where the health and wellbeing of our communities are more interconnected than ever, it's imperative to view nutrition not just as a health issue, but as a cornerstone of socio-economic development and human capital investment,” said Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, Representative to UNICEF Lao PDR. “The strides Lao PDR is making today in improving nutrition are planting the seeds for a stronger, more resilient, and prosperous nation tomorrow. UNICEF is proud to stand with Lao PDR in this vital journey, ensuring that every child and community has the foundation for success through enhanced nutrition." 

A village representative from Vientiane Province shared lessons learned from the implementation of the multi-sectoral nutrition model villages, which demonstrated notable progress and good achievements. 

Provincial Governors recorded and presented videos, outlining key achievements and commitments up to 2025. These pledges were province-specific and in alignment with the NPAN targets and Sustainable Development Goal 2. And development partners called for long-term commitments to invest in people for better nutrition across all sectors and provinces in Lao PDR. 

The Ninth Annual Nutrition Forum was led by the Government of Lao PDR with financial contributions from the European Union, the United States Government, UNICEF, the World Bank, the World Food Program (WFP) and SUN CSA Laos.  

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