Lao PDR Doubles Down on Malnutrition to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
The Eighth National Nutrition Forum and Annual National Nutrition Committee Meeting 2022 held at the National Convention Centre on 21 February 2023 chair by H.E. Dr. Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune, Deputy Prime Minister of Lao PDR and Chair of the National Nutrition Committee. The meeting brings together Government and Development Partners to assess its progress in tackling malnutrition in Lao PDR and nutrition priorities for 2023.
Following last year’s forum, which highlighted the inextricable link between investments in nutrition and the growth of children, communities and the economy, the theme for this year’s forum is “Nutrition for Sustainable Development”, which highlights the importance of nutrition in achieving both the Government’s targets for socio-economic development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“As we draw closer to 2030, the year we are to achieve the targets specified in the SDGs, nutrition remains a top priority for Lao PDR as we recognise its wide-reaching influence on the wellbeing, growth and development of children, communities and the nation,” stated H.E. Dr. Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune “ Today’s forum is a crucial moment for us to take stock of our achievements in nutrition in 2022 and think ahead strategically about solutions to malnutrition in Lao PDR for 2023 and beyond,” he added.
The forum was co-chaired by Mr Niall LEONARD, Charge d' Affaires, European Union Delegation to the Lao PDR, and Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative to Lao PDR, on behalf of Food Security and Nutrition Development Partners Group.
“We applaud Government for the excellent work undertaken in 2022, and would like to reconfirm our commitment to support the implementation of the 2021-2025 National Plan of Action on Nutrition.” said the Charge d' Affaires, European Union Delegation to the Lao PDR, Mr Niall Leonard. “However, to successfully reach national targets including those in the 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan and the SDGs, greater collective action on nutrition is needed. A budget analysis supported by the EU and UNICEF found that in 2020-22 nutrition expenditures accounted for less than 0.5% of GDP, around 2% of the national budget, and primarily from Overseas Development Assistance. Going forward we therefore have to put greater efforts into the planning and budgeting of nutrition at all levels.”
The forum brought together various nutrition stakeholders, including Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Director Generals of key line ministries, Vice Governors, Development Partners, Civil Society Organisations, members of academia, the private sector and youth representatives.
During the meeting, development partners called for long-term and sustainable commitments for nutrition across all sectors and provinces in Lao PDR.
“Nutrition is more than just food. A nutritious diet is key, however it is equally important that people also receive quality nutrition services and are enabled to practice good nutrition related behaviours. Only when these key components of good nutrition are realized will we be able to make the required progress needed” remarked Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative to Lao PDR. “I am so pleased that the representation is so strong from particularly subnational Governments. The leadership of the Vice Governors will be central to translate the commitments displayed here today into the provision of quality services across sectors and support for good behaviours and diets, so that children in Lao PDR can achieve their right to good nutrition” she added.
The Eighth Annual Nutrition Forum was led by the Government of Lao PDR with financial contribution from the European Union, the United States Government, UNICEF, the World Bank, the World Food Program (WFP), SUN CSA Laos and other partners.
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