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Timor-Leste joins global fight to end hunger and malnutrition

09/01/2014 1:00 - 

First country in Asia-Pacific to launch national UN Zero Hunger Challenge campaign 

The government of Timor-Leste announced it is officially joining the global fight against hunger and malnutrition.

The announcement was made during a high-level event in the capital Dili by the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao.

The event was graced by the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of the Kingdom of Thailand, a strong advocate of global efforts to eradicate hunger and malnutrition.

The United Nations launched the Zero Hunger Challenge in 2012. In December 2013, a Guiding Framework for Achieving Zero Hunger in Asia and the Pacific was developed by the United Nations Regional Thematic Working Group on Poverty and Hunger in Asia and the Pacific after intensive discussions involving many organizations and civil society groups.

With the support of UN agencies and other stakeholders, Timor-Leste will be the first member country in the Asia-Pacific region to formulate a national action plan and implement the national Zero Hunger Challenge. Today’s launch was led by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor for Timor-Leste, Noeleen Heyzer with the technical coordination of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

“While good progress is being made in the fight against hunger, the region is still home to more than 550 million undernourished people,” said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific. “Underweight children still comprise, on average, more than 40 per cent of all children in this region. It is simply unacceptable that such a large number of people should suffer from hunger in a world of plenty.” Konuma added. “Timor-Leste’s proactive step in officially joining the fight against hunger at national level is admirable and I hope other countries in the region will be inspired to follow its lead.”

The challenge of Zero Hunger sets five very specific goals:

  1. 100% access to adequate food all year round
  2. Zero stunted children less than 2 years of age
  3. All food systems are sustainable
  4. 100% increase in smallholder productivity and income
  5. Zero loss or waste of food

The goal for eradicating hunger and undernourishment is 2025.

Submitted by: Allan Dow
FAO Office: FAO RAP