The global Zero Hunger Challenge (ZHC) was initiated at the Rio+20 Conference in June 2012. In April the following year, a regional ZHC for Asia and the Pacific was launched by the United Nations, the UN’s FAO and other associated agencies. It was a high-level event, with heads of governments as well as other high-ranking senior officials from across the region. Subsequently, the UN Regional Thematic Working Group on Poverty and Hunger, chaired by FAO along with UNESCAP and UNDP, prepared a “Regional Guiding Framework for Achieving Zero Hunger in Asia and the Pacific.” It called for all stakeholders to carry the momentum forward with concrete action at country level.
In order to assist its member countries to do so, FAO started the Regional Initiative on Support to the Zero Hunger Challenge in Asia and the Pacific (RI-ZHC) which has been implemented in Bangladesh, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Nepal and Timor-Leste. It has been further extended to Cambodia, Viet Nam, Fiji, Pakistan and Thailand. In January 2016, a workshop on the RI-ZHC was held, with the participation of national Ministries of Agriculture, Ministries of Health and FAO Representatives, who established three main thematic components under the RI-ZHC for the 2016-2017 biennium. They are based on their critical importance for achieving zero hunger, reducing malnutrition, as well as on FAO’s comparative advantages and experience in the region.
Main thematic components:
- Formulate food security and nutrition strategy, policy and coordination mechanism including sectoral policy;
- Promote nutrition-sensitive agriculture;
- Conduct data analysis and monitoring of SDGs for decision-making.
RI-ZHC is implemented under FAO’s Strategic Objective 1 (SO1), and is also contributing to the remaining four SO’s – SO2, SO3, SO4 and SO5, and, of course, directly contributes to achieving SDG 2 – the eradication of hunger by 2030.
The Regional Initiative Delivery Team includes staff from the FAO Representations in the relevant member countries, FAO headquarters and the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP).
Main Regional Activities:
- ASEAN/FAO Multi-sectoral Consultation to Improve Nutrition Policies through Inter-sectoral Coordination on 24 February 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand
- Regional Expert Consultation on Scoping, Prioritizing and Mapping of Neglected and Underutilized Crop Species in Asia on 3-5 December 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand
Main National Activities in 2016:
- Technical Symposium on Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture in Bangladesh: Bringing Agriculture into the Dialogue for Improving Nutrition Outcomes
- Monitoring Report 2016 of the National Food Policy Plan of Action (NFP PoA) and the Country Investment Plan (CIP)
- Lao PDR government staff study tour to Bangladesh to learn Bangladesh’s experiences in strengthening capacity for mainstreaming nutrition into agriculture and promoting community-based nutrition-sensitive interventions
- Measuring Food Security in Bangladesh: Challenges and Way-Forward
- Launch of Zero Hunger Challenge National Action Plan
- Preparation of Right to Food Bill
- Food and Nutrition Security Plan of Action
- National Save Food Campaign with the leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) and in partnership with the University of Timor-Leste
- Inter-ministerial Food Security and Sovereignty and Nutrition Council in Timor-Leste (KONSSANTIL) conducted the National Zero Hunger Campaign
- Implementation of the Zero Hunger National Action Plan (PAN-HAM-TIL) pilot activities in focus villages of the municipalities of Manufahi, Bobonaro and Baucau
- High-level meeting in February 2016 with the UN Resident Coordinator, Ministers of the Ministry of Rural Development and FAO in Viet Nam
- Establishment of a National Steering Committee on Zero Hunger in May 2016
- Coordination Office for National Action Plan on Zero Hunger Challenge within the Department of Cooperatives and Rural Development in November 2016