Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Hiroyuki Konuma

FAO Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific

OPENING SPEECH

by

Hiroyuki Konuma
Assistant Director-General and
FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific

delivered at the

Regional Training Workshop on Food Security Analysis of
Food Consumption Data of National Household Surveys (NHS)

Bangkok, Thailand
23 July 2012

 


Dr Kraisid Tontisirin, Senior Advisor, Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University, Thailand,
Ms Rajana Netsaengtip, Deputy Director General of Thailand National Statistics Office,
Distinguished Guests, Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the very outset, I would like thank the Director General of Thailand NSO for his collaboration with FAO in conducting this Regional Training Workshop on food security statistics in Bangkok for a selected number of countries of the region. We very much appreciate the work of the NSO in supporting FAO in contributing for improving the food security statistics in countries of the region.

At the recent Rio+20 meeting, the UN Secretary General, launched an initiative known as the ‘Zero Hunger Challenge,’ which invites all countries to work for a future where every individual has adequate nutrition and where all food systems are resilient. He emphasized that an estimated 1 billion people still go to bed hungry each day, saying food security was a top priority.

Food affords the very basis for human survival and development. And food security bears on national stability and world peace. Food security has become a top priority to many countries in order to reduce the socio-economic burden of the country and improve the welfare of the population.

Since the World Food Summit (WFS) in 1996, which was followed by the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in 2000, all governments and the international community have made commitment to reduce hunger by half by 2015 as one of their main targets. This commitment has put additional pressure on countries’ NSO to produce consistent, reliable and timely food security statistics at national and sub-national levels for monitoring progress towards achieving those goals.

Moreover, recent food price hike and volatility which affected the nutritional status of millions of poor customers, necessitated the availability of reliable food security and nutrition statistics for timely policy interventions.

FAO is the lead agency for the global monitoring of the MDG hunger indicator 1.9, “proportion of population below minimum level of dietary energy consumption”. Global, regional and country estimates of the prevalence of undernourishment are regularly released in the FAO State of Food Insecurity (SOFI) in the World report. This hunger indicator is a composite one having indicators of each of the three main dimensions of food security, namely food availability, food access and food utilization.

Many countries do not have sufficient resources and tool to report or to upgrade the quality of that indicator. FAO Statistics Division through its capacity development mandate has responded to this national and international demand of food security information. It may be recalled that its first regional workshop on food security statistics was conducted in Bangkok in September 2002 among seventeen countries of the region. Food security statistics have grown in demand both at the national and international level for linking food security information to policies for more focused interventions and programmes.

FAO is pleased to renew this exercise after almost a decade but with different perspectives which took in consideration of significant improvement of the quality and reliability of food consumption data which is now being collected through the National Household Surveys. The suite of food security indicators has been extended to include indicators under each of the three dimensions of food security.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

An updated and user-friendly tool ADePT has been developed with the partnership of World Bank. Technical support for the write-up and dissemination of the country technical food insecurity assessment are now being provided within the capacity development programme. We are pleased to inform you that a few participating countries in this workshop have successfully performed those processes and will have the opportunity to share their countries’ experiences during the five days of this workshop.

Achieving food security for all, calls for appropriate policies and actions that are directed to the people who are undernourished or at risk.

Who are the food insecure and where do they live? What are the causes of their food insecurity? Are national or local food policies favorably impacting on improving food security among the food deprived population groups?

These are key questions that you will be addressing during this workshop to provide decision makers with useful food security information to link with effective policies that meet the needs of the food insecure and vulnerable population groups.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This week our colleagues will have the opportunity to review and discuss different concepts and definitions of food security statistics with the support of FAO resource persons. You will have the opportunity of utilizing the FAO tool for analysing your national food consumption data collected in national household surveys to come up with new set of food security indicators at national and sub-national levels. We hope that the outcome will assist in the identification of areas where food insecurity exists and of those food insecure population groups for more focused policies and programmes in your respective countries.

I am confident that, given the importance of the topics to be covered and the different countries’ experiences and skills, you will seize this unique opportunity to improve your knowledge and skills in food security statistics and implement necessary follow-up actions at your home country to practically adapt and utilize the tool and methodologies learned from this workshop.

Before closing, I wish to thank the staff of the National Statistical Office of Thailand for arranging this important regional gathering in Bangkok.

Thank you very much and I wish you a very fruitful training workshop.