Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

ASEAN and FAO sponsor high-level meeting to advance nutrition and food security

ASEAN and FAO sponsor high-level meeting to advance nutrition and food security

Bangkok, Thailand, 29 Jan 2013 -- Ensuring adequate, safe and nutritious food for all is a high priority and long-standing goal of ASEAN and FAO. This goal aims to contribute significantly to achieving the Millennium Development Goal 1 and the World food Summit targets to cut global hunger by at least half by 2015 as well as fulfilling the aspirations set forth by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

Food security, as defined by the World Food Summit, 1996, exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. This widely accepted definition points to the following dimensions of food security: availability, accessibility, utilization, and stability.

Considering the equal importance that a balanced diet plays in addressing the double-burden of undernourishment and obesity and the role of agriculture as a vehicle, the need to integrate and mainstream nutrition into agriculture, food and health is important. Because the issue is crosscutting in nature, there is a clear need for multisectoral, multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder approaches and collaboration.

In many countries, agriculture and food security plans state nutritional goals as an outcome of the process. But, most countries lack the concrete actions needed to facilitate food and nutrition security through improved agricultural production, food systems and health. While there is considerable experience that shows how agriculture, food and health can contribute to nutrition, these interventions have been limited in scale, insufficiently documented and weakened by limited institutional and individual capacities to implement them. This workshop is an effort to better share this experience among ASEAN countries.

The consultative meeting will focus on strengthening the contribution of the agriculture, food and health sectors to scaling up multisectoral action for improved nutrition. Particular attention is being given to improving coordination, concerted efforts, building consensus, working together among the sectors and mobilizing resources to ensure that programmes are designed synergistically to maximize the impact of efforts in both the health, food and agriculture sectors.

The overall goal of the consultation is to provide an opportunity for participants to enhance their understanding of the role agriculture, food and health play in improving nutrition, intensifying dialogue through a regional platform and promoting synergies and complementarities of each sectors’ work towards integrating nutrition into the ASEAN Integrated Food Security framework and its processes for action.

To achieve these objectives, the results and recommendations of the High Level Consultative Meeting will be presented at the ASEAN Joint Sectoral meeting of senior officers and the Asian Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry and the Senior Officers Meeting on Health Development of ASEAN member countries on 31 January 2013 for consideration.