FAO in Lao People's Democratic Republic

World Food Day 2023 “Water is life, Water is food. Leave no one behind”


Vientiane Capital, 9 October 2023. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and United Nations together with line ministries, development partners, civil society, private sector and other stakeholders in Lao PDR jointly held an event to celebrate important days on the World Food Day, International Day and National Week for the Eradication of Poverty.

Globally, the World Food Day Ceremony and International Day for the Eradication of Poverty are observed on October 16th and 17th, respectively. In Lao PDR, the Government of Lao PDR and partners jointly commemorate both significant events, the World Food Day, International Day and National Week for the Eradication of Poverty, as a joint celebration in a meaningful way to recognize the relationship between food security and poverty as well as the importance of implementation at the national level. The joint event was supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), government agencies and other stakeholders. 

The celebration will be held for one-week period for the World Food Day under the theme “Water is life, Water is food”, International Day and National Week for the Eradication of Poverty under the theme “Decent Work and Social Protection: Putting Dignity in Practice for All”. This joint event will be participated by various stakeholders to raise awareness about the complexity and challenges in the context of water, the importance of food security and to acknowledge the efforts made to combat hunger and malnutrition in Lao PDR and around the world.

At the same time, it is an opportunity for us to acknowledge the efforts and struggles of people living in poverty, a chance for them to make their concerns heard and a moment to recognise that poor people are in the forefront in the fight against poverty.

Today, more than one third of people live in water-stressed countries. Many are smallholder farmers who already struggle to meet their daily needs, particularly women, Indigenous Peoples, migrants, and refugees. Competition for this priceless resource is increasing due to the changes in needs and water consumption or usage. The water scarcity becomes an ever-increasing cause of conflict in many parts of the world.

Although the use of water in the Lao PDR has become more efficient and the water shortage has decreased, the water use in Laos is still lower than the average in the regions and ASEAN. Wastewater treatment in Lao PDR is the lowest in ASEAN.

Dr. Phet Phomphiphak, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, emphasised that World Food Day and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty are two significant events which are closely linked, as poverty and food insecurity are intimately connected. His Excellency stressed that we need to produce more food and other essential agricultural commodities with less water, while ensuring water is distributed equally, our aquatic food systems are preserved, and nobody is left behind.

To reinforce the Minister’s message, Ms. Hang Thi Thanh Pham, FAO Representative ad interim to Lao PDR, emphasised that the theme of this year is very important for people around the world. Poverty is a major cause of food insecurity, as people living in poverty often lack the resources to access nutritious food. In turn, food insecurity can contribute to poverty, as malnutrition can lead to poor health and reduced productivity, lack of access to good education and decent jobs making it difficult for individuals and communities to break out of the poverty cycle. Ms. Hang Thi Thanh Pham urgently called for the implementation of water resource management in order to maintain the balance of water use which is necessary for agriculture, nutrition and socio-economic activities and promote water management that involves all parties to ensure equal allocation of water, requirements and rewards, especially the rewards on investment in increased use of technology and integrated approaches.

Mrs. Martine Thérer, UNDP Representative to Lao PDR, also emphasized the importance of putting people at the center of all efforts to solve poverty and food insecurity.

Although poverty eradication has not much changed in the last decade in Lao PDR and ASEAN, poverty still exists especially in rural areas. Poverty is more than having a low income, but also means the inability to have basic necessities and access to basic needs, for example food, health care, education and a decent job.

This year's International Day for the Eradication of Poverty calls for actions to address the lack of incomes for people living in extreme poverty to have decent jobs and access to social protection due to economic conditions, low levels of education, as well as the segregation associated with poverty. The division is still very much evidenced in the formal workers and there are still up to 250 million poor workers in ASEAN. According to data from the ILO, segregation exists among women, who account for 58% of the labor market.

Ms. Thérer also emphasized the importance of solving the main problem of poverty in a sustainable way, which calls for the use of appropriate methods that promote access to education, health care, and economic opportunities, as well as creating agriculture and managing water and other natural resources sustainably. This will be able to ensure food, nutrition and a good life for all. Ms. Tagre also added that "by working together, we can create a world where everyone has access to sufficient nutritious food and the opportunity to lead to a healthy and fulfilling life, living away from poverty and hunger."

By commemorating the World Food Day and International Day and National Food Day for the Eradication of Poverty, remind us to see the importance of working together to solve complex and challenging problems.

We can create a world together where everyone's right to access food, water, jobs, peace and equality is a priority. In this, all of us, including the youth, can work together for a more inclusive and sustainable future, showing mutual understanding and our actions to be more compassionate.

The event was celebrated at the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) and received support from a wide of stakeholders, namely the private sector, academia, and civil society and individuals from all sectors of society, including youth.


Media Contacts:

FAO Lao PDR – 

Tel: (856-21) 413 205, 414 503, 450 455
Fax: (856-21) 414 500
Email: [email protected]


UNDP in Lao PDR - 

Aksonethip Somvorachit 
Tel: (856-20) 5502 1550 
Email: [email protected]