FAO in Laos

Moving towards the National Nutrition Strategy for 2016- 2025

19/06/2015

Vientiane.- Representatives from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Education and Sports, Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the National Assembly gathered on 18th and 19th June to discuss the contents of the draft National Nutrition Strategy for 2016- 2025 to fast track the reduction of malnutrition to achieve national and international targets.

 The consultative meeting was chaired on 18th by H.E Dr. Inlavanh Keobounphanh, Vice Minister of Health, and on 19th by H.E Ly TouBouapao, Vice Minister of MOES, with co-chairs being H.E. Dr. Phouang Parisak Pravongviengkham, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, and Stephen Rudgard, FAO Representative to Lao PDR.

 The National Nutrition Strategy 2010-2015 will guide action to reduce malnutrition in women and children. Its implementation will depend on strong inter-sectoral oversight and coordination mechanisms as well as collaboration at local level for convergent approaches. The new revised strategy for 2016 – 2025 builds on past experience to provide more specific  directions to address immediate, underlying and basic causes of malnutrition.

 In his opening remarks, Dr. Stephen Rudgard, FAO Representative to Lao PDR, pointed out recent developments that demonstrated the government’s commitment to reduce hunger and malnutrition, and he recognized the collective partnership with UNICEF, WFP, WHO and other development partners in assisting the Government to develop the updated strategy.

 “Last week Lao PDR was recognized by the FAO Director-General for having achieved the MDG hunger target. In May, the Government also launched the United Nations’ Zero Hunger Challenge to ensure every person has adequate nutrition and that all food systems are resilient.” Rudgard mentioned.

 In order to accelerate the reduction of the current 44% of stunted children under 5 years old, the new national nutrition strategy is expected to focus more on improving nutrient intake through improved food availability and accessibility and enhanced utilization of food, and reduction in infectious diseases.

 The document also reflects Government longer-term commitments and complements the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan.

In April 2014, FAO was asked by the Government of Lao PDR to provide strategic guidance for the updating of the National Nutrition Strategy for 2016-2025 and to lead the framework cooperation and coordination among different actors in nutrition.