Viet Nam launches national Zero Hunger Challenge

National plan of action will guide actions, policies aimed at eradicating hunger

14 January 2015, Hanoi, Viet Nam - The National Zero Hunger Challenge (ZHC), a major initiative to eradicate hunger in Viet Nam, was launched today by the Government of Viet Nam in collaboration with the United Nations, including FAO.

The launch, led by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dũng along with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Cao Duc Phat, and other leaders of line ministries symbolized the Government of Viet Nam's commitment to achieving Zero Hunger by 2025.

FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, Hiroyuki Konuma and United Nations Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam, Pratibha Mehta also participated in the event, alongside provincial leaders, civil society organizations (CSOs) and development partners.

The Zero Hunger Challenge was launched by the United Nations Secretary-General at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil in June 2012, calling on all societies to join forces to end hunger and achieve sustainable development in our lifetimes.

Ambitious goal, possible dream

"Zero hunger is an ambitious goal, but different countries around the world show that it is not an impossible dream," FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said. "We welcome that Viet Nam has joined the Zero Hunger challenge launched by the Secretary-General - a challenge that all of us should answer, as individuals and collectively," he added.

To achieve this goal in Viet Nam, UN agencies, coordinated by the UNRC and technically supported by FAO, provided concerted assistance to this process and formulation of a National Action Plan to implement the national ZHC. The National Action Plan will contribute to the country's Socio-Economic Development Plan 2016-2020, in particular its Sustainable Poverty Reduction and New Rural Development national target programmes.

"Viet Nam's participation in the ZHC is not only an active response to a UN initiative, but also a practical move to further address poverty reduction, food security and nutrition in rural areas, especially in remote and isolated ones home to ethnic minorities and vulnerable groups in the north west and Central Highlands," said Prime Minister Dũng.

Action plan

During the launch, FAO's Konuma recalled latest estimates released by FAO, WFP and IFAD in September 2014, which have found that while Asia has made good progress in reducing hunger by half by 2015 - a key target of the Millennium Development Goals - the region is still home to nearly two-thirds of the world's 805 million chronically undernourished people.

"Our goal must be zero hunger and the launch of the ZHC is a big step forward for Viet Nam as it strives to eradicate hunger," said Konuma. "FAO is a solid partner with the government and will provide whatever technical assistance is necessary to help the people of Viet Nam achieve this goal. We can defeat hunger if we work together."

"Viet Nam has already reduced the proportion of undernourished by more than 70 percent since 1990-1992 and reached the MDG 1 target, so zero hunger is not an impossible target," Konuma added. "FAO's continuing support to the Government of Viet Nam and development partners, including CSOs, will help us meet the challenges ahead and to attain our common Zero Hunger goal."

The national action plan will create an institutional platform to design and implement food security and nutrition policies measures in a coordinated manner that will have a sustainable impact on national food security, sustainable poverty reduction and new rural development.
The UN Resident Coordinator said the National ZHC complements the efforts of the UN programme to eliminate both hunger and poverty in Viet Nam.

"The UN system in Viet Nam is committed to helping Viet Nam achieve Zero Hunger goals through the UN One Plan," said Mehta.

Photo: ©FAO/AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam
Vietnamese farmer harvesting longane fruits. Nhan My, Viet Nam.