FAO Launches Overview of Food Security in Asia-Pacific
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) published a report titled, ‘Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition,’ focused on Asia and the Pacific.

Key messages from the report highlight that the fight against hunger is slowing, but malnutrition and stunting among children below the age of five remains high.

The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted a decision requesting the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition to report annually, starting in 2018, on its activities.

10 November 2017: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has published a report titled, ‘Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition,’ focused on Asia and the Pacific. The agency launched the publication at the ‘Asia and the Pacific Symposium on Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy Diets and Improved Nutrition,’ which was organized in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP), World Health Organization (WHO), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank.

The publication forward notes that 490 million people remain hungry in the region, with “large disparities across sub-regions, countries and demographic groups within countries.” The section points out that, under current trends, many countries will not meet the global goal on zero hunger (SDG 2) by 2030. The report highlights the increasing availability and consumption of unhealthy food items, with statistics showing “significant increases” in the prevalence of overweight children over the past 15 years, especially in South Asia and Oceania.

The report calls reducing food waste “a triple win – for food security, higher farm income and the environment.”

The report also contains a special section on reducing food waste, which it frames as “a triple win – for food security, higher farm income and the environment.” In its analysis, the special section discusses measurement challenges and policy options. It concludes that “data and available estimates are inadequate for establishing a baseline for the purpose of monitoring progress.”

Other key messages from the report highlight that the fight against hunger is slowing, but malnutrition and stunting among children below the age of five remains high. They also call for improving small holder farmers’ access to markets and livelihoods through support for farmer organizations, rural infrastructure investment and improved rural financial markets.

The regional symposium at which FAO launched the report took place in Bangkok, Thailand. The event focused on proposing policies and programmes to improve food production, processing and distribution, as well as ensuring sustainable diets across multi-sector country action plans. The symposium convened as a component of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016-2025, which aims to increase investments and actions on diet and nutrition, globally.

On 10 November, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted a request for the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition to report annually, starting in 2018, on its activities. The reporting is meant to promote coherence and improve the impact of the UN system’s response to nutrition challenges and achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, inclusive of SDG 2. [UN Press Release] [Publication: Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition] [Asia and the Pacific Symposium Website] [ECOSOC Meeting Summary]

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