Zero Hunger Challenge comes to Asia and the Pacific

29 Apr 2013

Bangkok – The United Nations launched the Zero Hunger Challenge in Asia and the Pacific here today in the presence of top national leaders, calling on governments, farmers, scientists, business, civil society and consumers to join hands to end hunger in the region where the majority of the world’s undernourished people live.

“We cannot rest while so many people go hungry in a world where there is enough food for all,” UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said at the launch ceremony.

The event was attended by the Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and Security of Timor-Leste, Mr. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Mr. Gordon Darcy Lilo, and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Thailand, Mr. Yukol Limlamthong.

The global Zero Hunger Challenge, proposed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June 2012 has five objectives:
1) 100 per cent access to food for all, all year round;
2) end to stunting among children under two because of a lack of nutrients during pregnancy and in the early days of life;
3) ensuring sustainable food systems;
4) doubling smallholder productivity and income; and
5) reduction in food loss, at the farmer level, through lack of suitable storage and reduction of waste of food by retailers and consumers.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is contributing to a world without hunger by helping countries build and share solutions to achieve poverty reduction and the Millennium Development Goals, democratic governance, crisis prevention and recovery, environment and energy for sustainable development.

“The attainment of the Millennium Development Goal on poverty and hunger in this region during the remaining 1000 days in a big push is the first step to eliminating hunger,” Mr. Eliasson said.

“We are counting on all partners to come together and make this happen. Governments, farmers, scientists, activists, businesses and consumers in Asia-Pacific all have to be part of this effort.”

The Asia-Pacific Zero Hunger Challenge was launched during the 69th ESCAP Commission session.  The Regional Thematic Working Group on Poverty and Hunger is co-chaired by ESCAP, the UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Centre and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.