Food and Nutrition Security in the Northern Provinces focus of the Round Table Provincial Consultation

27 Jun 2013

image planting rice in laos. photo: undp lao pdr/silvia jundt

Food and nutrition security, particularly children’s malnutrition was the focus of discussions at this year’s Round Table provincial consultation, which took place in Luang Namtha on 27-28 June 2013.

Government officials and development partners gathered to address issues and discuss challenges for attaining Food Security and Nutrition in the Northern Provinces, which have some of the highest undernutrition rate in Lao PDR. This consultation is a significant step forward in the national efforts to address off-track MDGs and tackle poverty, hunger and malnutrition.

The meeting was welcomed by H.E. Phimmasone Leuangkhamma, the Governor of Luang Namtha province, and chaired by H.E. Somchith Inthamith, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment and Mr. Minh Pham, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative. More than one hundred participants including government agencies/key ministries, representatives from the Northern provinces, international development community and national non-profit associations took part in the consultation.

In the opening remarks, H.E. Somchith Inthamith highlighted the seriousness of child malnutrition especially in the Northern region and urged for collective efforts from both the Government and Development Partners to come up with practical solutions for addressing the issue.

Mr. Minh Pham emphasized that “One of the keys to tackling the issue of malnutrition is a strong and coordinated  approach.  Food  and  Nutrition  security  is  a  multi-dimensional  concept  and  should  be addressed through a cross-sectorial mechanism, looking beyond the individual key sectors of health, agriculture and education sectors.”

According to the Lao Social Indicator Survey (LSIS 2011-12) the stunting prevalence in children under 5 years in Lao PDR is 44%, which is down by of 4 percentage points from 2006. However, the current rate of progress is too slow to reach the MDG target by 2015.

The focus on the Northern region will help government officials and development partners to gain a better understanding of the actual challenges and causes driving food and nutrition security at the local level, which may be applicable national wide to help achieving MDG 1 target of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger by 2015. The lessons learned and recommendations from this Round Table provincial consultation will also inform the High-Level Round Table Meeting to be held in November in Vientiane.

The Round Table Provincial Consultation is taken placed at provincial level on annual basis as part of the National Round Table Process for strengthening development effectiveness and coordination between the Government of Lao PDR and Development Partners.

Contact Information

Mr. Morakot Vongxay, Director of UN System Division, DIC/MPI, Tel: 020-2244 8892, Email: k_vongxay@hotmail.com;

or

Ms. Silavanh Vongphosy, Acting Head of Poverty Reduction Unit, UNDP Lao PDR, Tel: 021 267 736, Email: Silavanh.vongphosy@undp.org