|Women weave bamboo and rattan strips to make handicraft products for export in Ha Noi's Hien Luong Bamboo & Rattan Export Co Ltd. Viet Nam is participating in the National Zero Hunger Challenge, which helps the country ensure food access and nutrition security in rural areas for vulnerable groups including women.— VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet
HA NOI (VNS) — The Government, in collaboration with the UN and its Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), launched a major initiative yesterday called the National Zero Hunger Challenge.
It illustrates the nation's commitment to erasing all hunger in the country by 2025, a challenge made by the UN Secretary General in June 2012, said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
"Access to food is a fundamental human right," Dung said. "It was stated for the first time in 1948 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reaffirmed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1966."
Dung said Viet Nam's participation in the challenge didn't just highlight its responsibility to respond to UN-led initiatives. It would also help the country meet some of its own goals.
"Our participation will assist Viet Nam in better implementing plans to reduce poverty, eradicate hunger, and assure food access and nutrition security in rural areas – especially for ethnic minorities and other vulnerable groups, like women and children, in a more effective and sustainable manner," Dung said.
Viet Nam suffered an unforgettable tragedy in 1945 when an infamous famine took the lives of almost two million citizens, said Cao Duc Phat, minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. Since the restoration of independence, agriculture development, poverty reduction and food security improvement have been high on the nation's priority list.
|The Government, in collaboration with the UN and its Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), launched a major initiative yesterday called the National Zero Hunger Challenge. — VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam
Viet Nam must confront increased competition on a global scale and the negative impacts of climate change using two major national programmes on rural development and agriculture restructuring, Dung said.
"It is the rapid development of agriculture, especially food production, that helps Viet Nam stand firm in the face of global and regional economic crises, and maintain its economic growth of 7 per cent per annum over the past 30 years," Dung said. "It is recognised that agricultural development is the most effective strategy for reducing poverty in rural areas."
UN Resident Coordinator Pratibha Mehta said Viet Nam has played an increasingly important role in the food security of other countries, both in Asia and beyond.
"The nation has made very impressive progress towards achieving its Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and has been successful in meeting some of them, such as MDG 1, which called for reducing extreme hunger and poverty by a certain percentage by 2015," Mehta said.
The Zero Hunger Challenge sounds like an extremely ambitious initiative, said Hiroyuki Konuma, assistant director-general for the FAO and its regional representative for Asia and the Pacific. However, Viet Nam has already reduced its amount of undernourished citizens by more than 70 per cent since 1990 and reached the MDG target, so completely eradicating hunger is not as impossible as it seems, Konuma said. — VNS