Press Release: FAO launch of the Regional Overview of Food Insecurity -Asia and the Pacific 2015

Yangon, Myanmar 3 June 2015. According to The Regional Overview of Food Insecurity -Asia and the Pacific 2015, a report published annually by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) as part of the global State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI 2015), the Asia-Pacific region has achieved the Millennium Development Goals’ hunger target (MDG-1c) of halving the proportion of undernourished people in 2015. The region has also achieved the largest reduction in the absolute number of undernourished people (236 million). However, this was not sufficient to meet the target set by the World Food Summit (WFS) of halving the number of undernourished people by 2015.

There are large disparities among sub-regions and countries in the region. While Eastern Asia and South-Eastern Asia have achieved both the MDG-1c and the WFS hunger targets, highly populous Southern Asia has not met either target. Oceania did not reach the MDG-1c target due to show progress while the absolute number of hungry actually increased. There are 490 million people still suffering chronic hunger in the region, and Asia and the Pacific is home to almost 62 percent of the world’s undernourished.

The report also highlight the serious challenge facing the region, the remaining undernourished 12 percent of the total population that is still hungry and has been left behind, denied their share of the benefits of economic growth. They are the poor and most vulnerable groups in society. Therefore, the challenge facing the region is not only to produce more food from the increasingly limited natural resource base, but also how to ensure more equitable access to food, while addressing various threats such as climate change

Myanmar is part of the group of countries who achieved both the MDG-1 and the WFS targets by reducing the number of undernourished people by half in 2015. The Government of the Union of Myanmar has placed its most priority to the eradication of hunger in the country. As reflection of its highest commitment, the National Zero Hunger Challenge was launched by the Government on the occasion of the World Food Day (October 16, 2014). A number of policy commitments and institutional and technological innovations combined with effective social protection measures are required to meet this challenge, in an overall framework of sustainable economic growth that is more equitably shared and environmentally sustainable.

“The National Zero Hunger Challenge should focus on supporting resource-poor family farms and the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in society” said FAO Representative in Myanmar, Ms. Bui Thi Lan.

The global report was issued in Rome on May 27 2015 and on May 28 by FAO Regional office for Asia and Pacific in Bangkok. ENDS.