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Deputy Secretary-General kick-starts Zero Hunger Challenge in Asia-Pacific

Posted: Monday, 6 May 2013, Bangkok | Author: Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific 

On his first visit to the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson launched the Secretary-General’s Zero Hunger Challenge during the 69th ESCAP Commission Session with the support of the regional UN family based in Bangkok.

The campaign aims to involve governments, farmers, scientists, business, civil society and consumers to do their bit to end hunger, not least by increased awareness of food waste at both retail and consumption level which adds up to a huge total worldwide.

Unveiled globally at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) last June, the regional launch was initiated by the UN Regional Coordination Mechanisms in Asia-Pacific, which is chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General.

As Deputy Secretary-General Eliasson highlighted while launching the challenge, lack of nutrients during pregnancy and the first year of life – a common occurrence in many developing countries in the region – stunts not only the physical and mental growth of the child, but also robs countries of future economic growth potential.

“The aim was to “kickstart” and give an edge to the hunger elimination campaign in a region where it is one of most important development goals,” said Economic Affairs Officer Clovis Freire who was ESCAP focal point in the preparations.

The high-profile launch with two Prime Ministers and a deputy Prime Minister as well as a number of top UN officials present was the latest example of the UN system working as One, with the Asia-Pacific regional office of FAO, UNDP and ESCAP steering the preparations for the regional launch.