The Eighth National Nutrition Forum and Annual National Nutrition Committee Meeting 2022 assessed its progress in tackling malnutrition in Laos and nutrition priorities for 2023 between Government and Development Partners on Tuesday.Following last year’s forum, which highlighted the inextricable link between investments in nutrition and the growth of children, communities, and the economy, the theme for this year’s forum is “Nutrition for Sustainable Development.”
The forum highlighted the importance of nutrition in achieving both the Government’s targets for socio-economic development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Deputy Prime Minister of Laos and Chair of the National Nutrition Committee, Dr. Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune chaired the Eighth National Nutrition Forum, a flagship annual event for nutrition in Laos.
“As we draw closer to 2030, the year we are to achieve the targets specified in the SDGs, nutrition remains a top priority for Lao PDR as we recognize its wide-reaching influence on the wellbeing, growth, and development of children, communities, and the nation,” stated Dr. Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune, who chaired the event held at the National Convention Centre.
“Today’s forum is a crucial moment for us to take stock of our achievements in nutrition in 2022 and think ahead strategically about solutions to malnutrition in Lao PDR for 2023 and beyond,” he noted.
The forum was also co-chaired by Mr. Niall LEONARD, Charge d’ Affaires, European Union Delegation to Laos, and Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative to Lao PDR, on behalf of Food Security and Nutrition Development Partners Group.
“We applaud Government for the excellent work undertaken in 2022, and would like to reconfirm our commitment to support the implementation of the 2021-2025 National Plan of Action on Nutrition.” said the Charge d’ Affaires, European Union Delegation to the Lao PDR, Mr. Niall Leonard.
“However, to successfully reach national targets including those in the 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan and the SDGs, greater collective action on nutrition is needed. A budget analysis supported by the EU and UNICEF found that in 2020-22 nutrition expenditures accounted for less than 0.5% of GDP, around 2% of the national budget, and primarily from Overseas Development Assistance. Going forward we, therefore, have to put greater efforts into the planning and budgeting of nutrition at all levels.”
Various nutrition stakeholders, including Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Director Generals of key line ministries, Vice Governors, Development Partners, Civil Society Organisations, members of academia, the private sector, and youth representatives attended the event.
During the meeting, development partners called for long-term and sustainable commitments for nutrition across all sectors and provinces in Laos.
The Eighth Annual Nutrition Forum was led by the Government of Lao PDR with financial contributions from the European Union, the United States Government, UNICEF, the World Bank, the World Food Program (WFP), SUN CSA Laos, and other partners.