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‘Govt committed to eliminate malnutrition under SDGs’

By Our Correspondent
October 13, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Planning Development and Reforms Division Federal Secretary Zafar Hasan on Friday said the government is committed to eliminate hunger and all forms of malnutrition in compliance with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target 2.1 and 2.2.

Addressing a roundtable on “The state of Food Security and Nutrition in the World”, the secretary said the launch of national food security policy and multi-sectoral nutrition strategy shows the government’s resolve to addressing the challenges of zero hunger in Pakistan under the SDGs.

The roundtable was organised by the Centre for Rural Economy in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Pakistan recognised the importance of food security, he said, adding that the country produced surplus staple wheat and sugar, but still approximately 18 percent of the population faced challenges of food insecurity.

“Several factors like lack of awareness about healthy food and poor access due to low income and geographic barriers are the main reasons that upset the dietary system of households, as a result stunting is 42 percent, which is one of the highest across the world,” he said, adding that the phenomena was present in both rural and urban areas of Pakistan.

Hasan said Pakistan contributed the least towards climate change and global warming issues; however, the country was amongst the worst sufferers. “The availability and storage of water has now become one of the most critical issues depicting the public policy decisions in Pakistan.”

Speaking of water issues, the secretary said water shortage in summer was due to 30 percent less rains, which would persist in winters too, and glacial cover was projected to decrease by 20 percent with temperature rising by two to three degree Celsius by 2050.

Hasan said Pakistan’s agriculture sector has already witnessed a number of floods in 2010 and 2011, which cost $7.6 billion in accumulated damages and losses - a huge amount for an economy like Pakistan.

He also reiterated that the government of Pakistan was one of the first signatories to the United Nationals Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), and now was going to actively participate in COP-24 Katowice, 2018. He said Pakistan has decreased the value for prevalence of undernourishment from 23.3 percent in 2006 to 18 percent in 2017.