MESSAGE Samdech Techo Hun Sen on the 8th National Nutrition Day (6 November 2021) under the theme “Strengthening the food systems for sustainable development”

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Unofficial Translation

MESSAGE Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia on the 8th National Nutrition Day (6 November 2021) under the theme “Strengthening the food systems for sustainable development”

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– Venerable Samdech Supreme Patriarchs, all venerable Monks,

– Dear Beloved Compatriots,

On the auspicious celebration of the 8th National Nutrition Day under the theme of “Strengthening the Food Systems for Sustainable Development”, I am very pleased and wish to extend my support to the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development, relevant ministries and institutions, development partners, civil society and private sector that have jointly organized this important national day. The National Nutrition Day is celebrated annually on 6 November with the aim to educate and raise public awareness throughout the country about the importance of food security and nutrition in contributing to the development of human capital, increased employment efficiency, promotion of economic growth and social progress.

For this year’s National Nutrition Day, the Royal Government has selected the theme “Strengthening the Food Systems for Sustainable Development” while the global food system is being impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, natural disasters and crises, and when the United Nations held a Summit on Food Systems in New York on 23 September 2021, which offered an opportunity for all members states of the United Nations and global leaders of relevant organizations to reiterate their commitments, launch action plans for economic and social recovery from Covid 19 crisis, and prepare their Roadmaps for Food Systems for Sustainable Development 2030, to make the food system more stronger and more equitable, economically, socially and environmentally sustainable, and ultimately drive progress towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations for people, planet and prosperity.

In Cambodia, the Royal Government has participated in this important Food System Summit, presented its commitments and launched the Cambodia’s Roadmap for Food Systems for Sustainable Development 2030 based on the results of the food system dialogues and analysis, and has linked it with the existing policy frameworks and strategies. To achieve the Vision of the Sustainable Food System in Cambodia by 2030, which provides food security and nutrition for all, and bearing in mind the economic, social and environmental sustainability, the Royal Government of Cambodia has identified the following four priorities:

 First, promoting healthy diet for all to break the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition, the Royal Government of Cambodia will continue to work across key sectors to ensure that healthy diets and safe food are accessible to all address all forms of malnutrition. Achieving this objective requires multi-sectoral actions including: ensuring food and nutrition security; expansion of access to health and nutrition services especially for mothers and young infants under 2 years old, focusing on promoting exclusive breastfeeding, providing diversified complementary foods to infants and young children and increasing diversified diets for mothers; creating job opportunities; consumers awareness and education; diverse, inclusive and modern agriculture and food value chains, including fortification of staple foods, diversifying crops in an inclusive and competitive manner; clean drinking water, sanitation and good hygiene practices through awareness raising and enhancement of quality of relevant systems such as agricultural, industrial, trade, health and environmental systems; and the provision of social assistance.

 Second, empowerment of youth, women and the vulnerable people, the Royal Government of Cambodia will promote gender equality; decent employment; enterprise development; creation of job opportunities for youth, women and vulnerable people; provide opportunity for youth to participate in policy dialogues; promote the use of digital systems; research and development and innovation; support vulnerable, youth and women who own small and medium enterprises; strengthen and expand vocational training programs, formal and informal education, youth associations and women’s associations, to respond to the transition of food systems and development of the nation.

 Third, strengthening resilience of livelihoods and food systems in response to crises and problems that may arise in the future, the Royal Government will continue its work to address vulnerabilities, to reduce poverty and strengthen the resilience of stakeholders, employment networks and infrastructure to support livelihoods and the food systems. The Royal Government will continue to support indigenous communities, youth, women, small holder farmers and small and medium enterprises in the areas of production and food processing, to strengthen the livelihoods of rural people for increased resilience. In addition, the Royal Government will continue to use the Cambodian Food Reserve System, the Social Assistance Program and implement a One-Health approach in response to crises.

Fourth, strengthening governance to make food systems more inclusive, the Royal Government will continue to organize dialogues for coordination and collaboration with all stakeholders at the international, national, sub-national and community levels, as well as strengthen collaboration between the Royal Government, development partners, civil society, the private sector, agriculture cooperatives and educational institutions to ensure that food systems are more inclusive and responsive to the needs of consumers, especially vulnerable and indigenous peoples. The Royal Government will continue to establish and strengthen the Provincial Working Groups for Food Security and Nutrition, organize National Nutrition Day events and establish Nutrition Youth Champions at sub-national level. In parallel, relevant ministries and institutions will continue to strengthen the implementation of relevant existing regulations and standards related to the food safety and quality management; and the passage of the Food Safety Law to improve governance in food systems.

Dear Beloved Compatriots,

In the context of COVID-19 crisis, Cambodia is not only able to avoid the food crisis but has taken this opportunity to strengthen its food system through several measures to supply safe and quality agricultural produce and food to regional and global markets. The Royal Government is highly committed, founded on peace and political stability, which creates a strong environment for achieving Cambodia’s vision for a sustainable Food System 2030. The Royal Government of Cambodia has been actively involved in regional and global cooperation frameworks, such as the issue of the Joint Statement on Nutrition in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic, implementing the Global Action Plan for child wasting, becoming a member of the Global SUN Movement, supporting the Nutrition for Growth and Food Systems Dialogues and implementation of the Global Zero Hunger Challenge Initiative of the United Nations. As Chair of ASEAN in 2022, the Royal Government of Cambodia will continue to accelerate the process of building the ASEAN Community and maintain the roles of ASEAN as an important region for global trade, investment, and supply chains.  The Royal Government of Cambodia will continue to strengthen the cooperation with other countries to promote food systems which are stronger and more resilient to vulnerabilities and crisis; protection of environment and reduction of climate change impacts through green development in food system.

Before I conclude, on the occasion of the 8th National Nutrition Day under the theme of “Strengthening the Food System for Sustainable Development”, I call on all relevant line ministries-institutions, sub-national administrations, development partners, civil society organizations, the private sector and all citizens to join with the Royal Government of Cambodia, which has the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development as its secretariat to coordinate food security and nutrition and food systems, by stepping up our joint efforts to implement the priority action plans in the Second National Strategy for Food Security and Nutrition 2019-2023 and Cambodia’s Roadmap for Food Systems for Sustainable Development 2030, towards achieving the sustainable development goals without leaving anyone behind, especially the second goal to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.”

Finally, I wish Samdech Supreme Patriarchs, venerable monks and all beloved compatriots stay safe from Covid-19 and four gems of Buddha’s blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health, and Strength as always.

Phnom Penh, November 2, 2021

                                                                                                             HUN SEN