SPEECH By Excellency Deputy Prime Minister YIM Chhay Ly, Chairman of the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development in the Celebration of the 8th National Nutrition Day
(6 November 2014 – 6 November 2021) under the theme “Strengthening Food Systems for Sustainable Development”
Office of the Council of Ministers, Phnom Penh, 8 November 2021
– H.E. Meas Piseth, Representative of H.E. VENG Sakhon, Minister for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries;
– H.E. Madame Tan Vouch Chheng, Representative of H.E. MAM Bunheng, Minister for the Ministry of Health;
– Ms. Claire Conan, Representative and Director of the World Food Program in Cambodia and Representative of United Nations Nutrition in Cambodia;
– Ms. Forroogh Foyouzat, UNICEF representative
– Mr. Antonio Schiavone, FAO Representative a.i. in Cambodia;
– Ms. Gwyneth Cotes, Director of Helen Keller International and Representative of the Civil Society Alliance of the SUN Movement in Cambodia;
– Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Youth, Members of the Event, Ladies and Gentlemen;
1. Today I am very pleased to join Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Youth, Members of the Event, Ladies and Gentlemen in celebrating the 8th National Nutrition Day (06 November 2014-06 November 2021) under the theme of “Strengthening Food Systems for Sustainable Development”, which is held in smooth collaboration with line ministries and institutions and development partners.
2. As the Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen are well aware, in the message of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN SEN, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia on the occasion of celebrating the 8th National Nutrition Day, read by H.E. Madame Tan Vouch Chheng, Representative of H.E. Mam Bunheng, Minister for the Ministry of Health and Vice Chairman of the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development, the Royal Government of Cambodia has emphasized the reason why the National Nutrition Day is celebrated annually on 6 November, commencing in 2014, that is to broaden public awareness across the country about the importance of food security and nutrition in contributing to the development of human capital, increase of work efficiency, promotion of economic growth and social progress.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
3. Prior to the global pandemic of Covid-19 and over the past 20 years, although Cambodia has made strong economic achievements and significant progress in socio-economic development and reduced poverty by one percent per year, social inequality persists depriving part of the population of healthy diets and causing the high rate of malnutrition among children under five. Moreover, Cambodia is one of the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and natural disasters. For example, the Covid-19 crisis has affected all sectors and hampered food production, processing, transportation, food sales and access to nutritious and safe food. At the same time, we also see that the food systems are also affected, with reduced access to food and healthy and nutritious diets and the reduced income of the people, and the need for nutritious diets to make our body system resilient and strong able to withstand Covid-19 and other diseases. These factors require that we develop stronger, more equitable, economically, socially and environmentally sustainable food systems, thereby driving the progress towards the sustainable development goals in Cambodia.
4. This year, the Royal Government of Cambodia has chosen the theme “Strengthening Food Systems for Sustainable Development” in the celebration of the 8th National Nutrition Day, which is, I believe, appropriate to the current situation of Cambodia as well as countries around the world being faced by the global pandemic of Covid-19, which has severely affected family income and child nutrition. Taking this opportunity, I would like to remind you of the message of Samdech Techo Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia on 01 November 2020 in the 7th National Nutrition Day calling on all relevant line ministries-institutions, sub-national administrations, development partners, civil society organizations, the private sector and all citizens to further carry out their duties in promoting food security and nutrition to improve the health and well-being of the people and ensure harmony in families.
5. According to the vision set out in the Roadmap for Food Systems for Sustainable Development in Cambodia 2030, Cambodians will have access to healthy and safe diets, with the focus on women and children, to break the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition and respond to nutritional changes. To achieve the above vision, all stakeholders, including farmers, producers, processors, consumers, traders, artisans, salesmen, academia, researchers, policy makers, women, youth, indigenous people, development partners, civil society, the private sector and competent authorities at all levels, shall work together to find the best ways and put in place the necessary actions, using the latest evidence and findings from scientific research.
6. In this regard, I urge the General Secretariat of the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development to continue to fulfill its role more effectively to promote the food security and nutrition sector in line with the Rectangular Strategy Phase 4 (2019-2023), National Strategic Development Plan (2019-2023) in close cooperation with relevant ministries and institutions, sub-national administrations, development partners, civil society and the private sector, to address all forms of malnutrition through the implementation of priority action plans in the Second National Strategy on Food Security and Nutrition 2019-2023 and the Roadmap for Sustainable Food Systems in Cambodia 2030 and within the regional and global cooperation frameworks.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
7. As a secretariat for the Royal Government, the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development has worked with the World Food Program to establish a Business Network of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement in Cambodia (SUN Business Network), a platform for the private sector to participate in nutrition promotion through their commitments, investment, discussion and exchange of experiences and new initiatives. This SUN Business Network has developed its five-year strategy, focusing on five priorities: 1). Building a strong reputation and mobilizing more members, 2). Increasing awareness about the importance of nutrition and the need for nutritious food, 3). Increasing the supply of nutritious food products and micronutrient-rich food products, 4) Strengthening favorable environment to promote nutrition and 5) Promoting health and nutrition in communities and workplaces. In addition, the business network has published a handbook on workplace nutrition: providing healthy food and snacks to improve productivity, which is important to contribute to improving food security and nutrition.
8. To conclude, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development, I urge all stakeholders to continue their cooperation under the umbrella of the Technical Working Group on Food Security and Nutrition, to jointly eliminate all forms of malnutrition to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, leaving no one behind, especially the second goal of Cambodia Sustainable Development Goals: to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutritional and promote sustainable agriculture. May I wish Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, and all youth safe from Covid-19 and four gems of Buddha’s blessings: longevity, nobility, health and strength as always.