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UN Launches Zero Hunger Challenge for Asia-Pacific

zero-hunger29 April 2013: The UN Regional Coordination Mechanism in Asia-Pacific has launched the Zero Hunger Challenge for the region, calling on governments, farmers, scientists, business, civil society and consumers to work together to end hunger in the region, where the majority of the world's undernourished people live. The launch took place on the sidelines of the 69th Commission Session of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), on 29 April 2013, in Bangkok, Thailand.

First proposed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), the Zero Hunger Challenge is aimed at securing a future where every individual has adequate nutrition. Its five objectives are to: ensure access by everyone to nutritious food; end childhood stunting; build sustainable food systems; double the productivity and income of smallholder farmers, especially women; and prevent lost and wasted food. Halving the proportion of those suffering from hunger is one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told the ESCAP Session, “We cannot rest while so many people go hungry in a world where there is enough food for all.” ESCAP Executive Secretary Noeleen Heyzer added, “Sustainable development and inclusive growth will not happen on empty stomachs."

The theme of the Commission's current session, which runs until 1 May, is “Building resilience to natural disasters and major crises,” with a focus on challenges to inclusive, sustainable and resilient growth in the region, particularly economic shocks and increasingly severe and frequent natural disasters. [Zero Hunger Challenge Website] [UN Press Release] [ESCAP Press Release] [Commission Session Website]