19/02/2019 Nay Pyi Taw The Government of Myanmar and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today signed a multi-year framework agreement that will create an enabling environment to improve nutrition and food security in Myanmar, while safeguarding and sustainably managing the use of natural resources.
The Country Programming Framework (CPF) was signed by U Than Aung Kyaw, Director General, Foreign Economic Relations Department (FERD), Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations (MIFER) and Ms Xiaojie Fan, FAO Representative in Myanmar. The signing was witnessed U Set Aung, Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Planning and Finance (MoPF) and Ms Kundhavi Kadiresan, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific.
The launch of the CPF follows intensive consultations and agreements with the Ministry of Planning and Finance and relevant line ministries, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the private sector and other development partners.
Specifically, the CPF intends to help the government achieve three primary goals. The first is enhanced food security, nutrition and food safety. The second is strengthened governance and sustainable management of land, forests, water resources and ecosystems. The third relates to enhanced resilience of local communities and farming households to natural and humanitarian disasters, climate change and transboundary and emerging infectious disease risks.
Advances made in food security and nutrition – but concerns remain
Despite having reached a state of self-sufficiency in staple foods, food insecurity, particularly seasonal food insecurity, remain a concern across Myanmar, which risks being worsened due to climate and weather-related shocks and instances of social instability.
Myanmar had experienced a rapid decline in malnutrition figures in just a few decades. The prevalence of stunting among children below the age of five was reduced from around 40 percent in the 1990’s to less than 30 percent in 2016 but the improvements have since slowed.
“With nearly one child in three stunted much work remains to be done for Myanmar to achieve SDG-2, the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030,” said Kadiresan. “But the fact that the Government of Myanmar and FAO have produced and published this comprehensive framework sets us on a clear path forward.” The agriculture sector has a major role to play in addressing these sustained rates of food insecurity and malnutrition through agricultural diversification and rural income generation. FAO is ready to do its part to help, Kadiresan added.
FAO and Myanmar – 40+ years of collaboration
The Republic of the Union of Myanmar became a full member of the Food and Agriculture Organization in October 1947. The FAO Representation office was established here in 1978 and FAO has had a permanent presence in Myanmar for more than 40 years.
FAO Myanmar has been working in the areas of improved food security and nutrition, agriculture and crop production, livestock, fisheries and forestry. The Organization has also been helping to build resilience and reduce risks from environmental disasters and intervening when asked to respond to outbreaks of diseases in livestock.
Allan Dow, FAO Regional Communication Officer (Asia-Pacific)
Hsu Mon Aung, Communication Officer, FAO Myanmar