World Food Programme Pakistan (WFP) in collaboration with Planning and Development Punjab organized the “call to action event” Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2. The event restates the government’s commitment towards achieving SDG 2: “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.”
Imran Nazeer, Minister for Primary and Secondary Healthcare said that Punjab government committed for lowering the malnutrition indicators in the province. P&SH Department is underway to approach the problems of malnutrition with right strategies and programmes in all 36 districts of the province.
He added that the challenge of malnutrition was being prioritize by the department in southern Punjab depicted with the highest rates of malnutrition by the addition of a new programme fixated on southern Punjab. He highly praised the efforts of P&D Department and WFP for gathering investors and repeating the commitment to SDG 2 in the call to action event.
Muhammad Jehanzeb Khan, Chairman Planning & Development emphasized during inauguration of session to reach target under SDG 2 by 2030 about improved nourishment in mother and children. He also added that the call against malnutrition should be prioritize as it is not the matter of enough food but improving economic growth and sustainable development of province and then of country. Pakistan is already bearing the loss of $ 7.6 billion or 3pc of its GDP because of malnutrition.
Economic growth is not sole motivator for improved nutrition but other drivers are attendance at schools, increased literacy, increased employment, and increased standard of living.
Panel discussion was the key session of the event led by P&D Member Health Dr. Shabana Haider titled ‘Meeting the SDG 2: existing challenges in Pakistan, lessons for Punjab and the way forward’. The panel included well-known speakers together with Patchamuthu Illangovan, Country Head World Bank, Cecilia Garzon Head of Nutrition Unit WFP, Noor ul Amin Mengal DG Punjab Food Authority, Dr. Baseer Achakzai, Director Nutrition/ Secretary National Fortification Alliance, Naseer Nazamani Country Director Nutrition International Pakistan, Amir Jehangir Media and Communication Expert and Dr. Syed Saeed Qadir, Nutrition Officer UNICEF Pakistan.
The center of discussion was attainment of SDG-2 with focus on Governmental efforts, Inter-sectoral coordination, communication, policy development, technological advancement, Public-Private-Partnership, and social entrepreneurship. The session was fruitful in recognizing some of the key challenges currently faced by province, and finding the solution for further collaboration and fixated effort in this regard.
Neil Buhne, UN Residential Coordinator Pakistan valued efforts of Punjab government and expressed commitment of UN for attainment of SDG 2 in terms of Mother & Child Nutrition. He said that they support Punjab for all future activities, and particularly appreciated efforts of Member (Health, Nutrition & Population) in making Nutrition a Priority in Punjab.
MNA Shaista Parvaiz Malik, Iftikhar Ali Sahoo Secretary, Planning & Development Department, Nasim Sadiq, Secretary Livestock, Neil Buhne, UN Residential Coordinator Pakistan, Finbarr Curran Country Representative WFP, Patchamuthu Illangovan, Country Head World Bank, Dr. Stephen Davis, Country Representative IFPRI, Angela Kerney Country Representative UNICEF also attended the event.