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Cambodia Inching Ahead In Zero Hunger Challenge; Still Not Enough, Study Shows

PHNOM PENH – Cambodia has made significant progress in tackling poverty, but much work still remains to be done to beat hunger and malnutrition as the country aims to become a lower middle income country in the next few years. This was the conclusion of a study by the Cambodia Development Research Institute (CDRI), an independent think tank, undertaken with support from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) under the guidance of the Council for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) and senior national experts.

The study identifies the key food security and nutrition challenges facing Cambodia in its transition towards lower middle income country status. The results were presented to policy makers, development partners, civil society and academia at a conference hosted by the Council for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) and WFP on 28 November 2014 in Phnom Penh.

To achieve zero hunger in Cambodia, concludes CDRI, the Royal Government of Cambodia and development partners should focus their efforts on enhancing access to food, improving the nutritional value of diets, supporting smallholders and boosting agricultural productivity, as well as advancing climate change adaptation and strengthening the resilience of those most in need.

Importantly, with development assistance set to shift from grants to loans as Cambodia moves towards middle income country status, the government will be called to assume increased responsibility in funding and implementing social policies and basic services. Development partners such as WFP will need to provide continued support to this transition.

“As Cambodia takes on more responsibility and leadership for its own food and nutrition security, the reinforcement of social protection programmes will enhance the resilience of the most vulnerable. Effective social protection programmes coupled with inclusive economic growth can help eliminate hunger and malnutrition. The paradigm for economic and social development must be shifted to new higher gear for high productivity, efficiency and with equity. Social protection is an instrumental investment that is an indispensable condition for sustainable economic development and, furthermore, one that is essential to unlocking the full productive capacity of individuals,” said Ngy Chanphal, Vice-Chairman of CARD, and Secretary of State, Ministry of Interior.

“We truly believe that Cambodia can achieve zero hunger. WFP, with its long experience in managing food and cash-based social safety nets, is well-placed to be a strong partner   in this effort. Social safety nets such as school feeding, mother and child health and nutrition and resilience programmes can improve the well-being and economic welfare of the most vulnerable – an investment that will pay off in the near future,” said Gianpietro Bordignon, Country Director of WFP.

The study was commissioned by WFP as part of a global effort to identify key measures supporting food security and nutrition in selected middle income countries and emerging ones such as Cambodia in line with the Zero Hunger Challenge and the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

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For more information please contact (email address:
Gianpietro Bordignon, WFP/Cambodia, Tel: +855 (o) 23 210 943
Jin Iwata, WFP/Cambodia, Tel: +855 (o) 23 210 943
Vathana Sann, CARD/Cambodia, Tel: +855(0) 12 950410