WFP Executive Director Concludes Official Visit To Lao PDR
VIENTIANE – The Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, has concluded a three-day visit to Lao People’s Democratic Republic, reiterating WFP’s commitment to helping the country achieve Middle Income Country (MIC) status by supporting food and nutrition security for all.
“Achieving MIC status is not just about economic growth, it’s about the development of human capital, and that begins with food and nutrition security, and with education,” observed Cousin. “During my visit I’ve spoken to ministers, to provincial and district authorities, and to teachers and students. What I heard at every level was a commitment to support these goals. WFP is working with communities in rural areas to make sure school meal programmes support education outcomes.”
Cousin explained that WFP will launch a new five-year programme in Lao PDR early next year, which will work towards Sustainable Development Goal 2: achieving food and nutrition security globally by 2030. This in turn supports the Eighth National Social Economic Development Plan that aims to bring the country to MIC status by 2020. The new programme is based on an independent review that was carried out this year, identifying which areas should be prioritised in order to achieve SDG 2.
Cousin travelled to rural areas of Luang Prabang province to visit schools where WFP works with partners to provide a package of assistance to students. School meal programmes, when coupled with other interventions such as school gardens, hygiene and sanitation initiatives and literacy programmes, can present a holistic and sustainable model for development. WFP is working with the government at all levels and with communities to develop capacity enabling them to take over school lunch programmes by 2021.
Cousin met with high government officials and development partners, to reiterate WFP’s commitment to supporting Lao PDR in the coming years.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
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