United Nations Pakistan & Punjab Government Jointly Organized Seminar on Food Security and Nutrition Strategic Review at Lahore.
Punjab Minister for Labour and Human Resource Raja Ashfaq Sarwar commended the efforts of the Punjab Planning & Development Department and stressed that while Punjab was on right track for achieving economic prosperity, a comprehensive strategy had to be implemented. The political leadership had to play a positive role in fighting the issue at the grass root level.
He was addressing while chairing the consultative session on Food Security and Nutrition Strategic Review jointly organized by United Nations Pakistan and Punjab Planning & Development Department to identify the scope of the problem and make recommendations for possible solutions.
Findings and recommendations generated from Day 1 were presented at the session on Day 2.
Chairman P&D Muhammad Jahanzeb Khan while welcoming the participants emphasized on the importance of a collective and collaborative approach to fighting malnutrition and stunted growth in the Province. He said that the ultimate goal of the strategic review was not merely identification of policy but the implementation of effective solutions.
Additional Chief Secretary Punjab Shamail Ahmad Khuwaja said that Government had now shifted its focus on Social Sectors with compare to Infrastructure Development Sector. Member P&D Dr. Shabana Haider said that Punjab Government was cognizant of the urgency of the issue and policy recommendations and their effective implementation was being taken up at the highest levels.
Dr. Stephen Davies from International Food Policy and Research Institute (IFPRI) and Shujaat Zaidi from the Agha Khan University presented the findings generated from Day 1 of the Food Security and Nutrition Strategic Review session. The former spoke of the accessibility and availability challenges that contributed to stunted growth and malnutrition patterns in Punjab. He suggested encouraging small commercial farmers and increasing the contribution of social security nets to household incomes to improve accessibility of proper nutrition to low income households. The latter stressed on the need of an integrated behavior change and an effective communication strategy to address the issue.
The participants praised the efforts of the P&D for organizing the consultative session while urging the Government to take pertinent policy decision for agricultural yield, raising awareness regarding proper nutrition and introducing incentives for working mothers to breastfeed infants.
The consultative session was attended by parliamentarians and NGOs, senior officers from the Punjab Government, members of civil society organizations and NGOs, academicians and representatives from the media.