MIRPUR (AJK)-The government of Azad Jammu & Kashmir is bent on ending hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition in the light of the sustainable development goals, set by the United Nations while an integrated plan has been devised to achieve the task.

This was disclosed by AJK Minister for Sports, Youth and Culture Ch Saeed while he was speaking as chief guest at a seminar hosted by the Planning & Development Department of AJK govt with the coordination of the UNICEF.

‘Orientation Meeting of Scaling up Nutrition Movement (SUN) in AJK” was the topic of the seminar which was also addressed among others by the experts including Malik Israr Ahmed Secretary Planning and Development AJK, Dr Nazir Ahmed, Chief Nutrition Planning Commission of Pakistan, Dr Muhammad Bashir Chaudhry, Director General Health, AJK, Saeed Qadir, Nutrition Specialist UNICEF UN and Technical Partners and others.

The AJK minister revealed that establishment of Scaling up Nutrition Secretariat at Planning and Development Department of AJK Govt with the support of UNICEF was one of the major mile stone to this direction. He continued that the AJK nutrition strategy has also been developed in consultation with the departments and technical partners with the support of the UNICEF that provides a guideline for future planning of nutrition specific and sensitive interventions.

“Nevertheless, policies alone, however sound and well crafted, are ineffective without the means and resources to turn them into meaningful action”, Saeed said and added that AJK, with its meager resources was struggling hard to meet the challenges caused by disasters, climate change and frequent border skirmishes.

He underlined that reducing malnutrition was still one of the major development challenges of the current century. “Malnutrition is a serious threat to global health and development effecting one of three people on the planet,” he said. He further said that National Nutrition Survey 2011 also reveals a gloomy picture of malnutrition in children under 5-year of age and women of reproductive age group in Azad Jammu & Kashmir.

“Food and nutrition security across the globe is recognised as a human right and a critical ingredient for economic, social and human development,” he pointed out. Ch Saeed said that right now, out soils, fresh water, oceans, forests and biodiversity are being rapidly degraded. “Climate change is putting even more pressure on the resources we depend upon, increasing risks associated with disasters such as droughts and floods.

He emphasised for required coordinated and concerted efforts from different actors and stake holders for a multifaceted response to address these challenges. The minister categorically declared as saying “no single government, no single organization, no single intervention can solely achieve the global of ending global malnutrition. It is only through the collective efforts and working on all fronts by establishing powerful partnerships like the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement (SUN) which can help change the global landscape, from one of hunger to one of hope until no one suffers from malnutrition.”

The minister sought fullest support of development partners in the scaling up of nutrition specific and sensitive interventions, especially the community nutrition program in all ten districts of AJK. Ch Saeed said, “Depending on the path we chose the journey to a world where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential can be long and arduous, But the path has shortcuts. One is supporting early childhood development. So I urge every single to join us in this movement. It’s what every girl and boy born today deserves.”

He extended gratitude on behalf of AJK government to the UNICEF and other partners for providing valuable support to people of AJK. He expressed that hope that the orientation meeting of Scaling up nutrition movement in ajk and the collective efforts will help in to eradication of malnutrition in the liberated territory in most effective and fruitful manner.