Ethiopia Zero Hunger and Poverty Strategic Review
Developing sustainable food security, fighting hunger and reducing poverty go hand in hand.
Statement by Mr. Aeneas Chapinga Chuma, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia
Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin,
Mr. Abdul Kamara, Representative of African Development Bank
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with great interest I join you in this very important workshop – Ethiopia Zero Poverty and Hunger Strategic Review. The Sustainable Development Goals on ending poverty and zero hunger have never been as high on the international policy agenda as it is today. The reasons are simple – while extreme poverty has eased considerably since 1990, pockets of the worst forms of poverty persists, and one in nine people in the world today (or 815 million) are undernourished. And we know that developing sustainable food security, fighting hunger and reducing poverty go hand in hand
With robust economic growth, infrastructure expansion and social development in the last two decades, poverty rate in Ethiopia is at 23 per cent. With the ongoing reforms and if smart investments are made Ethiopia may realise the SDG 1 on ending poverty and SDG 2 on eradicating hunger by 2030. However, a key question today is: How do we achieve zero SAM (Severe-Acute-Malnutrition) case? How do we address food insecurity resulting from droughts, and prevent nutrition crises? In 2018 alone, over 350 thousand children – under five years – were treated for SAM and other 3.48 million children and women were treated for MAM (Moderate-Acute-Malnutrition)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Poverty and hunger remain a persistent challenge in Ethiopia; and the Government of Ethiopia views them as ‘national security threats and primary challenges’ to realise the vision of Ethiopia becoming a middle-income country by 2025. But these challenges can be addressed with concerted efforts. It is about setting bold targets and working in partnerships towards achieving collective result in short, medium and long-term basis. For example: Nutrition can be dealt as both an outcome (zero SAM/MAM) and as means to achieve other development goals, including health and education.
We have enabling policy environment to start taking actions in Ethiopia. The country has embraced the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the AU’s Agenda 2063 and other international and regional development agendas. The Government is mainstreaming SDGS in national policy and planning instruments such as Growth and Transformation Plan and 15-year perspective plan.
Ethiopia Zero Poverty and Hunger Strategic Review is an important exercise that it will not only assess the root causes of challenges in eradicating poverty and hunger, but will also highlight progress made and identify gaps in development and humanitarian response. It will also propose actionable areas where the Government and partners can work together to enable Ethiopia to make significant progress towards ending poverty and hunger. The strategic review will also consider aspects of SDG 17 on multi-stakeholder partnerships for resource mobilization, technology transfer, capacity building, trade and systemic changes such as policy coherence, and monitoring and reporting
I am pleased to note that the strategic review resonates strongly with the principle of national ownership backed by responsible and high-quality support by partners. It responds to two most pressing issues: How to assure access to adequate nutritious food to all Ethiopians, and how to boost incomes and purchasing power of all households
Ladies and Gentlemen
To sustain Ethiopia’s phenomenal growth performance, a strong focus on inclusive income growth and hunger reduction is vital. I am firm that the Strategic Review will guide the Government of Ethiopia and partners towards these development ambitions, including required policy reform, institutional innovation and investment and physical, technical and human capacity
As the RC/HC, it gives me great pleasure to recognize WFP and UNICEF for their support to this important effort. By harnessing the expertise and insights of various partners in this meeting, and closely reviewing the available evidence, we can together form implementable recommendations to further boost the resilience of Ethiopian people. The goal is to set in motion a virtuous cycle of investment, which will drive both food and nutrition security and economic growth, which in turn will help end hunger.
I wish you good luck for fruitful deliberation.