April 27, 2021
The Philippine government strongly commits to protect and advance the gains of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action to ensure human development and food security across all levels of society, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.
“Population planning and food security are key to unlocking the country’s growth potential and the health and welfare of all Filipinos. Our goal is to give every Filipino access to quality healthcare, nutrition services, and family planning,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said as Head of the Philippine Delegation to the 54th Session of the United Nations (UN) Commission on Population and Development (CPD) from April 19-23, 2021.
The CPD is composed of 47 Member States elected by the UN Economic and Social Council for a period of four years on the basis of geographic distribution. The Philippines resumes membership of the Commission, starting with the 54th session. This year’s CPD theme centered on population, food security, nutrition, and sustainable development.
The NEDA chief also highlighted that the government has undertaken several reforms to improve agricultural productivity and food security. This includes the enactment of the Rice Tariffication Law in 2019 to bring down rice prices for the benefit of all Filipinos especially the poor, improve the country’s food security, and enhance the productivity and competitiveness of rice farmers.
Chua, however, noted that while malnutrition prevalence has been falling over the years, it remains high. As of 2019, 5.8 percent or around 600,000 children under five years old are wasted, 19 percent or 2.1 million are underweight, and 28.8 percent or 3.2 million children are stunted.
To address this, the government has implemented the First 1,000 Days Act, which institutionalized a national feeding program in public day care, kindergarten, and elementary schools.
“Through this, we aim to further reduce the prevalence of stunting among children under five years old as we factor in the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to food security and nutrition,” the Cabinet official said.
Chua also noted that the government is taking a whole-of-government approach to eradicate hunger and achieve food security through the creation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger. He added that reforms to promote sustainable consumption and production are also embodied in the Philippine Action Plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenges we are facing in securing food, nutrition, and good health for all Filipinos. Overcoming this unprecedented crisis requires stronger collaboration. Let us continue to work hard together to ensure that our common goal of human capital development is fully realized,” he added.