Ha Noi, 16 February 2017 – In a bilateral meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Vu Duc Dam of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Coordinator and Assistant UN Secretary-General Ms. Gerda Verburg called on the Government and the nutrition community, at large, to remain steadfast in its commitment to fight malnutrition in the country.
The global SUN Movement is a unique and voluntary effort, founded in 2010, that now counts 58 countries, three Indian States, and more than 3,000 organisations from civil society, business, donors, and UN system agencies, in support of multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder efforts led by Governments to tackle malnutrition. Viet Nam joined the SUN Movement in January 2014. Looking back at progress seen in combating both undernutrition and over nutrition since then, she cited the country as a powerful example of "how a Government's commitment can inspire others to step up and act for nutrition, gender equality, and children's health by strengthening maternity leave and breastfeeding policies".
She congratulated the Deputy Prime Minister for his vital role in the extension of maternity leave up to six months, and ensuring the improved regulation on marketing and use of breastmilk substitutes and feeding products for young girls and boys, in addition to mandated food fortification. Viet Nam's experience has been widely shared across SUN countries, and beyond, resulting in notable policy wins for breastfeeding and maternity protection in several countries such as Cambodia, Indonesia and Myanmar.
"Considering Viet Nam's commitment to the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the implementation of the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016-2025), I have no doubt that your country will go to great lengths to make sure that all Sustainable Development Goals are met, by leveraging the competencies of all Ministries to deliver on the National Nutrition Strategy and National Action Plan of Nutrition of Viet Nam", said Ms. Verburg. "With the knowledge that nutrition is both a marker and maker of development as it energizes 12 out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, I look forward to seeing, first-hand, the impact that strong policies can have, on the women, men, girls and boys of Viet Nam and the development of your economy, for generations to come," she said. Ms. Verburg is currently visiting Southeast Asian SUN Countries to discuss how to step up progress in the fight against malnutrition in the sub-region, the first stop being Viet Nam.
On behalf of the Government, the Deputy Prime Minister expressed his appreciation for the work of the SUN Movement and reiterated the strong willingness of the new Government to work towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the successful integration of this ambitious roadmap into National Assembly Resolutions and governmental guidance documents. "Over the past years Viet Nam has been focusing its efforts to ensure food security for its population with adequate food production. But now there is the need to accelerate our measures to build a nutrition secure future generation by addressing nutrient deficiencies within the first 1000 days of a child's birth. This will allow us to grow faster as a nation" he said.
Ms. Verburg concluded the bilateral meeting by reassuring the Deputy Prime Minister that the SUN Movement, and its whole support system, is at hand to offer technical assistance and any help needed in the fight against malnutrition, and that the many successful stories of change of its nutrition community are wildly shared within the Movement and beyond, showing that zero hunger and an end to malnutrition within our generation is indeed possible.
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