21 August 2009

Timor-Leste signs UN joint programme on sustainable food and nutrition security

United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) Date: 14 Aug 2009 DILI, 14 August 2009. US$3.5 million dollars for nutrition has been allocated by the UN MDG Achievement Fund for Timor-Leste.

The 3-year funding will target pregnant and breastfeeding women and their under-five children and primary school children in Aileu, Baucau, Manatuto and Oecusee districts. The programme contributes to the national effort in accelerating the reduction of child and maternal under-nutrition. This is part of moving towards achieve Millennium Development Goal No. 1 on eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. The programme includes a comprehensive information and dissemination programme to make the target communities more aware about food security and nutrition issues.

Minister João Mendes Gonçalves of Economic and Development, on behalf of Government of Timor-Leste signed the Joint Programme Promoting Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security in Timor-Leste with Mr. Finn Reske-Nielsen, Deputy SRSG for Governance Support, Development and Humanitarian Coordination, UNMIT UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. Other signatories Mr. Joan Fleuren, Country Director of World Food Programme, Mr. Fabrizio Cesaretti of Food and Agriculture Organization and Mr. Baba Danbappa OIC of UNICEF Timor-Leste. Mr. Francisco de Asiz Lopes Sanz, Director for Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development witnessed the signing ceremony on behalf of the Spanish Government.

"Today we mark another milestone of partnership between the Timor-Leste Government and United Nations with support from the Spanish Government under Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund. As we move towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 for Timor- Leste, this occasion becomes even more significant to the Government of Timor-Leste. The funds will contribute to the government's efforts towards achieving Millennium Development Goal 1 through promoting sustainable food and Nutrition Security for children and women of Timor-Leste" said Mr. João Mendes Gonçalves.

Mr. Reske-Nielsen stressed that the commitment, leadership and active participation of the national stakeholders was also a key to success of the joint programme. He also saw the importance of the National Steering Committee led by the Ministry of Economy and Development as being crucial and also thanked the Government of Spain for spearheading the funding through the UN MDG Achievement Fund.

Food insecurity is among the three major factors that impact on children and women's nutritional status. Other factors affecting nutritional status of children include inadequate care and health. Chronic food insecurity and malnutrition is widespread throughout Timor-Leste. According to the 2007 Timor-Leste Survey of Living Standards the children under 5 years old who are underweight increased from 45.8% in 2003 to 48.6 % in 2007 with similar increases in stunting at 53.9% and acute malnutrition at 24.5%.

For additional information, contact:

Mary Ann Maglipon,
Communication Officer,
UNICEF Timor-Leste; +670-7231-103 Email: mmaglipon@unicef.org

Antonio Gomez,
Assistant Communication Officer,
UNICEF Timor-Leste; +670-7232-441 Email: angomez@unicef.org

Aderito Da Cruz Santa,
Technical Assistant & Media Liaison Officer,
Ministry of Economic and Development; +670- 732 6531 Email: Anderson.dc190871@yahoo.com


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