Professional organisations in the nation’s food sector are uniting in a call for collaborative efforts to fortify the system, ensuring food security and nutrition for all while enhancing resilience to climate change challenges.

This appeal was pronounced during the commemoration of the 10th National Nutrition Day, held on November 6, in Phnom Penh, under the theme “Strengthening the Food System in the Context of Climate Change”.

Chairman of the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development, Ouk Rabun, addressed the gathering and highlighted the imminent challenges posed by climate change, environmental concerns and the state of the food system in Cambodia over the next 25 years.

He emphasised the need for a more robust and adaptive system, which would offer a wholesome diet, particularly to vulnerable groups such as children, women and the elderly.

“Food systems are vulnerable to environmental threats, climate change and disasters,” noted Rabun.

“Therefore, we need to strengthen the food system, and improving the food system requires all stakeholders to pay close attention to making the system even stronger, ensuring food security, nutrition, resilience to climate change, environmental sustainability, social sustainability and economic prosperity for all,” he stated.

Rabun also disclosed the launch of a roadmap on the food system for sustainable development in Cambodia by 2030 under the seventh mandate of the government.

This roadmap aims to create a more robust, adaptable, inclusive and nutrition-oriented food system.

“To address these issues, the government expects to achieve the goal of sustainable development by 2030 without leaving anyone behind, especially the second goal is to end hunger, achieve better food security and nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture,” he added.

Claire Conan, director of the World Food Programme and UN representative of the Cambodian Nutrition Movement, asserted the significance of celebrating National Nutrition Day in raising public consciousness regarding food security and nutrition.

She underscored the pressing issues of climate change and nutrition and the necessity of developing strategies to safeguard the food system amidst rapidly shifting climate conditions, including global warming, floods and droughts, which could significantly impact the nation’s GDP by 2030.

Sok Silo, secretary general of the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development, explained the yearly observance of this day as a means to heighten public understanding of food security and nutrition.

He underscored the inter-sectoral nature of these concerns, necessitating collaboration, coordination and investment in various sectors, including agriculture, food, health, education, employment, rural development, clean water and sanitation.

Notably, the government orchestrated the 10th National Nutrition Day, under the theme “Strengthening the food system in the context of climate change”.

This event coincides with the forthcoming Summit of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in Dubai, UAE.

The event is an opportunity for member states to demonstrate their commitment to addressing climate change challenges as stipulated in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.