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Ensuring food security for children and women

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N.S.M Muzzammel Huq :
Bangladesh has achieved commendable success in attaining the Millennium Development Goals within the stipulated time frame. Bangladesh has linked the MDGs challenges with her national development 'Vision 2021'. Some of the MDGs have been achieved sufficiently ahead of time owing to our concerted efforts, pragmatic policies and better implementation process. Some of the MDGs are yet to be achieved but the process is on right back to achieve those.
Poverty alleviation is the most remarkable achievements of Bangladesh. MDGs target level of reducing poverty was 29 percent by 2015. But Bangladesh brought it down to 26.2 percent by 2013. In reducing infant mortality and improving maternal health, the country achieved remarkable success. Bangladesh is in the process of structural transformation in favour of manufacturing and service sectors, typical for rapidly growing economy. Though Bangladesh may achieve eradication of poverty within not so long time but complete freedom from hunger may take a longer time and depends on 'Vision 2021' Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and 'Vision 2041' to become a middle income country first then to attain the status of a developed nation. But all these long term visions and goals depends on sustainable development through sustained political stability, good governance, transparency, coherent and inclusive development efforts, proactive participation at all levels.
It is remarkable that Bangladesh depending on her capacity and commitment gave a prompt, instant and positive response regarding the SDG implementation (2016-2030). The SDGs recognizes that eradicating poverty in all its forms, manifestations and dimensions is the greatest challenge and are indispensable requirement for sustainable development. The world nations are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty.The 17 goals and 169 targets of SDGs will stimulate actions over the next fifteen years in areas of critical importance for the inhabitants of the planet .The 1 & 2 goals of SDGs clearly embodied:
Goal: 1 End poverty in all its forms everywhere. This Goal has Total 5 targets and 2 Actions.
Towards ending poverty the SDGs set targets to eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere. Currently people are living on less than $1.25 a day. By 2030 the target has been fixed to reduce at best by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions. Nationally Nations will implement appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including  sustainable coverage of the poor and the vulnerable. The targets of this goal also include to ensure by 2030 equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property,  for all men and women in particular the poor and vulnerable.  Actions  include creating sound policy frameworks at the national, regional and international levels based on pro-poor and gender sensitive development strategies to support accelerated investment in poverty eradication actions.
The Goal: 2 Envisaged to: End hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. This goal has total 5 Targets and 3 Actions as follows:
By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants to safe nutritions and sufficient food for all year round. To end all forms of malnutrition including by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons. The targets also include doubling the agricultural productivily and income of small-scale food producers particularly women by 2030, indigenous people's family farmer's pastoralists and fishers including through secure and equal access to and other productive resources and imputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and non farm employment. By 2030 to ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practice that increase productivity and production, help, maintain ecosystems, strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change. Targets also envisaged maintaining genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related species at national, regional and international levels for fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from utilization of genetic resources and related knowledge. Actions will include increase in investment through enhanced international cooperation in rural infrastucture, agriculture research and extension services, technology development and plant and livestock gene bank to enhance agricultural productive capacity in developing countries.
So it is observed from the SDGs two goals that ensuring food security and improved nutrition are essential for sustainable development. Malnutrition, inadequate food, hunger have negative consequences for the livelihoods and economic capabilities. The empowerment of women, addressing in qualities in different areas and forms, empowerment of families especially women who are child care providers and responsible for food preparation and infant and young feeding are most essential for achieving the goals of sustainable development. So the Global community must address significant challenges to meet the needs of millions of undernourished to achieve the targeted global dream. But the future challenges differ from the past, responses to the new challenges should he build on lessons learned from national experiences.
It should be kept in mind that there exist a close link between income, poverty and food access which is important to retain at a time when food insecurity and under nutrition are primarily problem of access. Poor nutritional outcomes are also related to indicate health services, poor sanitation, and many other factors.
In the global context and national perspective Bangladesh have set its Vision 2021 and 2041 to become a middle income country and then a developed country where poverty, hunger, malnutrition, undernourishment will not prevail. Rather a healthy and robust manpower particularly, women and children who constitute the larger portion of the population will exert their merit, skill, talent and potentials for the national development. Although children and maternal malnutrition has been reduced in Bangladesh, the prevalence of underweight children, malnourished women, anaemia among young infants, adolescent girls, and pregnant women are still at unacceptable levels. More programmes for nutrition intervention are yet to be implemented at a scale for reaching the population. Here concerted efforts by the government, development partners, non-government organizations, and the academia and also the civil society members will need to work in a concerted manner to take the effective initiatives on nutritional aspects. The Media both public and private also have a national responsibility to extend adequate coverage to change the behavior of the people with necessary information. The intervention should cover exclusive breastfeeding, appropriate complementary food preparation and feeding, supplementation of micro-nutrients to children, adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women, management of severe acute malnutrition and deworming, and hygiene interventions. The entire health system should be revamped to address the issues at policy level, governance and service delivery and also to create demand the services at the households. The management of nutrition in the aftermath of natural disaster should also be taken care of.
Bangladesh has formulated national proposal for post 2015 Development  In that agenda eradication of poverty and reducing inequality, ensuring sustainable food security and nutrition for all, universal access to health and family planning services and gender equality and employment generations are important issues covered. These agenda is fully consistent with 17 SDGs. But the journey towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals is a challenging matter. In the SDGs number one goal is poverty eradication from everywhere. In Bangladesh, the street people, female agriculture workers, people living in hoar and boar, people living in hills, dalits, disabled people fall in the extreme poverty group. These people fail to participate in the mainstream development process. To ensure that everyone is included in the development process to accelerate the growth process, it is necessary to emphasise on agriculture and non agriculture activities. Poverty and employment are root causes of hunger, malnutrition. malnourishment and hygiene issues. So a comprehensive and inclusive long term plan should be formulated to focus our national development plans and SDGs to achieve the 2030 goals for building a developed nation.
Bangladesh government and other stakeholders think that our 'Vision 2021' SDGs 2030 and 'Vision 2041' all are meant for people and people oriented. A developed nation will emerge from these Visions where there will be no hunger, malnutrition or diseases. Gender parity, food security,employment for all will prevail, education for all will be ensured. Men and women along with their children will live in coherence, affection, love and happiness.       
(PID - UNICEF Feature)

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