Some countries are developing laws on food donations and ways to minimize food losses and waste.
25 January 2017, Dominican Republic – Latin America and the Caribbean could be the first developing region to completely eradicate hunger if its governments further strengthen their implementation of a food security plan developed by the CELAC bloc, FAO’s Director-General José Graziano da Silva said today.
Approved by CELAC in 2015, the plan promotes comprehensive public policies to reduce poverty, improve rural conditions, adapt agriculture to climate change, end food waste and face disaster risks.
In his address, FAO’s Director-General noted that the CELAC FNS plan is fully in line with high-level global commitments such as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
And the region has made an even more ambitious commitment, he noted: to eradicate hunger by the year 2025, five years before the target established by SDG 2: Zero Hunger.
“This region has all the necessary conditions to achieve this, starting with the great political commitment that sustains the CELAC FNS Plan,” explained Graziano da Silva.
The plan is already bearing fruit throughout the region: Bolivia, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela relied on it to diagnose their food and nutrition security policies, while Peru used it as a base for the creation of laws regarding food donation and to minimize food losses and waste.
Tackling the double burden of malnutrition
Malnutrition generates enormous economic and social costs, as public health systems must now cope with increasing levels of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, as well as the consequences of child stunting, wasting and undernourishment.
According to the FAO, one of the worrying trends in the region is the increase in female obesity: the rates of obesity for women are ten percentage points higher than that of men in more than twenty countries in the region.
Strengthening family farming to tackle climate change
According to FAO’s Director-General, the impacts of climate change have the potential to reverse the gains made in the fight against hunger and extreme poverty in the region.
“Agriculture is the sector most affected by climate change and one of its main victims are small family farmers, men and women, many of whom struggle daily for their survival,” said Graziano da Silva.
Together with CELAC, FAO is developing a plan of action for family agriculture and rural territorial development that promotes sustainable intensification of production, public procurement and food supply systems, rural services and greater opportunities for rural youth.
FAO is supporting CELAC in putting together a Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Management for Agriculture and Food Security, which supports resilience and adaptation of farmers through sustainable farming techniques and resource management.
Peace, food security and sustainable development
In Colombia, the CELAC FNS Plan has supported the creation of a strategy aimed at rehabilitating the livelihoods of vulnerable communities in the central area of the country.
“There will be no social stability or peace as long as there is hunger, poverty and inequality. Nor can we move forward if we continue to exploit our natural resources. Sustainability is a pre-condition for development,” said Graziano da Silva.