Consumers are a vital part of the Zero Hunger equation.

12 April 2017, Rome – FAO and Consumers International, a global federation of consumer rights groups, have agreed to intensify their collaboration to help end hunger. The agreement recognizes that consumers around the world can be a powerful force for change towards more sustainable and equitable food systems.

Key areas of mutual interest for FAO and CI include the right to food, consumer protection, nutrition and food safety.

The partnership aims to enhance Consumer International’s access to FAO’s wealth of knowledge and information while FAO can work more closely with the network of CI’s member organizations who communicate with and advocate for consumers.

The partnership will also help strengthen consumer protection from food hazards. This includes promoting awareness among consumers on safe food handling and of standards for food processing along the value chain. The two organizations also aim to promote healthy nutritional habits and raise awareness on sustainable diets.

“FAO is pleased to step up our collaboration with Consumers International because consumers are a vital part of the Zero Hunger equation. Consumer demand can be a powerful force in shaping better food supply systems for all,” said FAO’s Director-General José Graziano da Silva at a signing ceremony today at FAO in Rome.

“Together, we can pool FAO’s knowledge and information with our global networks to get consumers to understand the need for change and to act. If we harness that power and help channel it behind the work of FAO to end hunger and we will see real change,” said Consumers International’s Director-General Amanda Long.

Consumer power can drive change

Consumers International represents more than 240 consumer rights groups in 120 countries. It was founded in 1960 and it works to ensure that consumer voices, needs and perspectives are recognized in policy debates, such as those convened by FAO with Member States.

As part of its mission to support countries to achieve the Global Goal of Zero Hunger, FAO helps build safe and sustainable food systems and advocates for the right to food for all. FAO is also home to the Codex Alimentarius – the body that sets internationally recognized standards for food production and safety.

Track record of working together

In coming months, CI will participate in several national and regional dialogues on issues such as nutritional food systems which will help countries formulate and implement plans to achieve Zero Hunger. 

In Latin America and the Caribbean, FAO and CI are already collaborating successfully. In the region, CI and its member groups are advocating for and supporting the development of public policies to improve access to healthy food and optimizing nutrition information. CI has made valuable contributions to discussions convened by FAO at the regional level and brought insights from the consumer perspective.     

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