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Global Parliamentary Summit against Hunger and Malnutrition

The Global Parliamentary Summit against Hunger and Malnutrition calls for polical commitments

30/10/2018

More than two hundred parliamentary representatives from different countries all over the world have today poliiclosed the first Global Parliamentary Summit against Hunger and Malnutrition in Madrid. This event reaffirmed the political commitment to ensure that everybody has access to sufficient and quality food.

821 million people are undernourished, whilst one in every eight adults is obese and 38 million children under the age of five are overweight. In light of this situation, a single voice has been heard in the meeting rooms and in the plenary session at the Spanish Senate, which hosted this first summit, to express the need and will to work together to relieve the increase of hunger.

The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the Spanish Parliament and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisations (FAO), alongside the Parliamentary Front against Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean were the drivers of this initiative that concluded with the firm aim to achieve Zero Hunger and make the right to a sufficient diet a reality for all.

“If we do not find concrete ways to stop this constant increase, the number of obese people will soon be as high as the number of people who are hungry”, stated the FAO Director General, José Graziano da Silva. “We need to put in place food systems that provide healthy and nutritious food that is accessible to all," he added, highlighting that malnutrition should be treated as a public issue and not exclusively as an individual’s problem.

In his speech, Juan Pablo de Laiglesia, State Secretary for International Cooperation and for Ibero-America and the Caribbean, stressed Spain’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the revitalization of international cooperation as an essential public policy for the implementation of said goals.

The Summit was attended by senior Spanish figures, such as the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation, Josep Borrell; the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas; and the Director of the AECID, Aina Calvo, as well as regional parliamentary representatives from Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union. 

“We need to generate relevant changes on the ground through laws and proposals, as well as communicating better with civil society, the private sector and the organisers of small farmers”, noted Leonard Mizzi, Head of the Rural Development, Food Security and Nutrition Unit at the European Commission.

Over the two days that the meeting took place, a call was made to all parliamentarians to establish policies, prepare legislation, assign specific budgets and forge alliances and agreements aimed at achieving the objectives within the SDG 2; a goal that must be encouraged by means of transversal policies in all parliaments.

Likewise, the legislators have undertaken to encourage collaboration between countries and regions in favour of Zero Hunger. They were also urged to support the production and consumption of healthy foods, as well as to promote education and food and nutritional information with the aim of reducing the obesity that leads to non-communicable diseases and that places an enormous burden on health systems and public resources.

The Role of Parliamentarians in Favour of Zero Hunger

At present there are more than 30 Parliamentary Alliances and Fronts across the world.

Last 18 September the Spanish Congress and Senate formed the Parliamentary Alliance for the Right to Food. This is the result of a process that has lasted over five years and that was sparked by the experience of the Parliamentary Front against Hunger (PFH) in Latin America and the Caribbean. From the outset, this regional alliance, made up of 19 parliamentary alliances committed to the fight against hunger, has enjoyed the support of Spanish Cooperation and the FAO through the Spain- FAO programme financed by the AECID.

“The Parliamentary Front against Hunger is the framework of action that enables us to effectively contribute to the Zero Hunger Goal, as thanks to this platform we can boost the political role with technical support through international organisations such as the FAO”, stated Jairo Flores, who was named as General Coordinator of the PFH in Latin America and the Caribbean during the 9th Forum of the Parliamentary Fronts held in Madrid last 28th October.

 

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