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33 FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean

33 FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean

06 - 09 May, Santiago, Chile

The 33rd FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean will be held in Santiago, Chile, from the 6th to the 9th of May 2014.

Latin America and the Caribbean is the region which has made the greatest advances in the fight against hunger in the past two decades. Eight countries in the region have managed to eradicate hunger while fifteen countries have already achieved the first Millennium Development Goal of reducing by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.

With the participation of Ministers of Agriculture, Environment and Social Development and government representatives from 33 countries, the conference will focus on consolidating the regional advances in the fight against hunger, malnutrition and extreme poverty, sustainable development of agriculture and the shift towards inclusive and efficient food systems.

Participants will also discuss food security governance in the region, adaptation to climate change, the development of family agriculture, food trade and production and South- South cooperation among countries in the region.

The Conference will be also be an opportunity for governments, representatives of the civil society, peasant and indigenous organizations, NGOs, intergovernmental organizations, regional integration bodies and other UN agencies to jointly discuss the challenges facing the eradication of hunger in the region.

The participating governments will review FAO's activities in the region during the 2012-2013 period and will set priorities for FAO's action for the next two years.

Credentials

Members of the press interested in attending the opening session on Wednesday May 7th, 2:30PM (Santiago), and to press conference Friday May 9th, 11:30 AM (Santiago), must request credentials to Ms. Goizargi De Las Heras.

Press releases

Press releases will be generated daily by the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean. To request the reception of press releases via email, please contact Ms. María Santacreu (International Media) or Ms. Goizargi de las Heras (Chilean media)

Friday, May 9th, 11:30 AM (Santiago) at the Santiago Marriott Hotel with FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, and Carlos Furche, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Chile.

Interviews

Request for interviews prior, during or after the conference should be requested/coordinated through Ms. Goizargi De Las Heras.

Photos

Graphic materials have been uploaded into Flickr prior to the Conference for your convenience.

To access the picture set, please follow flic.kr/s/aHsjXvaCjn

Videos

a playlist with videos from the FAO has been set to be used for communications related to the conference http://bit.ly/1pr0i1X

Topic summary

Eradication of Hunger, Food Insecurity, Malnutrition and Extreme Poverty

One year ahead of the deadline established by the 2000-2015 Millennium Development Objectives, the target of "reducing by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger" has been achieved in 16 of the 33 Member Nations of the Region, with 6 of these Member Nations achieving the World Food Summit goal of reducing by half their absolute number of hungry. This is a clear sign of the high political commitment from the Region's Governments, and indicates that it is possible to significantly advance the process of eradicating hunger in this generation, although also simultaneously noting that 47 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean still suffer from hunger. Furthermore, malnutrition obesity and unhealthy eating habits, particularly among children, are deeply entrenched. The Region has made progress in designing and implementing inclusive and enhanced governance systems and mechanisms that are highly conducive to the participation of civil society, entrepreneurs, parliamentarians and other stakeholders. Ongoing challenges include the constant need to adjust and improve the coordination of food security public policies, as well as to broaden and universally adopt programs impacting on vulnerable populations such as those focusing on social protection mechanisms (i.e. voluntary transfers and school feeding programs).

Other challenges entail improvements in the functioning of rural labor markets, and the promotion of family farming initiatives.

Sustainable production in agriculture, livestock, forestry and fisheries, reducing risks and improving the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crisis, in a context of climate change

While the countries of the region have increased their agricultural, forestry and fishery production at rates above the global average over the past decade, they also face serious problems of soil degradation, water depletion and pollution, deforestation, biodiversity loss, social, economic and environmental sustainability threats and increased risks associated with climate change. The acute vulnerability of these sectors to natural disasters and weather events such as drought, floods, frost and hurricanes has led to recurring emergencies threatening the livelihoods of thousands of people. Emerging pests and diseases of plants and animals also pose an increasing threat owing to their impact on trade, public health and food security. Structural changes are needed in agricultural production models to improve the balance between productive functions and the regulatory and protective functions of ecosystems. There is a pressing need to improve governance for the responsible tenure of land, fisheries and forests. It is necessary to reduce the vulnerability and manage the risk of rural populations and to improve the resilience of rural livelihoods to threats and crisis. At the same time, there is an urgent need to ensure the adaptation of agriculture, livestock, forestry, aquaculture and fisheries to climate change.

A wealth of knowledge, technologies and practices exists for the sustainable production of goods and services and for risk management across the region's rural sector. However, it is necessary to increase investment and to strengthen public policies, legal frameworks and cross-sector coordination and the national institutional capacity for adopting them.

Towards inclusive and efficient development of agriculture and food systems at the local, national and international level

Given the considerable changes that have resulted in increased concentration of food systems in the Latin America and Caribbean region during the past two decades there is a great need for levels. Globalization, trade liberalization and commercialization have changed how agricultural commodities are produced, supplied and consumed.

Agricultural and food systems are characterized by increasingly integrated supply chains and have become more science and capital-intensive based. Rapid urbanization has led to a demand for more and a higher level of processed products in a ready to be used form.

Consumer expectations with regard to food safety, nutrition and health have required greater attention to standards at all levels of production and distribution, demanding safe, quality and nutritious products in a timely and regular manner.

Thus, supply chains have become more global, complex and diverse, with agricultural markets generally being more integrated and risky. The impact of these changes has affected countries and communities very differently. Small countries, small holders, women and youth have generally not benefitted evenly from the opportunities and hence FAO's work will place greater emphasis on supporting more inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems, at local, national and international levels under the Strategic Objective 4 (SO4). Promoting inclusive food and agricultural systems under S04 includes incentives that enable commercial small and medium scale producers and agro-enterprises to participate in markets sustainably.

Improving the efficiency of such systems will help ensure the responsible and productive use of available natural resources, improve incomes, reduce food losses and waste, and promote the delivery of products that are healthy and safe to eat. A comprehensive strategy targeting specific needs of subregions and countries characterizes the implementation proposal for SO4 in the region.