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FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean (LARC)

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35ª Conferencia Regional de la FAO para América Latina y el Caribe, Jamaica 2018

35th FAO Regional Conference, Montego Bay, Jamaica, 5th to 8th march 2018

Hunger is growing and obesity has become an epidemic.

Climate change threatens agriculture.

And millions of people in rural areas live in extreme poverty.

These are the greatest challenges for food security in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The main task of the 35th FAO Regional Conference will be to discuss solutions for each of these challenges. On March 5-8, in Jamaica, the 33 member countries of FAO in the region will develop an agenda to fight hunger and malnutrition, build a future without rural poverty, and transform agriculture to be sustainable and resilient to climate change.

Eradicating hunger, overweight and obesity

Eradicating hunger, overweight and obesity


a.
Hunger is growing again for the first time in decades

For the first time in two decades, hunger is again on the rise in Latin America and the Caribbean. Between 2015 and 2016, the number of people suffering from hunger increased by 2.4 million, reaching a total of 42.5 million.

Without an immediate and large-scale solution the region will not be able to reach the Sustainable Development Goal: Zero Hunger by 2030.

The FAO Regional Conference is a unique opportunity for countries to promote significant changes in food security through better public policies.

Because hunger in the region is not the result of a lack of food - it is a problem of access. Therefore, its solution is political: it is about making food security a public policy.

b.    Obesity has become an epidemic that threatens the lives of millions of people

Obesity has become an epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean. In the region, more people die from obesity than from homicides.

Rates of obesity are not only high, but are growing in all countries and across all socioeconomic levels.

The FAO Regional Conference will promote alliances among all actors to transform the food system and ensure healthy, balanced and nutritious diets for all.

Putting an end to rural poverty

Putting an end to rural poverty


a.   Rural areas are unable to get out of poverty

Almost half of the rural population of the region is poor. In recent years, the pace of rural poverty reduction has declined in the region, which is a worrying sign given that this trend coincides with an increase in hunger.

Regional poverty is much more severe in rural areas. More than 40% of the inhabitants of these areas are poor; more than 20% cannot even afford a basic food basket.

The FAO Regional Conference will allow countries to share public policies that increase the pace of rural poverty reduction, thereby revitalizing rural areas both economically and socially.

b.    Addressing the root causes of migration

International migration, often dangerous and unsafe for those who attempt it, has become an unavoidable issue for the region.

Thousands of people migrate to and from countries, escaping violence, lack of opportunities, poverty or environmental risks.

Understanding and addressing the root causes and consequences of migration will be one of the key issues of the Regional Conference in order to make migration a choice rather than a necessity, while ensuring that migrants are welcomed into inclusive and egalitarian communities, and that those who return to their countries of origin can develop their full potential.

c.     Improving diets through family farming and artisanal fishing

The economic, social and cultural value of family farming and artisanal fisheries in Latin America and the Caribbean is incalculable. These sectors create rural employment, produce healthy and nutritious food, and boost local economies.

With the increase in hunger and obesity, family farming and artisanal fishing have become more valuable than ever by producing fresh, nutritious and diverse foods that can replace the highly processed foods that have invaded the region.

The Regional Conference will be an instance for countries to increase their support for these sectors through public policies that allow them to develop their full potential, from production to processing, marketing and consumption.

d.    Unleashing the potential of rural women

Women in the region suffer from multiple and varied inequities. They have less land than men, their economic autonomy and access to resources is limited, and they suffer discrimination and violence.

The untapped potential of women - especially rural women - cannot continue to be tolerated in the region. With the necessary support, they can become the best ally in the fight against hunger, obesity and poverty.

During the Conference, the member countries of FAO will share their strategies and policies to empower rural women and increase their economic autonomy, while helping to achieve the gender equality objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals.

e.    Promoting inclusive agri-food systems

The food systems of the region have undergone a profound transformation in recent decades. This has allowed the region to become an agricultural power, but it has also generated exclusion and inequality, monocultures, concentration of land and displacement.

Hunger cannot be defeated without inclusive food systems that promote fair trade and socially responsible production that integrates the rural poor, members of indigenous peoples, young people and rural women.

The FAO Regional Conference will analyse various ways to transform food systems so that they generate nutritional, social, environmental and economic benefits, in order to expand opportunities for family farming and artisanal fishing, rural SMEs and segments of the population living in poverty.

Promoting climate resilient sustainable agriculture

Promoting climate resilient sustainable agriculture


a.    Creating sustainable agriculture to face climate change

The agriculture sector of Latin America and the Caribbean has turned the region into an actor of global importance, which is key to meeting the expected increase in global demand for food in the coming years.

But this will not be possible if climate change is not addressed through a major agricultural transformation. We must produce more, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing sustainable practices to adapt production systems to new climatic conditions, conserving and using energy, land, water, marine resources, forests and biodiversity much more efficiently.

The Regional Conference will allow countries to promote fully sustainable agriculture, which is resilient to climate change and better prepared to face natural disasters.

b.    Protecting the rich biodiversity of the region

The biodiversity of Latin America and the Caribbean is unique in the world. It is home to a large variety of plant and animal species that are important for agriculture and food, while also attracting millions of tourists each year.

The biodiversity of the region includes food and animal species that have successfully expanded around the world, such as quinoa, potatoes, beans and tomatoes.

The FAO Conference will be a key space for countries to share their experiences and promote the conservation and sustainable use of their biological diversity, including all forms of life in forests, oceans, deserts, plains and rivers.

c.    Improving access to climate finance

Climate change does not respect borders. It is a global problem that cannot be solved without cooperation among all countries.

Currently, the countries of the region are financing climate change adaptation and mitigation mostly with their own resources. But these are insufficient.

The Regional Conference will be an important opportunity for countries to discuss access to environmental and climate financing mechanisms, such as the Green Climate Fund, which are necessary for the transformation of the agricultural sector.

A new FAO to meet the Sustainable Development Goals

A new FAO to meet the Sustainable Development Goals


a.    
Continuing the reform of FAO to achieve Zero Hunger

In 2017, FAO celebrated its 40th anniversary in Latin America and the Caribbean. Throughout its history, FAO has supported the transformation and modernization of the agriculture sector in its member countries, as well as the creation of major regional agreements on food security.

FAO has promoted an ambitious decentralization process to face the new challenges of food, agriculture and rural development. This has allowed the organisation to strengthen its sub-regional and national offices and be closer to its member countries, while reducing costs and improving its results and impacts.

The creation of its five Strategic Objectives has allowed FAO to strengthen the capacities of all its technical units, in order to provide support for member countries that is more effective, far-reaching and impactful.

The Conference will serve to deepen FAO's collaboration with its member countries and help them move closer to achieving the 17 goals of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

b.    Moving from small to large-scale initiatives

In order to respond to the challenges of this new scenario, a different approach is needed and small-scale initiatives will not be enough.

Faced with the challenge of rising hunger, countries of the region and FAO must redouble their efforts. For this reason, FAO has proposed to support countries develop initiatives that have a significant impact and benefit millions of people.

The Regional Conference will be an invaluable opportunity to strengthen large-scale initiatives with the potential to change the current situation and reverse the rising tide of hunger and malnutrition.


FAO Press release

Interviews

To coordinate interviews before, during and after the conference please contact Mr. Benjamín Labatut or Ms. Cecilia Valdés

Photos

Graphic resources related to the Conference and images of FAO's work have been provided on Flickr. To access the image album see http://bit.ly/FAOConferencePhotos , http://bit.ly/PhotosLARC35 or email Maximiliano Valencia

Videos

A playlist with FAO videos has been prepared and can be used as supporting images for reports related to the Conference http://bit.ly/VideosLARC35 or if you need other videos email Maximiliano Valencia

Key publications


Location Map