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CELAC and FAO join forces towards eradicating hunger

FAO Director-General meets with Raul Castro, President of Cuba, as Cuba assumes the Pro-tempore Presidency of CELAC.

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and the President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers of Cuba Raúl Castro, during the first Summit CELAC-EU in Santiago de Chile

27 January 2013, Santiago de Chile - The FAO Director General gave his full support and offered FAO’s technical cooperation and experience in agricultural development and food security to Raul Castro, President of the Council of State and Ministers of Cuba, a nation that assumes the Pro-tempore Presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, CELAC.

During the CELAC-European Union Summit, which was held in Santiago de Chile, José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of FAO, met with the President of Cuba to discuss joint actions between FAO and CELAC to move towards the eradication of hunger in the region.

"Cuba is a country that has extensive experience in the fight against hunger, and is one of the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean that has already achieved the first Millennium Development Goal, related to the eradication of hunger," said Graziano, emphasizing the full eradication of hunger in the Caribbean country.

During the occasion, the President of Cuba accepted the offer made by FAO to support the Pro-tempore presidency of CELAC in developing a regional plan for the eradication of hunger.

Graziano stressed that CELAC should continue emphasizing food security in its agenda because, “there can be no sustainable development while there are 49 million hungry people in Latin America and the Caribbean”.

This is particularly complex in Central America, where the incidence of poverty affects 51% of the population, significantly higher than the rate in Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole (33%). Malnutrition, in turn, affects 15% of Central Americans, well above the average for Latin America and the Caribbean, of only 8%. According to FAO, child malnutrition rates are also higher than the continental average, and a total of 6 million people suffer from hunger in Central America.

South-South Cooperation and emphasis on Central America and the Caribbean
Graziano called on the President of Cuba for both CELAC and Cuba to maintain and expand their South-South cooperation, with special emphasis on the nations of the Caribbean and Central America, sub-regions where hunger affects a large proportion of the population.

"It's time for Latin America and the Caribbean to become its own best development partner, helping less fortunate countries, using their accumulated knowledge as well as technical and professional resources to support each other," said the FAO Director-General.

Graziano highlighted the actions that Cuba has undertaken to support other developing countries, making it one of the major players in this field, both in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as in countries in Africa, on topics such as health, education and agriculture, among others.

In this context, President Castro stressed the importance of continuing to support the development process in Haiti, noting that, "the food situation in Haiti is a continent-wide problem, for which all countries should support the solution.

“Cuba was one of the first countries to join the South-South Cooperation program of FAO. Through actions in countries such as Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Venezuela and the Caribbean countries, Cuba has become an example that we hope other nations will imitate, especially in higher level entities, such as CELAC " said Graziano da Silva.

More information:
Director General of FAO at CELAC-EU Summit: "No sustainable development while there is hunger."

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