Latin America and the Caribbean is at the forefront of the global fight against hunger. It is the Region that has made the most progress in reducing the percentage and total number of people suffering from hunger in the past 20 years.
Thanks to successful public policies implemented by Governments, coupled with economic growth, hunger fell from 14.7% in 1990-93 to 7.9% in 2010-2013. Child malnutrition was also halved in the same period, while the total number of undernourished people decreased from 59 million in 1990 to 47 million in 2013.
The Region was the first to commit to the complete eradication of hunger through the 2025 Hunger-Free Latin America and the Caribbean Initiative (HFLACI). This renewed political commitment is based on the full conviction that eradicating hunger in the Region is an achievable target.
Eight Member Nations have already fully eradicated hunger, 15 have achieved the first Millennium Development Goal of reducing by half the proportion of people suffering from hunger, and 11 have also achieved the World Food Summit target of reducing the proportion as well as the total number of undernourished people.
Food security policies and programmes, as well as the Region's role as one the world's main food producers, place Latin America and the Caribbean at the forefront of the global fight against hunger. Many of its flagship initiatives are being adapted to other world Regions in strengthening global food security.
The FAO Regional Office supports Member Nations by monitoring food security levels; assisting in the design and implementation of hunger-eradication strategies, laws and programmes; and promoting family farming, agricultural and rural development and climate-change adaptation policies.
FAO places a special emphasis on vulnerable communities - with a particular focus on women, indigenous and native peoples - and works closely with Member Nation Governments, civil society and international cooperation stakeholders to empower social actors and local communities in exercising a leading role in their own development.
Mesoamerica has abundant and diverse natural resources that are strategically located. This represents tremendous opportunities, for example, in comprehensive management of common property, control of transboundary diseases and proximity to key markets.
The family as a unit of agricultural production is a unique resources manager. They have a core potential in human and natural assets that should be strengthened to generate strong physical and social assets.
Besides the above, one favourable aspect for this region is the increase of agricultural consumption rates which represents, together with the promotion of family farming, a possibility to include highly vulnerable populations in the path of development.
Mesoamerica is one of the regions showing greatest progress in the fight against hunger. However, there are still several challenges that are strictly related to the particular features of the region, as its hillside family farming in fragile ecosystems; the limited technological resources and financial knowledge, and therefore its low productivity. The Region still suffers from social, indigenous and gender exclusion. The subregion has a high degradation rate, due to its high exposure to threats and vulnerability in a context of climate change.
Countries in the Caribbean have made progress in reducing undernourishment and towards meeting the global hunger targets.
The number of undernourished persons in the Caribbean declined from 8.1 million in 1990-92, to 7.5 million in 2014-16.
For the same period, the proportion of undernourished persons declined from 27 percent to 19.8 percent. Three Caribbean Community countries - Barbados, Guyana and St Vincent and the Grenadines - have met both global hunger targets, that of the World Food Summit (WFS) set in 1996 and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000.
Dominica, Bahamas, Belize, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago all have undernourishment levels less than 10 percent of their population. The remaining countries have undernourishment levels between 10 and 20 percent, with the exception of Haiti that has extremely high levels of undernourishment at 50 percent of the population.
FAO is supporting all countries in the Caribbean in their fight to reach zero hunger, helping countries reduce obesity, supporting the development of food value chains, improving food access, disaster risk management and the necessary adaptation and mitigation of climate change finding solutions to the region's food related issues through a more holistic, transparent and fully engaged approach.