FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean

No more hunger or poverty for the indigenous peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean

FAO and the Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples for Latin America and the Caribbean signed an agreement at FAO's Regional Conference.

Mirna Cunningham, President of FILAC, with FAO's Regional Representative.

March 7, 2018, Montego Bay, Jamaica - Eradicating the poverty, hunger and malnutrition that affect indigenous peoples will be central objective of combined efforts by the Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples for Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC, in Spanish) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Mirna Cunningham, President of FILAC, and FAO's Regional Representative, Julio Berdegué signed a memorandum of understanding during the third day of FAO's Regional Conference.

"With this agreement we hope to contribute to the Green Climate Fund reaching  indigenous peoples. We also want to ensure the Prior, Free and Informed Consent, and create a platform of indigenous youths to help improve the nutritional situation of our peoples. We want to continue to make women and our traditional knowledge visible to change the situation of inequality in which we find ourselves", Cunningham said.

The collaboration of FILAC and FAO will seek to improve the development of public policies focused on the indigenous peoples of the region.

The parties will promote the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), improvements in the governance of natural resources and the empowerment of indigenous women and youth around the region.

FAO and FILAC will place special emphasis on actions that promote the participation and empowerment of indigenous peoples and those that generate public goods that benefit them, according to their specificities and needs.

They will also work to provide training and capacity building to leaders and institutions of indigenous peoples, mobilizing resources for joint programs that allow progress towards the  Sustainable Development Goals.

A respectful collaboration with indigenous rights

FAO and FILAC will work to ensure that the joint actions and projects promoted in the region incorporate the Free, Prior and Informed Consent, a right recognized in UNDRIP, which allows indigenous peoples to give or deny their consent to a project that affects them or its territories.

Free consent allows them to negotiate the conditions under which projects are designed, implemented, supervised and evaluated, consent can be withdrawn at any stage.

"We want the organizations of the indigenous peoples to be very active in the FAO projects in this region. But not only as beneficiaries, but as direct collaborators in all stages. With this we want to ensure that we hear their voices and work side by side," explained Berdegué.

Higher rates of food insecurity

Mapuche, Aymara, Kolla, Quechua, Guaraní, Senu; The multiple indigenous peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean are part of the cultural, social, agricultural and historical legacy of the region.

"Indigenous women, men and children in our region suffer some of the highest rates of hunger and poverty in all of Latin America and the Caribbean. We have to generate tailored solutions, specifically designed, with their active participation, if we want to achieve zero hunger and malnutrition," said Berdegué.

Panama, FAO and UNDP promote the productive systems of indigenous peoples

Nearly 20 percent of Panamanian territory corresponds to districts of indigenous peoples, where according to the Survey of Living Standards, poverty affects 96 % of people and chronic malnutrition affects 72 of boys and girls under five years.

To improve the food security of indigenous peoples, in mid-2017, the Government of Panama, FAO and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) established an alliance to promote productive systems in indigenous territories.

Within the framework of this agreement, FAO is working with 10 indigenous communities in the country, providing technical assistance to restore their productive systems, rescue local products of high cultural value and improve the availability and quality of food.

Small-scale fishing in indigenous territories

70 percent of the Central American Caribbean coast are autonomous indigenous territories,  recognized by the States.

Recognizing this importance, FAO and FILAC are working with artisanal fisherfolk from Central America and with authorities of the indigenous territories to support them to implement the Voluntary Guidelines for Small Scale Fisheries (DVPPE) in their territories, according to their traditional governance systems and worldview, and to promote the creation of a Central American Network of Indigenous Fishermen.

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