FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean

Members of the scientific and academic world contributed their views on the FAO Regional Conference

Confronting climate change and the rise in malnutrition, driving innovation in food and agriculture and moving towards prosperous rural societies will be the main themes of the FAO Regional Conference, between 19 and 21 October

How do we connect science with society? Doing so is fundamental to more sustainable food and agriculture.

October 16, 2020, Santiago de Chile - Members of the scientific and academic world of Latin America and the Caribbean met to analyze the main documents of the Regional Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which will begin next Monday, October 19.

The three-day Conference is the highest governing body of FAO in the region: there, the governments of the member countries set priorities for the Organization and seek common solutions to the great challenges of food, nutrition, agriculture, climate change and rural development.

The academic and scientific world had the opportunity to learn about the main documents that will be debated during the Conference and expressed their comments, opinions and positions in a statement that will be available when the meeting begins and that will enrich the debates of the countries.

“At the juncture that we are going through, with the impact of the pandemic, listening to and paying attention to science becomes a fundamental issue for humanity. But this is not limited to COVID: to tackle climate change, drive innovation in agriculture and food, and combat the rise in malnutrition, we need the perspective of the academic and scientific sector, ”said the FAO Regional Representative, Julio Berdegué.

Bessy Nazar, dean of the Faculty of Legal Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Honduras, highlighted during the consultation the nutritional challenges facing Latin America and the Caribbean: "Eating a healthy diet here is more expensive than in any other part of the world" .

Camila Corvalán, from Chile's INTA Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology, added that “food systems must not only be productive, but also healthy. This paradigm shift is fundamental today, especially due to COVID ”.

“The agenda proposed by FAO is very important due to the historical crisis that we are going through. We need a systemic vision, with long-term projects, to transform the inequality of Latin America and the Caribbean, and achieve an ecological transition," said Manuel Flores Lesama, professor at the Federal University of Paraná.

Statement from the academic and scientific sector

The vision of the academic and scientific world on the themes and documents of the Regional Conference will be available in a statement that can be seen from the beginning of the Conference, next Monday 19.

The declaration indicates that one of the most important challenges for regional agriculture is how to face the growing demand for food in a sustainable and resilient way, and especially how to improve the nutrition of the population.

It also points out that Latin America and the Caribbean is, on the one hand, the region richest in biodiversity and the main exporter of food worldwide, and, on the other, is the region with the highest rate of deforestation and the highest social inequality in the world.

Facing all these challenges requires scientific and technological innovation, but for it to be adopted on a small and large scale it is necessary that it permeate all sectors of food and agriculture.

"How do we connect science with society? For example, to generate early warning systems for drought and natural disasters. You have to transfer technology to the field, and ensure that small producers have access to the information they need, ”explained Diego Pons, from Colorado State University.

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