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Hunger-Free Latin America and the Caribbean Initiative puts new emphasis on fighting the two sides of malnutrition: hunger and obesity

22 countries participated in the last meeting of the Hunger-Free Latin America and the Caribbean 2025 Initiative to strengthen their commitment to the human right to food.

Santiago, Chile,  August 5th 2014 - 22 countries attended the last meeting of the Hunger-Free Latin America and the Caribbean 2025 Initiative and put a new emphasis on combating the two sides of malnutrition: hunger and obesity.

Created in 2005, the Initiative is a commitment signed by all countries in the Latin America and the Caribbean aimed at ending hunger by 2025, and has become a global example, inspiring partnerships as the West Africa Zero Hunger Initiative.

On 30 and 31 July the 2025 Working Group (GT2025) met in Mexico. This is a mechanism established by the countries of the region to track the Initiative achievements, projects and interventions.

More than fifty representatives from government, civil society and parliament attended the meeting and stressed that even though the region has the largest number of countries that have achieved the first Millennium Development Goal, 47 million of Latin Americans and Caribbeans still suffer from hunger, while obesity affects 23% of adults and overweight affects 3.8 million children under five years.

To address this double burden of malnutrition, the GT2025 pointed out that it is required to strengthen comprehensive policies aimed at reducing overweight and obesity, the development of legal and institutional frameworks, and the implementation of multi-sectoral programs and projects in areas such as food and nutrition education, food supply quality, and mechanisms of surveillance and monitoring of nutritional status within countries.

Food security : a policy priority in LAC

During the meeting, Costa Rica presented the draft for a Food and Nutrition Security and Hunger Eradication Plan of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), whose development has been supported by FAO.

The GT2025 appreciated the plan, which is a clear example of how the commitment to the fight against hunger has positioned itself at the top of the regional political agenda, as part of the work plans of Latin American and Caribbean’s main integration bodies.

It was also agreed to encourage countries in the region to reinforce this policy priority, helping to keep hunger eradication as a priority on the global development agenda post-2015 that will be discussed at the General Assembly of the United Nations in September, 2015.

To do this, countries present at the meeting of the GT2025 committed to move forward in creating food and nutrition security agendas in the framework of the Initiative and other spaces like the CELAC, the Central American Integration System (SICA), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

Family farming is key to food security

GT2025 participants underlined the potential of family farming to strengthen food security and enhance local food cultures, improving nutrition of children and adults and strengthening healthy and nutritious diets, key to fight obesity and malnutrition.

Therefore, countries agreed to promote exchanges of experiences on various political and institutional mechanisms to strengthen family farming, which represents about 81% of farms in the region (77 million plantations) and provides between 27 and 67% of total food production, by country.

Broad international participation

The GT2025 meeting was organized by the government of Mexico and FAO, and was attended by senior officials from ministries of agriculture, social development and health of the region, legislators, and representatives of civil society and integration organizations, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).