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Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean reaffirm their determination to fight hunger

FAO received a clear mandate to support countries in eradicating hunger, promoting rural development, sustainable use of natural resources and adaptation to climate change.

Mexico City, March 3, 2016 - Eradicate hunger, promote the sustainable use of natural resources, adaptation to climate change and risk management, and strengthen rural development and family farming are the three priorities that the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean established for FAO, during the Regional Conference in Mexico City.

Governments in the region agreed measures to respond to the 34 million people who still live with hunger in the region.

“Latin America and the Caribbean has comitted to end hunger and malnutrition in less than ten years and FAO will work closely with countries to achieve this," said Jose Graziano da Silva, Director-General of FAO.

 In the next two years, FAO will implement an initiative focused on supporting the mayor regional food security strategies, such as the Hunger Free Latin America and the Caribbean and CELAC’s Food Security, Nutrition and Hunger Eradication Plan.

"Countries have been very clear: the regional priority is to eradicate hunger by 2025, and FAO will devote all its efforts to make this dream a reality," said Graziano da Silva.

A comprehensive response to climate change

In response to the countrie’s mandate, FAO will develop a priority regional initiative that will promote sustainable use of natural resources, climate change adaptation and disaster risk management

This initiative will pay special attention to dry corridor of Central America, where millions of people have seen their food security affected.

“In the past, drought in the Dry Corridor was a cyclical phenomenon associated with El Niño. Today, climate change has caused droughts to be more erratic, prolonged and unpredictable,”, said Graziano da Silva.

Small Island Developing States, many of which are in the Caribbean, also require urgent support, since for them climate change presents the greatest urgency.

Graziano da Silva called on countries to ratify the international Port State Measures, which seeks to combat illegal fishing. Three more countries must ratify it for it to come into effect.

"This treaty can be a powerful tool to promote sustainable development, and is an urgent necessity for Small Island States," he said.

Stop the rise in obesity

During the Conference, FAO signed two agreements, one with PAHO and one with Consumers International, aimed at combating the rise in obesity and overweight in the region.

According to the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), 56% of adults in Latin America and 44% in the Caribbean are overweight.

To address this situation, FAO and WHO signed an agreement to strengthen regional policies to eradicate malnutrition and implement the recommendations of the International Conference on Nutrition (CIN2) and the new Agenda for Sustainable Development.

FAO also signed an agreement with Consumers International, which seeks, in the words of Director General of FAO, "to turn the act of consuming and buying into an act of conscious citizenship, considering from health and nutrition aspects and their environmental impacts".

Unlocking rural potential

Poverty still affects 47% of the inhabitants of rural areas in the region, a rate that is twice that of urban areas.

In response to the request of the countries, FAO will implement an initiative focused on promoting family agriculture, inclusive food systems and sustainable rural development.

This initiative will facilitate access of family farmers to assets, financial and non-financial services, strengthening their producer organizations.

In addition, it will foster the integration of social protection policies and productive programs, encouraging public procurement to family farming, short production circuits and improvement of public supply systems.

To avoid impoverishment cycles due to crisis, this initiative will work to improve the resilience of rural households to shocks and emergencies.

Mexico and Peru join forces with FAO to end hunger

During the Conference, FAO signed two agreements with the governments of Mexico and Peru, to strengthen their roles as strategic partners in the fight against hunger.

Among the various aspects that the agreements adress, emphasis was placed on joint work with FAO on issues of South-South cooperation.

Graziano Da Silva noted that both Mexico and Peru show significant progress, since they have ceased to be merely beneficiaries of international cooperation to become aid donors through their successful experiences.

"Mexico and Peru are now strategic partners of FAO in promoting sustainable food systems and the eradication of hunger and poverty," said Graziano da Silva.

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