FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean

Main regional hunger eradication agreement bears fruit throughout Latin America and the Caribbean

Ministers from the region discussed the progress of the Plan for Food Security, Nutrition and Hunger Eradication 2025 of CELAC.

Ministers from across the region will discuss the progress made by the plan and the main challenges of regional food security.

August 1, 2016, Santiago, Chile - A national food security law in the Dominican Republic, a regional strategy for reducing food losses and waste and a program of resilience against drought in the Central American dry corridor, are some of the concrete results of the region’s main agreement to combat hunger, FAO said today.

The Plan for Food Security, Nutrition and Hunger Eradication of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, CELAC, seeks to end hunger across the region by 2025.

Between the 1st and 3rd of August in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, ministers from across the region will discuss the progress made by the plan and the main challenges of regional food security.

"The CELAC plan can create a real heritage for future generations, a roadmap showing the way to a future free from hunger and poverty," said Raul Benitez, FAO’s Regional Representative.

The ministers of the CELAC countries will also discuss the impact of climate change on regional food security based on a new study by FAO, ECLAC and ALADI, which will be presented on Tuesday, August 2.

New national food security laws

The CELAC food security plan emphasizes the need for countries to develop national food security laws to ensure the right to food of their populations.

According to Benitez, the Dominican Republic took a decisive step towards the eradication of hunger this year, when it adopted its new Law on Food Sovereignty and Security.

The Dominican Republic joined the eight countries which already have such laws in the region, a key factor to strengthen the fight against hunger: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Mexico.

Halve food waste and losses

According to FAO, with the food that is lost or wasted in the region would be sufficient to feed 37% of those suffering hunger globally.

To eliminate food waste and losses, under the CELAC plan governments established a Network of experts, a Regional Strategy and Regional Alliance for the prevention and reduction of food waste and losses.

"These agreements seek to halve food waste by 2030, which at the regional level reached 127 million tons of food a year, 223 kilos for each of its inhabitants," Benitez said, noting that the region seeks to become a global leader in the fight against waste.

Drought in the dry corridor and disaster preparedness

Under the CELAC food security plan, the countries of the Central America dry corridor are supporting the resilience of rural communities through actions to adapt to climate change and drought.

"3.5 million people need humanitarian assistance and 1.6 million live in food insecurity in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras" Benitez said, calling on countries to strengthen South-South cooperation through the CELAC plan for respond to this situation.

FAO is supporting CELAC to develop a regional strategy for disaster risk management for agriculture and food security, since disasters caused damages amounting to USD 34 billion in the region between 2003 and 2014, affecting 67 million people.

"With appropriate risk reduction, CELAC member countries can strengthen their food security and build resilient agricultural systems, enhancing the ability of millions to confront threats," said Benitez.

Public food supply systems

The CELAC plan calls for strengthening public food supply systems, revitalizing supply companies and centres, promoting the creation of public food stocks and reserves.

Benitez highlighted the creation of the first regional network of public food purchasing systems as a concrete achievement of CELAC plan.

"These systems can generate a stable food supply and provide access to food for the most vulnerable population," said Benitez, calling for more countries to join the current members: Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Saint Vincent and Grenadines.

Incorporating the gender approach in the fight against hunger

Gender inequalities are one of the main issues underlying food insecurity in the region.

FAO is supporting CELAC’s Working Group for the Advancement of Women by developing a gender strategy for CELAC’s food security plan, which will be presented in November in the Dominican Republic.

This strategy will incorporate the gender perspective in the main actions and initiatives to combat hunger in the region, empowering rural women.

"This is just a small taste of what we advanced in just two years. The results obtained show that eradicating hunger is a possible goal if it is backed by adequate political commitment," Benitez said.

The FAO Regional Representative concluded by stating that the full implementation of CELAC’s food security plan is "the best tool to achieve zero hunger by 2025".