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Parliamentarians from Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa shared their experience in the fight against hunger with the OECD

Parliamentarians against hunger from both regions presented their lessons learned and their work at a meeting of the OECD Food Crisis Prevention Network in Paris.

Parliamentarians have powers that allow them to equip governments with the human and institutional resources necessary to eradicate hunger.

13 April 2017 - How can parliaments contribute to the eradication of hunger in the world? The Latin American and the Caribbean Parliamentary Front Against Hunger and its African counterpart, the Pan-African Food Security and Nutrition Alliance, answered this question at a meeting of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Parliamentarians from both regions discussed the key role of the legislative power for the eradication of hunger in a side event held during the meeting of the OECD Food Crisis Prevention Network in Paris.

According to FAO, the experience of Latin America and the Caribbean clearly demonstrates that if public policies and programs to combat hunger are supported by laws, nutritional indicators improve significantly.

"Parliamentarians have powers that allow them to equip governments with the human and institutional resources necessary to eradicate hunger," said Mexican Senator and coordinator of the Parliamentary Front Against Hunger (PFH) in Latin America and the Caribbean, Luisa María Calderón.

Calderon explained that the parliamentary fronts promote new legal frameworks or improve existing ones, providing fundamental legal and institutional support for the fight against hunger and malnutrition.

Lawmakers in Africa and Latin America highlighted the role of parliamentary fronts against hunger in creating state policies based on multi-party agreements that make the right to food a top priority that transcends political differences.

Transcending political differences

According to the FAO, one of the roles played by the parliamentary fronts of Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean has been to create the necessary laws for the fight against hunger to be taken as a long-term State policy that does not depend on a single government.

According to the lawmakers gathered in Paris -invited by the Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat/ OECD with the support of Spanish Cooperation-  a key to the success of the parliamentary fronts against hunger has been their plurality: Members of the entire political spectrum participate in a common project that transcends party differences.

The Director-General of FAO pointed out at the end of 2016 that much of the progress made in Latin America and the Caribbean - the region that has made the most progress in eradicating hunger - was due to the fact that parliamentarians across the continent made hunger eradication a top political priority.

"Political will remains the decisive factor in generating real progress in ending hunger and malnutrition," said Graziano da Silva.

A historical improvement in guaranteeing the right to food in LAC

Latin America and the Caribbean was the first region in the world to create parliamentary fronts against hunger: 17 countries have now formed national versions, which complement the work of the Regional Parliamentary Front against Hunger (PFH), which has become a global example.

The PFH was born from the Latin America and the Caribbean without Hunger Initiative, the first commitment adopted by all the countries of the region to not only reduce but fully eradicate hunger by the year 2025.

According to the FAO, under the auspices of the PFH, 21 laws on food security have been adopted, which together represent a historic improvement in the promotion and guarantee of the right to food in Latin America and the Caribbean.

This includes school feeding laws in Brazil (2009) and Bolivia (2015), family agriculture laws in Argentina (2015) and Peru (2015) and right to food and / or food security legislation in Mexico (2011), Nicaragua (2015 ), Honduras (2011) and the Dominican Republic (2016).

In addition to national laws, the PFH has supported the creation of framework laws (which serve as a model for countries to develop their own legislation) in areas such as school feeding, family farming, regulation of food advertising and the right to food.

The PFH is supported by a number of related organizations, such as FAO and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the Mexican Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AMEXCID), the Government of Brazil, the Latin American and Caribbean Parliament ( PARLATINO) and the Spanish Courts, in addition to multiple agencies and public institutions and civil society groups.

From Latin America and the Caribbean to the world

Inspired by the experience of the PFH in Latin America and the Caribbean, in 2016 a network of African legislators created the Pan-African Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.

It is the first such network in Africa and has focused on creating a legislative environment to boost local production of diversified and quality food, giving priority to regions most affected by food insecurity and chronic malnutrition, taking into account gender disparities.

The anti-hunger fronts in Africa and LAC are collaborating to encourage the creation of similar spaces in other regions of the world, sharing experiences, building capacities and sharing lessons learned.

 

"Interparliamentary relations allow better coordination and cooperation among countries to address food insecurity, while at the same time generating direct links with communities so that they can change their living conditions from resilience," said the Vice-President of the Pan-African Parliament ( PAP), Bernadette Lahai.

Parliamentarians against hunger from both regions presented their lessons learned and their work at a meeting of the OECD Food Crisis Prevention Network in Paris.

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