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FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean

Regional Initiative 3 (RI3)

The eradication of hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean requires a paradigm shift: the Region shall adopt a fully sustainable agricultural model which protects natural resources, generates an equitable socio-economic development and allows adapting to climate change and coping with the increasingly frequent natural disasters.
Through the regional priority engaged in the Sustainable use of natural resources, climate change adaptation and risk management, this initiative will promote actions supporting transition towards sustainable development of agriculture, fisheries and forests from a socioeconomic and environmental perspective, strengthening food security and nutrition regarding the new Sustainable Development Goals.

RI3 - Sustainable use of natural resources, adaptation to climate change and disaster risk management

A fully sustainable agriculture to preserve natural resources

Latin America and the Caribbean must make a transition to a fully sustainable agriculture, fisheries and forest management if the region wants to eradicate hunger and preserve the natural resources that sustain their food security.

Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the richest regions worldwide in terms of natural resources. This continent has only 8% of the global population, 23% of potentially arable land, receives 29% of global rainfall and has seven of the twenty-five places with the highest concentrations of endemic species in the world.

However, the rapid exploitation of these resources threatens the core foundation of regional food security. This asset allowed the region to take a leap forward towards the eradication of hunger and poverty.

Sustainable agriculture proposed by FAO for this region preserves land, water and plant and animal genetic resources; does not degrade the environment and is technically appropriate, economically viable and socially inclusive and equitable. It guarantees food security and diversity and generates vital environmental goods and services.

Tackling climate change, natural disasters, pests and diseases

Climate change is no longer a threat but a fact and in order to eradicate hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean the Region needs to adapt to its effects and mitigate its consequences, one of which is the increasing frequency of disasters and extreme climate events.

Between 2003 and 2014 the cost of disasters caused by natural phenomena in Latin America and the Caribbean reached USD$34 billion, one fourth of losses totalled at a global level, affecting 67 million people.

In this Region, one third of the population lives in areas highly exposed to threats and - according to the global climate risk index - three of the five countries at greater risk are in Latin America and the Caribbean: Honduras, Haiti and Nicaragua.

The agricultural sector is one of the most vulnerable to disasters and in particular to climatic events. It is estimated that between 2003 and 2013, 13% of losses and damage caused by disasters in developing countries affected the agricultural sector.

Another important factor to be considered is the food chain crisis due to epidemics and transboundary animal and plant diseases, which can deplete food supply and regional food trade.

With proper risk reduction and agro-environmental policies required to address climate change, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean can strengthen food security, build resilient farming systems and improve millions of people's capacity to face these threats.

The Regional Initiative is working with countries to design agro-environmental policies, support the elaboration of a regional strategy for Risk Management in the framework of CELAC, and strengthen monitoring in agricultural pests and diseases.

Main results

  • Strengthened institutions to implement policies for sustainable use of natural resources, climate change adaptation and disaster risk management, focused on food security and nutrition.
  • Reduced degradation of natural resources for food production.
  • Strengthened food security and nutrition by reducing the impact of climate change and develop more resilient agricultural production systems.
  • Increased cooperation among countries to deal with the risks of disasters affecting their food security and nutrition.

Actions throughout the region

At a national level, the Initiative will work with emphasis on 15 priority countries: Granada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Belize, Bolivia, Colombia and Paraguay.

 

Primary actions under this initiative will be the strengthening of national plans for risk management, adaptation of family farmers to climate change and the strengthening of agroclimatic information systems and price monitoring systems. In addition, the initiative will enhance institutional capacities to promote resilience, supporting the recovery of degraded areas.

Caribbean

FAO will support the implementation of the FAO's Blue Growth Initiative, and the SAMOA Pathway related to the sustainable use of natural resources, climate-smart agriculture, and early warning management systems.

Central America

FAO will promote the strengthening of resilience in the Dry Corridor of Central America, promoting the exchange of experiences amongst countries in the region and abroad, establishing an early warning system for drought and improving the integrated and sustainable management of soil and water. It will also work on financial risk transfer mechanisms for family farmers, such as contingency insurance and mutual funds, among others.

South America

FAO will work with countries to promote the sustainable management of natural resources, disaster risk management in agriculture through South-South Cooperation mechanisms, and will strengthen rural extension systems for the adjustment of family farmers to climate change.

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