38 Strengthening Capacities in Food Security and Nutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean – looking at the past to build the future.

Strengthening capacities of national governments in LAC to globally achieving SDG2

Organizers:  WFP, Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean; Guatemala as Executive Board President, List C coordinator; Mexico as Chair of the Latin American and the Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Abstract 

This side event is meant to provide a summary and motivate an exchange of ideas of a recent study entitled: “Strengthening capacities in food security and nutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean. Analysing the past, building the present, and looking to the future.” The purpose of this event is to provide an opportunity to reflect on experiences in strengthening capacities of national governments and how these efforts can contribute to globally achieving SDG 2. The expected outcome is to raise awareness on the added value of strengthening national government capacities in achieving positive and tangible impacts on food security. Also to encourage a debate with government partners on how to proceed in order to continue building a better and more robust agenda focusing on capacity strengthening

Key speakers

  • Stephanie Hochstetter (Ambassador of Guatemala and WFP Executive Board President);  
  • Perla Carvalho (Ambassador of Mexico and Chair of GRULAC);
  • Miguel Barreto, WFP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Jacqueline Flentge (Monitor & Evaluation Advisor, WFP);
  • Joaquin Lozano (IFAD Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean);
  • Mr Salomon Salcedo (FAO Senior Strategy and Planning Officer);

 

 

Main themes/issues discussed

The side session provided an opportunity to reflect on experiences in strengthening capacities of national governments. 

Panel members, from their different perspectives of engagement, illustrated how these efforts can contribute to globally achieving SDG 2. They expressed that although in Latin America and the Caribbean capacity  strengthening initiatives constitute increasingly important elements of the work of Rome Based Agencies (RBA) and other partners, documenting these efforts has not evolved at the same pace. As such, opportunities to inform efforts in other countries or regions have remained most often unexploited. 

Recognizing this shortcoming, the initiative of WFP’s Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean to put together an analytical compilation of capacity strengthening activities,  called “Strengthening capacities in Food Security and Nutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean – Analysing the past, building the present, looking to the future” was applauded and stood at the centre of attention during the side session. 

The audience was given a snapshot of the utility, the methodology and the contents of the compilation. In particular, lessons learned were shared with the audience to sparkle further debate. Partner agencies IFAD and FAO commented on those lessons, grounded on their own experiences.

Summary of key points

For the three Rome Based Agencies, there is need to empower and strengthen national capacities, and to focus on processes which have shown effectiveness; 

The new WFP Publication “Strengthening Capacities in Food Security and Nutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean, analysing the past, building the present, looking to the future” is an important and unique effort to systematize and analyse capacity strengthening activities over the past 5 years. 

The publication is a key example of proper knowledge management and facilitates the replication of experiences in other parts of the world. 

Among the lessons that the document identifies, the following were highlighted:

A key success factor for strengthening capacities in the region is high level advocacy and strong political commitment;

  1. Capacity strengthening activities should be duly packaged to allow for optimal understanding by stakeholders and as such feed-in to longer term strategies;
  2. Capacity strengthening activities should be versatile in strengthening capacities at national and local levels. 
  3. Capacity strengthening activities should be derived from strategizing at both national but also regional (multi-country) levels. Regional level resource mobilization of capacity strengthening seems to have better potential to succeed.
  4. Capacity strengthening activities should capitalize on decade long operational experience from the agencies themselves. Agencies therefore should invest time and effort in adapting the own organisational toolkits to make them applicable to be used by national governments; 
  5. Capacity strengthening activities should build, where possible, on good practices that already have been developed by governments. RBA’s including WFP are well positioned to increasingly identify and facilitate South- South and Triangular Collaboration opportunities in the area of Food Security and Nutrition;

Key outcomes/take away messages

Awareness was raised on the added value of strengthening national government capacities in achieving positive and tangible impacts on food security. To ensure maximum efficiencies in this area of work, knowledge management is of vital importance. 

The new WFP Publication “Strengthening Capacities in Food Security and Nutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean, analysing the past, building the present, looking to the future” is an important and unique source of information for governments and other humanitarian and development partners.