004 Developing a more enabling environment for gender equality and food security and nutrition

Lessons from an EU-FAO partnership programme in Guatemala

Organizers

  • FAO
  • European Union, DEVCO C1

Abstract

Empowering women and achieving gender equality is key in ensuring food and nutrition security (FNS), and poverty reduction. It is therefore essential that barriers to gender equality are overcome through the design and implementation of national development policies and programmes.

The session will focus on encouraging the international community to adopt a more integrated approach for mainstreaming gender equality into food security and nutrition policies and programmes by describing how the FIRST FAO-EU partnership programme in Guatemala is advancing and sustaining the gender equality and the food security and nutrition agendas.

To address the causes of food insecurity, the Government of Guatemala launched in 2016 the National Strategy for the Prevention of Chronic Malnutrition (ENPDC in Spanish) and the Family Agriculture for Smallholder Economy Strengthening Programme (PAFFEC in Spanish), which are key initiatives to reduce stunting and food insecurity in general. FIRST is supporting the integration of gender considerations into their implementation. Key stakeholders will present how the FIRST support builds on the recently approved Institutional Policy for Gender Equality which represents the Ministry's commitment to mainstream gender in all its work.

Key speakers/presenters

  • Mr Daniel Gustafson, Deputy Director-General for Programmes, FAO
  • Mr Willem Olthof, Deputy Head of Unit Rural Development, Food Security, Nutrition Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission
  • Mr Felipe Orellana, Vice Minister of Rural Economic Development, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Livestock, Guatemala
  • Mr Juan Carlos Carías, Secretary of the Food Security and Nutrition Secretariat (SESAN), Guatemala
  • Ms Karin Larissa Herrera, Representative of Academia and Social Research, INCOPAS, Guatemala
  • Mr José Valls, FIRST Policy Officer, Guatemala
  • Mr Ricardo Rapallo, Moderator, Food Security Officer, Regional Office for Latin America, FAO

Main themes/issues discussed

The discussion focused on the connection between gender, food security, and agriculture, and the importance of mainstreaming gender equality in the political agenda. The speakers addressed the main opportunities and obstacles for policy change when it comes to gender equality and food security and nutrition. The example of Guatemala was jointly presented by the government representatives, a civil society organization, the European Union and FAO addressing the following issues:

  • The main challenges faced by the Government in meeting the needs of rural women in Guatemala and what are the main instruments for addressing these
  • How civil society support the mainstreaming of gender equality in food and nutrition security policies and national strategies
  • How a partnership programme between the EU and FAO such as FIRST can facilitate institutional and policy changes that create a more enabling environment for food security and nutrition and gender equality in Guatemala
  • The EU priorities and instruments related to gender equality in the agriculture sector and women’s empowerment
  • The implications of gender sensitive food security and nutrition policies on the life of rural women in Guatemala


Summary of key points

  • The majority of women farmers, face multiple forms of discrimination that undermine their capacity as guarantors of food security for their homes.
  • The role of women is crucial for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Adoption of a more holistic focus to integrate gender equality within national policies and programmes needs strong political commitment and taking on the challenge from the highest level.
  • The contribution to agricultural production and development made by women in Guatemala is not visible and their political participation is limited. This needs to be improved. Involving the civil society in monitoring the policy implementation would be a step forward.
  • In 2016, the Government of Guatemala, to address the causes of food insecurity, launched the National Strategy for the Prevention of Chronic Malnutrition (ENPDC in Spanish) and the Family Agriculture for Smallholder Economy Strengthening Programme (PAFFEC in Spanish), both key initiatives to reduce stunting and food insecurity in general. The Government is committed to integrating gender considerations in the implementation of these initiatives.
  • The joint FAO-EU Food and Nutrition Security Impact, Resilience, Sustainability and Transformation (FIRST) Programme in Guatemala is supporting the integration of gender issues into implementation of policies on food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture.
  • Significant progress has been made, but the gender gap is still large and we need to continue to work for policies to have ever-greater impacts on the people’s lives.  The FIRST programme will also support implementation of the recently-adopted Policy for Gender Equality that represents the commitment of the Guatemalan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food to mainstream gender in all its work.

Key take away messages

  • “We need to achieve greater integration to provide more opportunities and rights,” said Juan Carlos Carías, secretary of the Secretariat of Food and Nutrition Security in Guatemala, a country where only 7.8% of landowners are women. “And to do this, institutions need a political mandate to promote equality,”
  • “Women, especially rural women, need to be fully involved in decision making,” argued Karin Larissa Herrera from INCOPAS, the consultation and social participation body that represents Guatemalan civil society on issues related to the eradication of hunger and other forms of malnutrition.
  • “Empowering women is one of the smartest investments that can be made,” said Willem Olthof, Deputy Head of Unit, Rural Development, Food Security and Nutrition in the European Commission’s DG DEVCO. He highlighted that “In order to strengthen the policy implementation, political and institutional barriers must be identified so we can apply the right instruments to break these barriers”.
  • By facilitating a partnership between the Government, the EU and FAO, the FIRST programme helped strengthening the enabling environment – including policy framework, governance mechanism  and institutional capacities – to help ensure that investments in agriculture in Guatemala contribute to improving gender equality and food security and nutrition  – explained by José Valls, FIRST Policy Officer based in Guatemala
CFS Side Event 04 - Gender equality in the implementation of national policies for food security and nutrition