30 March 2012, Buenos Aires - In response to a call by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, countries of Latin America and the Caribbean reaffirmed their commitment to the eradication of hunger during the 32nd Regional Conference that concluded today in Buenos Aires.
"This initiative belongs to the countries and should be embraced by all: governments, parliaments, civil society and the private and academic sectors, because fighting hunger can not just be the commitment of a single government. It must be a decision made by an entire society", said Graziano da Silva.
The 32nd FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean discussed the challenges of food and agriculture and defined priorities for FAO's regional work in the next two years: food security, climate change adaptation, smallholder agriculture and food safety.
On behalf of the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández, Vice President Amado Boudou presided the closing ceremony, which was attended by more than 300 participants, including 20 ministers.
Countries also evaluated the solutions and changes that FAO is implementing to address global challenges.
"The challenges the world faces today are increasingly interconnected. You cannot talk about food security without talking about climate change, or about development without talking about sustainability or social inclusion -- not to mention food prices. Nor can we think that we can respond to the challenges we are facing as individuals", said Graziano da Silva.
For the first time, civil society representatives participated in the debates promoted by the Regional Conference, which in the past only involved governments of FAO member countries. At the request of social movements present, the Regional Conference agreed to initiate a debate on food sovereignty, a concept already incorporated in the laws of various countries in the region such as Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
$20 million to South-South cooperation from Brazil
The Regional Conference supported strengthening FAO's presence in developing countries in order to improve the assistance provided to them in agriculture and food security. Countries and FAO pledged to carry forward their support for Haiti and emphasized the crucial importance of advancing the South-South Cooperation.
In this context, the Brazilian government increased its cooperation with FAO to achieve the goal of a Latin America and the Caribbean without Hunger and support the development of countries in other regions.
The new agreement includes an investment of $20 million in strategies for poverty reduction and sustainable rural development, school feeding initiatives, prevention and management of disasters and family farming.
During the Regional Conference, agreements were also signed between FAO and the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI) and FAO and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
Renewed commitment to eradicate hunger
Governments renewed their commitment to the Latin America and the Caribbean without Hunger 2025 Initiative (IALCSH), an effort that aims to ensure that no child, man or woman go hungry.
Since its launch in 2005 four countries in the region have recognized the Right to Food in their constitutions, while seven have passed food security or food sovereignty laws.
The initiative has the support of FAO and funding from Spain and Brazil. With FAO assistance, Parliamentary Fronts against Hunger have been created in ten countries around the region.