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CELAC endorses special declaration on food security at Quito summit

FAO Director General reaffirms support to countries in the region to continue joint work to face food security challenges

27 January 2016, Quito - Heads of State of Latin America and the Caribbean, today approved a special Declaration on Food Security at a high-level meeting attended by the Director General of FAO.
 
On the occasion of the Fourth Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the region’s leaders reaffirmed their commitment to prioritize the consolidation and implementation of the CELAC Plan for Food Security, Nutrition and Hunger Eradication and reiterated their request that FAO support the process.
 
FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva agreed with the adopted statement and assured the Organizations commitment to and full support for its implementation. “This new statement once again confirms that food security remains at the highest political level in the region,” he said.
 
Today’s declaration recognizes the direct contribution of family farming to food and nutrition security and sustainable development, which emphasizes the importance of the second pillar of the CELAC Plan encouraging conditional cash transfer programs, improved labor markets and strengthened support for family farming.
 
"In addition to seeking sustainable agricultural production, the CELAC plan covers the fight against both hunger as well as all forms of malnutrition. This is especially important since obesity is increasing alarmingly in the region, especially among children," said the FAO Director-General.
 
The CELAC plan, developed with FAO’s assistance and supported by the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), is focused on achieving the nutritional well-being of all groups, especially those in vulnerable situations, and outlines the main policies and successful experiences of countries to create a regional road map towards hunger eradication.
 
The region’s leaders also reiterated their request for FAO support in the design and implementation of a gender strategy to ensure the empowerment of rural women, made at the Second Meeting of the CELAC Working Group on the Advancement of Women in DATE.
 
They further reaffirmed their intention to participate in the XXXIV Regional Conference of the FAO taking place from February 29 to March 3 in Mexico City, in order to design strategies to address the themes identified in the Declaration adopted today.
 
Latin America and the Caribbean have an extraordinary role in the construction of sustainable development and a peaceful world, free from poverty and hunger.
 
"There will be no sustainable development and peace in the world as long as people continue to feel excluded, while people continue suffering from poverty and hunger," said Graziano da Silva.
 
An ongoing plan
 
The CELAC Food and Nutrition Security Plan 2025, approved during the CELAC summit in January 2015, is based on four pillars that address issues such as the coordination of strategies at national and regional levels, with a gender perspective; timely and sustainable access to safe and nutritious food; expansion of school feeding programs giving priority attention to all forms of malnutrition -from malnutrition to obesity- as well as effectively tackling problems posed by climate change.
 
The third report of the State of Progress of the Plan presented by FAO highlights the major issues on which the countries of the region have focused during 2015, listing the achievements already obtained and the main challenges for 2016.
 
These include the creation of the Regional Alliance for Reducing Food Waste and Losses and the establishment of national committees seeking to halve waste in the region by 2030.
 
Additionally, a network of public marketing and food supply systems in Latin America and the Caribbean was created with the aim of promoting more inclusive food systems by linking public procurement with family farming production.
 
School meals have also improved, regionally, with a number of events convened to exchange knowledge as well as a  seminar attended by 18 countries with the aim of sharing good practices and lessons learned.
Regarding obesity, opportunities for improving diets through strategies for training in nutrition education were presented at the 17th Congress of the Latin American Society of Nutrition.
 
Parliamentary Fronts against Hunger were consolidated and new fronts were created in some Caribbean countries. These were influential in terms of advancing laws or instruments to achieve the right to food and food and nutrition security in countries like Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Republic Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico and Panama.
 
And with the support of governments, FAO, ALADI and CEPAL conducted more than 18 seminars and thematic workshops and 27 processes of exchanges through South-South cooperation.

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