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Work of parliamentarians in Africa is gaining momentum

News - 18.09.2019

Rome, 18 September 2019- The contribution of parliamentarians in Africa towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 2 has advanced in the last months. The launch of the Parliamentary Alliance on Food Security and Nutrition of Sierra Leone and a workshop to strengthen the capacities of members of the Alliance that took place last 19th June in Freetown set good examples of the impetus provided. Moreover, a Parliamentary Forum of Central African countries will be held in Congo in October.

Further steps that parliamentarians in Africa envisage include formalization of the subregional Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) parliamentarian networks, as well as to connect them with similar initiatives at global level.  

 “Against this backdrop, thanks to the dedication of parliamentarians, environment for legislative changes in favour of the right to food is enabled », expressed Juan Carlos García y Cebolla, Right to Food Team Leader of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). He said that political will and building consensus helps laws to be developed and approved, as well as propagating greater human rights knowledge.

Growing movement of parliamentarians 

In October 2016, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) launched its Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (PAP- FSN), which countries such as Benin, the Congo, Madagascar and Uganda have joined.

Over the last years, national alliances have been established, while regular exchanges have taken place between African, European and Latin American and Caribbean parliamentarians with the common aim of ending Zero Hunger. At present, there are four regional and seven national alliances, and this number is expected to rise as the battle against hunger and malnutrition intensifies.

“FAO will continue offering them support on the development of legislation and public policies, while providing capacity building and technical information”, pointed out Rodrigo Castañeda, Deputy Director of the Partnerships Division at the Organization.  He also added that “the establishment of these alliances and networks is an important step towards fighting hunger and food insecurity. Parliamentarians have the power to commit concrete actions in order to achieve Zero Hunger in the continent”.

Legislators have already shown concern on how states can apply concrete measures from the Voluntary Guidelines on the Right to Food and how the realization of the human right to adequate food is linked to other human rights such as water and decent employment. In addition, concrete adjustments to the local legislation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 2 through constitutions or frameworks and sectoral laws are part of the regular discussion.

Significant steps in the Arab World on the road to eliminating hunger

Legislators in the Arab countries have also expressed their will in ensuring that everybody has access to sufficient and quality food as a basic human right. The launch of the Parliamentary Network for Food Security in Africa and the Arab World last 17th January has also enhanced perspectives for the promotion of the right to food in the region. As part of the forthcoming activities, an International Seminar on Parliaments and Food Security Challenges with members of the Association of Senate, Shoora and equivalent councils in Africa and Arab World (ASSECCA) will be organized next October in Morocco.

52 million people in the region are suffering from chronic undernourishment, according to the Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition in the Near East and North Africa 2018. Indeed, Hunger continues to rise as conflicts and protracted crises have spread and worsened since 2011, hampering the region’s efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including Zero Hunger.

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