El Salvador – October 2012. FAO contributed to the capacity strengthening on the right to food of Parliamentarians in several countries. In that context, the team of the project Right to Food at Country Level, managed by the Right to Food Team of FAO, organized a mission to El Salvador in October 2012, in light of the strong will from various actors in the country as well as the support of the FAO Representation in El Salvador.
One of the main objectives of the mission, undertaken by the Senior Officer and Senior Consultant of the Right to Food Team, Mrs. Barbara Ekwall and Cecilia Luna Lopez respectively, was to contribute to the improvement of the knowledge on the right to adequate food and its practical application at the Agricultural Commission of the Legislative Assembly, which will lead the process of approbation in Parliament of the Law on Food and Nutrition Security; as well as the Parliamentarian Front Against Hunger, recently established.
Moreover, the mission touched on the importance of gender for the right to food with a Group of Women Parliamentarians institutionalized in the Legislative Assembly which has 23 deputies and 25 alternates. During this meeting, the role of women was highlighted : “women are important actors of change and the support of women parliamentarians is encouraging for the approbation of norms which fight for the rights of women related to this theme, so that a greater knowledge on the practical application of the right to food by the parliamentarians can help the adoption of means to bridge the gaps”, mentioned Mrs. Barbara Ekwall.
The different presentations touched on various themes, amongst which: the negative impacts of an inadequate nutrition in the first years of life and the human and social costs related; the importance of the right as a normative, political and monitoring tool; a human rights-based approach and its added value to the implementation of food and nutrition security; and the inclusion of the right to food as part of the role of parliamentarians.
These themes brought forth the worries of parliamentarians and require a greater prioritization in the parliament agenda.
Parliamentarians were in agreement with the importance of the theme, demonstrated their commitment and emphasized the necessity of coordinated efforts with other social actors for discussions related to this right.
At the end of the event with the Parliamentarian Front, the Parliamentarian Orestes Ortez, President of the Agricultural Committee of the Legislative Assembly, thanked FAO for informing all the actors and sharing its knowledge. He asked for the continuation of these efforts with members of the Legislative Assembly and underlined the involvement of FAO El Salvador which kept providing a sustainable support to members of Parliament in their efforts to include the right to food in their line of work.
Furthermore, the mission was important for the members of the Parliamentary Front and the Group of Women Parliamentarians in order to increase the understanding of the right to food and to open a more in-depth discussion in the Assembly to combat hunger.
The importance of contributing to the efforts of Parliamentary Groups and Fronts Against Hunger enables to assist to a more democratic dialogue, which promote inclusive participation, and which offers better elements for discussion on the right to food in the national legislative processes.
This mission was part of a longstanding collaboration between different initiatives promoted and supported by FAO at national and regional levels, and at head quarters. All these efforts are coordinated by the leadership of the FAO Representative in El Salvador.