The fifteen Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) approved in October 2010 a Regional Food and Nutrition Security Policy. This policy was formulated through a consultative process and with technical support from FAO. The policy contains several provisions related to the right to food. Poverty, social exclusion and lack of participation in political decision-making are identified as main causes of food insecurity. The policy aspires to give high priority to the most vulnerable population groups and to address the structural causes of hunger in the region. The policy aims to promote empowered participation of marginalized groups in the design, implementation and monitoring of national programmes. Redress mechanisms are also to be established and strengthened under the policy.
The FAO Right to Food Team was invited in 2011 to provide support to the formulation of the CARICOM Regional Action Plan to implement the Regional Food and Nutrition Security Policy. This Action Plan was approved in October 2011. The overall goal of the Action Plan is to achieve long-term food and nutrition security for all inhabitants of the region so that they effectively enjoy their right to food at all times. The major aim is to improve access to sufficient, nutritious, safe and culturally acceptable foods for the most food-insecure households and individuals, specifically small producers, indigenous peoples, women and young children. Guiding principles for all food and nutrition security actions to be implemented include: equity in resource allocation to address structural causes of food insecurity and malnutrition, improved participation in decision-making processes, empowerment of marginalized population groups and application of good governance practices. A Regional Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security Council is to be established with a mandate to: (a) provide general policy guidance for the implementation of the Action Plan, (b) advise national food and nutrition security councils, (c) review progress and provide advice on needed adjustments in the implementation of the Action Plan, and (d) review reports prior to submission to Heads of Government and other regional bodies.
The Right to Food Team’s work during the formulation stage of the Action Plan consisted in the first place in capacity strengthening of the formulation working group, focusing on creating an understanding among its members of right to food principles and of good governance practices. The Team also fully participated in drafting portions of the Action Plan, reviewing drafts, gathering relevant data and other information and in stakeholder consultations.
The Action Plan invites CARICOM Member States to formulate and implement national food and nutrition security policies and action plans within the general framework of the Regional Policy. The Right to Food Team and other FAO colleagues have been invited to support several countries in the CARICOM Region in their ongoing efforts to formulate a policy and action plan, specifically Barbados and Grenada. At the same time, the Team has also been asked to review draft policies of some other CARICOM Member States.