La FAO en Amérique latine et aux Caraïbes

The FAO Regional Conference begins with the participation of all the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean

They will seek solutions to face the most complex agri-food scenario in recent decades.

Photo: ©FAO/Max Valencia

March 28, 2022, Quito/Ecuador – The Regional Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) began today in Quito, Ecuador, with the presence of representatives from all the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Conference will be a key instance for Latin America and the Caribbean to transform its agrifood systems to make them more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable.

This transformation is required to face the most complex scenario of recent decades: agriculture must adapt to the effects of climate change while the price of food and fertilizers are rapidly increasing due to the war in Ukraine. A quarter of the regional population lives in conditions of food insecurity, while the COVID-19 pandemic pushed 22 million people into poverty in just one year, forcing them to purchase food of poorer quality due to lower incomes.

“We are facing a perfect storm, which is why FAO believes that it is necessary to transform the agrifood system. This is essential to get out of the crisis”, explained FAO’s Regional Representative, Julio Berdegué.

Whether Latin America and the Caribbean emerges successfully from this difficult situation is important beyond its borders: its agriculture produces enough food –in terms of calories– to feed 1.3 billion people. In addition, the region is the largest net exporter of food in the world.

According to Berdegué, the FAO Regional Conference comes at the right time for countries to share innovations, reach agreements and take bold steps to strengthen their agrifood systems.

“What happens in this region affects the whole world. The steps we take during the Conference to improve production, nutrition, the environment and the lives of our inhabitants will affect the future of the world, and open a path for others to follow,” Berdegué explained.

A roadmap towards a new agrifood system

One of the central issues that the Member countries of FAO will debate during the Regional Conference is the Strategic Framework 2023-2031, which will guide the Organization's actions and must be adapted to the conditions and priorities of Latin America and the Caribbean.

It seeks to promote better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life, leaving no one behind. At the Conference, there will be special sessions dedicated to each of these four betters, during which the countries will share their innovations, visions and experiences.

The FAO Strategic Framework 2023-2031 also places strong emphasis on digitization, technology and innovation, as tools to move towards the four betters.

Priority topics

Ensuring healthy and nutritious food and better diets for all is one of the priority issues of the Conference, since, according to FAO, 267 million people in the region live in food insecurity.

The countries will also explore ways to create prosperous and inclusive rural societies. “Nearly half of all rural inhabitants in the region live in poverty, these areas have been left behind even though they house the natural resources and biodiversity that sustains the region’s enormous food production”, Berdegué explained.

Another key issue is the need to promote resilient and sustainable agriculture and livestock, adapted to climate change, and with lower greenhouse gas emissions and minimal environmental impact.

What is the Regional Conference?

The Regional Conference is the highest regional governing body of FAO. There, the Member countries meet every two years and establish the regional priorities of the Organization for the following biennium.

The 37th Regional Conference is taking place in Quito, Ecuador, and can be viewed online in its entirety at the following link.

It will be attended by the President of Ecuador, the host country, Guillermo Lasso, the Minister of Agriculture of Ecuador, Pedro Álava, Ministers of State of the 33 countries of the region, the Director General of the FAO, QU Dongyu, the Regional Representative of FAO, Julio Berdegué, international experts, members of the private sector, civil society, the United Nations system and the academic world.

PRESS REGISTRATION

Journalists who want to cover the event and participate in the press conference and in other instances of the meeting must register in advance here.

INTERVIEWS

To request an interview with FAO experts and authorities participating in the Conference, write to María Elena Álvarez , Pamela Rosero  or Benjamin Labatut .