FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean

The private sector, civil society and the scientific and academic worlds made contributions to the upcoming FAO Regional Conference

1,200 non-governmental actors analyzed the main documents of the FAO Regional Conference, which will take place from March 28 to April 1 in Quito, Ecuador.

March 18, 2021, Santiago de Chile – Members of the private sector, civil society and the scientific and academic worlds analyzed the main documents that will inform the debates of the next Regional Conference of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO.

Nearly 1,200 people participated in three consultations and contributed their visions to move towards better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life, leaving no one behind.

The FAO Regional Conference is held every two years: there, the countries establish the regional priorities for FAO, and seek joint responses to the main challenges of food and agriculture.

The next Regional Conference will take place in Quito, Ecuador, from March 28 to April 1.

“Without the work and commitment of the private sector, civil society and the academic and scientific worlds, it will definitely not be possible to advance towards more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems; all three are essential”, said FAO’s Regional Representative, Julio Berdegué, after participating in the three consultations.

The consultations with the non-governmental actors allowed to identify a series of priorities in the key areas that the governments will discuss during the Conference.

Sustainable agrifood systems

One of the central themes of the Regional Conference is the need to create sustainable agri-food systems in order to provide healthy diets for all.

In this regard, members of the private sector highlighted the importance of combating food waste and supporting people with low-income to improve their diets.

The consultation with the academic and scientific sectors emphasized the importance of food education, while the civil society drew attention to the need to cultivate diverse and heterogeneous food systems.

Prosperous rural societies

A second central theme of the Regional Conference is the impetus that Latin America and the Caribbean should give for more prosperous and inclusive rural societies.

In this regard, members of the academic and scientific world highlighted the key role played by family farming, which must have more investment and innovation, but whose traditional knowledge must also be revalued.

The consultation with the private sector highlighted the importance of closing gaps, linking small producers in value chains. They emphasized that small-scale producers require more financing to increase their productivity and access to technology and digitization.

Civil society, in turn, indicated that the food systems of indigenous communities should be supported, and that public policies are needed to strengthen rural development, improve access to credit, and expand opportunities for women and youth in rural territories.

Sustainable and resilient agriculture

A third priority area of ​​the FAO Regional Conference will be sustainable and resilient agriculture.

In this regard, members of civil society highlighted the importance of agroecology to halt the loss of biodiversity, and the need to establish standards on organic food in the region and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.

The private sector consultation emphasized the need to strengthen and recover ecosystems and to move towards responsible fishing; its members stressed that a regenerative, systemic and transversal approach must be used in food systems.

The academic and scientific sectors highlighted the importance of reducing the use of fertilizers, pesticides and agrochemicals, to promote the healthy soils and clean water. They pointed out that the degradation of ecosystems must be avoided, and the territories that have been affected by agriculture must be restored.

A critical moment

The FAO Regional Conference takes place at a critical moment for food security in Latin America and the Caribbean: hunger has grown to its highest point in 22 years, obesity affects 106 million people, and in 2020 four out of every ten inhabitants of the region suffered from food insecurity.

"If there is no transformation of agri-food systems, there will be no sustainable development," said Julio Berdegué. "That is why we are very grateful for having been able to enrich the approaches of the FAO Regional Conference with knowledge from the world of science, innovation and academia, the territorial wisdom of civil society and the strength of the private world”.