FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean

CELAC adopts gender approach to ensure the impact of its hunger eradication plan

Heads of State and Government of Latin America and the Caribbean approved the gender strategy of the main regional agreement to fight hunger.

A fundamental first step is to incorporate the gender approach into the legal frameworks, laws and policies regarding food security in the region.

January 26, 2017, Dominican Republic - The Heads of State and Government of the countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) approved the gender strategy of their Plan for Food Security, Nutrition and Hunger Eradication 2025.

The strategy was created by CELAC's Women's Advancement Group with the support of FAO,and seeks to ensure that the impacts of the main regional agreement on hunger eradication benefits both women and men.

"The strategy allows countries to deepen the eradication of hunger and malnutrition by adopting a gender and rights approach," said Maddelin Brizuela, coordinator of CELAC's Women's Advance Group.

The strategy was approved during the V Summit of Heads of State and Government of CELAC, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and proposes concrete actions to incorporate the gender perspective in the main areas of action of CELAC's FNS Plan.

Gender aprroach in food security strategies

According to the document approved today by CELAC, a fundamental first step is to incorporate the gender approach into the legal frameworks, laws and policies regarding food security and the right to food throughout the region.

In addition, differentiated policies should be promoted for women, especially in relation to access to land and recognition of women's work.

In order to measure and guarantee a better nutritional status for women in the region, a baseline should be developed on women's food security, with  qualitative and quantitative evidence.

Women and access to food

A broad vision of social protection, including strengthening livelihoods and reducing vulnerability, is key to improving access to food for women in the region.

For this, women must have access to productive inputs and assets, and their  rural organizations and cooperatives must be strenghtened.

Access to land, water, native seeds and financial services is also a key aspect for their development.

It should be ensured that pregnant and nursing women with children under two years of age have access to food and drinkable water. Conditional cash transfers - which cover millions of people in the region - should be provided to female heads of each household.

In addition, there is a need to incorporate unpaid and self-employed family farming workers into social security and wellfare systems, with a particular emphasis on female seasonal workers in agriculture.

Nutritional well-being

A worrying trend in the region is the increase in female obesity. According to the FAO / PAHO Panorama of Food Security, in 20 countries in the region, the prevalence of obesity among women is at least ten points higher than that of men.

This is explained by many factors: poverty (which affects women more strongly); lack of access to productive resources; low educational levels; lack of access to nutritional education; lack of time for physical exercise; excessive workload.

In order to improve the nutritional well-being of women in the region, the strategy proposes to ensure that school feeding programs benefit boys and girls equally and suggest using these programs to promote decent work for rural women.

A key aspect mentioned by the strategy is the need to encourage greater co-responsibility in the promotion of health, both at the family level (participation of parents and guardians) and the State. To move towards this, it is fundamental to articulate food security policies with those that seek an equitable distribution of domestic work.

Disaster prevention

According to the gender strategy of the CELAC FNS Plan, the incorporation of women into national disaster prevention plans must be ensured.

Women's organizations should be part of the emergency committees so that they are considered in their role as food producers when productive recovery programs are established after a catastrophe.

This measure should be linked to national risk management and disaster prevention plans, which recognize the role of women in environmental sustainability and clime change adaptation.