FAO Liaison Office in Brussels

Global parliamentarians discuss food security and nutrition


A series of virtual parliamentary dialogues aimed at supporting legislators in addressing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic culminated in a global exchange on food security and nutrition. The event, a Virtual Parliamentary Global Dialogue on Food Security and Nutrition in the time of COVID-19, was jointly organized by FAO and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), which have been collaborating since the Global Parliamentary Summit was held in Madrid in 2018.

FAO Director-General QU Dongyu, who opened the dialogue, spoke of the crucial role played by legislators around the world in tackling hunger and malnutrition and in addressing the main drivers of food insecurity. He applauded the adoption of related laws around the world, including legislation on family farming, responsible investment, food loss and waste, women’s empowerment and school feeding programmes. “We need coordinated efforts, a multidimensional approach and persistence in order to have a political environment which truly enables food security and nutrition,” he said.

FAO Deputy Director-General Beth Bechdol emphasized the critical role of parliamentarians in achieving a world without hunger and malnutrition. She commended the contribution of the virtual parliamentary dialogues in highlighting the many concrete results achieved through legislative initiatives aimed at reducing the negative impacts of COVID-19 on food security and nutrition in each region.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, the Parliamentary Front against Hunger quickly mobilized to pass emergency legislation designed to ensure access to food and enable food chains to function under COVID-19 restrictions. The parliamentary movement took urgent measures to support and strengthen food chains, providing assistance in the form of agricultural inputs distributed to women, youth and small-scale farmers.

‘In the Asia-Pacific region, parliamentarians reported on measures taken to support the most vulnerable and the unemployed, briefing the audience on national responses and recovery initiatives.

Members of the European Parliament Paolo De Castro and Marlene Mortler, both of whom belong to the European Parliamentary Alliance against Hunger and Malnutrition, highlighted the importance of the European Union in ensuring more sustainable agricultural and food systems, which will need to be reflected in the EU’s production standards, based on respect for human and labour rights, fair competition and environmental protection.

Economic and social challenges, land productivity, new technologies, training, deforestation and water scarcity were at the centre of the dialogues, with a consensus that parliamentary action is pivotal to the development of strong legal frameworks, coupled with budget allocations that can pave the way for a faster recovery from the pandemic’s impacts.