Parliamentary alliances

Towards the II Global Parliamentary Summit

FAO convenes with parliamentarians to discuss on their action to promote improved nutrition and affordable healthy diets for all

28/09/2022 - 

FAO headquarters, with the support of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), has organized a virtual session with Parliamentarians to support the preparation of the forthcoming Global Parliamentary Summit and thereby promote the discussion on parliamentary action to promote improved nutrition and affordable healthy diets for all.

In the opening remarks, Ms Marcela Villarreal, Director of Partnership and UN Collaboration Division (PSU) stressed the importance of parliamentarians’ role in strengthening food security and nutrition in the societies they represent, using their prerogatives to enact legislation, oversee budgetary spending and ensure government accountability for the implementation of relevant policies and their coherence with internationally agreed standards. She also focused on the need to follow-up with the reaffirmed commitment to advance the right to adequate food, including access to healthy diets.

Despite the intensification of the major drivers behind recent food insecurity and malnutrition, trends (i.e. conflict, climate extremes and economic shocks) combined with the high cost of nutritious foods and growing inequalities parliamentarians have proven that legislative action is positively contributing to face those countless challenges

H.E. Gabriel Ferrero, Chair of Committee on World Food Security (CFS) informed on the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition and the key role of parliamentarians in promoting their application at country level while. The President of CFS also stressed that this multistakolder mechanism for involving different partners is ready to collaborate with parliamentarians and their networks to fight hunger and malnutrition.

Hon. Senator. Chief Fortune Charumbira, President of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) stressed the importance of the role of regional parliamentary networks as well as the need for more investments in agriculture even more during the current crisis.

Distinguished parliamentarians representing regional Parliamentary bodies have joined the first Panel of discussions including Hon. Silvia Giacoppo, President of PARLATINO and Senator of Argentina, Hon. Didier Molisho Sadi, Chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture of the PAP and Hon. Martin Hlaváček, Member of the European Parliament and member of the European Parliamentary Alliance against hunger and malnutrition.

Each shared powerful examples of how Parliaments are shaping policies and legislation to promote improved nutrition at regional level. President Giacoppo mentioned the “Framework Law on the regulation of advertising and promotions of food and non-alcoholic beverages for children and adolescents” of 2012 and the “Model Law on labelling of processed and ultra-processed food products” of 2017.

“The Model Law on Food and Nutrition Security in Africa is one of the tangible results of the technical cooperation between the Pan-African Parliament and the FAO” emphasized Hon. Molisho Sadi while Hon. Hlaváček underscored the importance of multilateralism and joint efforts at global level. "If we work together and develop a good common framework and system, we can be more efficient and provide better solutions", he affirmed. 

The meeting also featured insightful remarks by parliamentarians from national parliaments. Those served to frame the discussion and highlight key experiences such as the Guatemala School Feeding law presented by Hon. Jairo Flores, the projects of the Bahrein National Initiative for Agricultural Development (NIAD) mentioned by Hon. Dr. Jehad Al-Fadhel and the importance of community and setting based (integrated) approaches for food security and improved nutrition shared by Hon. Kraisid Tontisirin from Thailand. Hon. Neema Lugangira, Member of the Parliament of Tanzania highlighted the importance of the nutritional qualities of food distributed and consumed, beyond the dimension of accessibility, and the need to reconsider resource allocation in public programmes.

“At FAO, we strive to generate tools and mechanisms to facilitate the access to information and provide Parliamentarians with the best support possible” informed Mr Jean-Leonard Touadi, FAO Special coordinator for Parliamentary Networks and moderator of the event. In this framework, Ms Diana Carter presented e-learning materials and tools for parliamentarians on nutrition and Mr Sean Woolfrey, Senior Policy Advisor of IISD, informed of a Survey specially designed for this series of preparatory events towards the Second Global Parliamentary Summit.

“Transforming agrifood systems is essential to achieve food security, improve nutrition and put healthy diets within reach of all. When transformed with greater resilience to major drivers, food systems can provide affordable healthy diets that are sustainable and inclusive, and become a powerful driving force towards ending hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms” affirmed Ms Nancy Aburto, Deputy Director of the Food and Nutrition Division (ESN) in her closing remarks adding that “as we have heard from experiences today from around the globe, parliamentary action is key to securing the right to adequate food for all”.