Policy Support and Governance Gateway

Parliamentary Networks

While a large part of the world still faces significant challenges in accessing food, we face even greater challenges in terms of accessing healthy diets. Parliamentarians have a critical role to play in ensuring that food security and nutrition remain high on political and legislative agendas.

Parliamentary networks to end hunger and malnutrition.

Collaboration between parliamentarians can strengthen political will and increase impact in meeting these challenges. FAO supports parliamentarians in developing specific national and regional framework laws, accessing technical information and statistics, and exchanging good practices, legal frameworks, public policies and experiences.

Following up on the outcomes of the first Global Parliamentary Summit (Madrid 2018) and its call for action, in 2021 FAO organized a series of Virtual parliamentary dialogues on food security and nutrition in the time of Covid-19, in collaboration with the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).

Key policy messages

  • Everyone has a right to adequate, safe, sufficient and nutritious food and to freedom from hunger. Evidence shows that where a strong political will translates into public policies and programmes anchored in legislation, the indicators on food security and nutrition improve significantly.
  • The 2030 Agenda recognizes the essential role of national parliaments through legislation and adoption of budgets and their role in ensuring accountability for the effective implementation of commitments. Through their legislative, budgetary and oversight responsibilities, parliaments are uniquely positioned to strengthen initiatives to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on food systems, and to ensure food security and nutrition, based on inclusive, integrated and multisectoral approaches to legislation and policy-making. The sheer number and diversity of parliamentarians and parliamentary networks taking part in the recent series of virtual dialogues is a reminder of the fundamental role played by parliaments during one the most challenging periods of our era and members of parliaments also reaffirmed their commitment to keep up these efforts in the post-COVID/recovery phase. At this year’s virtual parliamentary dialogue, parliamentarians expressed their shared political will to promote, nurture and to build back better food systems in the aftermath of the crisis.

    Find more information here: Virtual parliamentary dialogues: food security and nutrition in the time of COVID-19. March-September 2021
  • Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, parliamentarians around the world have taken action to mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic on food systems. For example, some countries worked on legislations in support of school meals, that allow children to consistently access nutritious food despite the unfolding of the pandemic; and on laws to ensure access to basic food items during the health emergency, among others.
  • Eradicating hunger is not an issue involving solely the agricultural sector, but a complex endeavour involving multiple sectors and domains. Forms of collaboration that are transversal to political affiliations can help build trust between parties at national level to speed up progress towards the achievement of common goals. It also contributes to keeping relevant topics in the policy agenda setting during institutional transitions. In Chile, for example, parliamentarians worked in close collaboration with the scientific community to introduce a law on food labelling in response to rising rates of overweight and obesity among the population.
  • Examples of ongoing collaborations with parliamentarians include the Parliamentary Front Against Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean, the FAO-Parliamentarian Friendship League in Japan (see picture), the FAO-Legislative Advisory Group in Philippines, the European Parliament’s Alliance “Fight against Hunger”, the Pan-African Parliament’s Parliamentary Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, the ECOWAS Network of Parliamentarians on Gender Equality and Investments in Agriculture and Food Security Parliamentary Network and the Parliamentary Network on Food Security in Africa and the Arab world, among others.
  • FAO recently adopted a new Strategic Framework that aims to drive the Organization’s efforts to transform agri-food systems and address hunger, poverty and inequality over the next decade. It also encourages stronger engagement with parliamentary networks and regional/local networks as one of the key stakeholders for agri-food systems transformation through a positive impact on national legislative agendas.  

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