Global Agriculture

FAO Regional Ministerial Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean: Director-General urges more action against hunger, measures to safeguard SIDS

22 March 2024, Guyana: Addressing several high-level events on the sidelines of the Ministerial Session of the 38th FAO Regional Ministerial Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), issued an urgent call to action to address global hunger. He emphasized the existing solutions and tools available, advocating for accelerated efforts, given the limited six-year remaining timeframe to fulfil the Sustainable Development Goals.

At a high-level special event on Foresight Drivers and Triggers relevant to the region, Qu emphasized the significance of FAO’s foresight exercises. These exercises anticipate and analyze future trends, risks, and opportunities, enabling the Organization to assist policymakers in adopting a long-term approach to agrifood issues. They also aid in identifying potential challenges, while promoting anticipated actions to enhance resilience and ensure the sustainability of agrifood systems.

“Crisis has become our normality. Our urgent need to transform global agrifood systems to be more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient, and more sustainable cannot be realized if we do not effectively anticipate risks, shocks and crises and prepare to address them efficiently,” he said.

“We must be proactive and not reactive,” he added, reiterating the sobering numbers of the latest State of Food Security and Nutrition report that showed that since the 2030 Agenda was established in 2015, 150 million more people have fallen into hunger.

At the event, attended by distinguished delegates, experts, and stakeholders, Qu underlined that FAO’s work on analyzing future trends, challenges, and scenarios has been intensifying in the last few years, with the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31 and the Medium-Term Plan, as well as key  programmes and initiatives benefiting from strategic foresight work.

“FAO is committed to further strengthening the strategic simulation exercise to support all Members to achieve the Four Betters: better production, a better environment, better nutrition, and a better life – leaving no one behind”, he underscored.

Protecting the Small Island Developing States

Earlier in the week, the FAO Director-General opened a Special Ministerial Meeting focused on transforming agrifood systems in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In his welcome remarks, he underscored the critical importance of addressing the unique challenges faced by these regions, which include geographical remoteness, susceptibility to natural disasters, and the adverse impacts of the climate crisis.

Qu highlighted the abundant natural resources present in SIDS, including oceans, rivers, lands, and biodiversity, emphasizing the untapped potential for prosperity within these regions. However, he also acknowledged the obstacles hindering their full transformation, such as limited access to resources, vulnerability to external shocks, and the compounding effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and global economic downturns.

“To strengthen support to Members in addressing these vulnerabilities and in unlocking opportunities and partnerships, I established the FAO Office of SIDS, Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) upon taking office in 2019, to address the needs of this important block of FAO Members,” he said.

He also highlighted the flagship Hand-in-Hand Initiative launched in 2019, which focuses on targeted, evidence-based interventions to combat food insecurity, malnutrition, inequality, and vulnerability to the climate crisis.

The Director-General noted the increasing engagement of Caribbean countries in FAO’s initiatives, citing the success of previous ministerial events and the establishment of the SIDS Solutions Platform.

“The SIDS Solutions Platform facilitates knowledge sharing within SIDS and between SIDS, LDCs, LLDCs and other countries to catalyze and inject innovations, increased investments, and building resilience in agrifood systems,” Qu highlighted.

The Director-General also emphasized the importance of South-South and Triangular Cooperation in accelerating agrifood transformation in the Caribbean SIDS. He highlighted FAO’s increased resource mobilization efforts in the region and reiterated FAO’s commitment to partnering with both traditional and non-traditional donors to drive the necessary transformation.

The high-level meeting included the participation of Ministers from Bahamas, Cuba, Grenada, Haiti, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago who discussed issues to be treated as part of the regional priorities to accelerate agrifood systems transformation in their nations, and shared experiences on successes and lessons learned.

Also Read: FMC Launches Arc™ Farm Intelligence Platform in India

(For Latest Agriculture News & Updates, follow Krishak Jagat on Google News)