UN agencies united to “eradicate malnutrition” in Haiti
In late December, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) announced an alliance “to join forces to support the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean in the fight to eradicate hunger and malnutrition”. According to their press release, “Initially, the work of the three agencies will place a strong emphasis on supporting Haiti, the country that suffers the highest regional rate of hunger and poverty, as well as multiple environmental challenges to move towards the SDGs.”
More broadly, the focus will be on Haiti, Guatemala (where 46 per cent of children under five years of age suffer from chronic malnutrition) and Colombia, and this alliance will respond to “the critical moment that Latin America and the Caribbean is going through”. The latest report published by the FAO and the Pan American Health Organization reveals that “hunger has increased in the region for the first time in the last two decades”.
Observers’ findings are that the situation developing in rural areas is alarming. “Poverty is 20 per cent higher than urban poverty and extreme poverty is 22 per cent higher than in urban areas,” they say, not to mention the effects of climate change that are ravaging these regions, especially in the form of hurricanes. For Julio Berdegué, Regional Representative of FAO, “we have to take these signs as an urgent wake-up call. We must do more and have greater impact. Now is the time to join all efforts and unite under one banner.”
WFP Regional Director Miguel Barreto remains optimistic, though. He believes that, “Latin America and the Caribbean can become the first region to achieve the Zero Hunger objective by 2030.” However, he says, “The challenge is enormous, but with the knowledge and resources available in our countries, we can do it.”
“The fulfillment of the objectives of the 2030 Agenda oblige us to be more effective and efficient than ever in our processes and interventions. In this effort, it is crucial that we continue working to achieve greater links, coordination and synergies in the strategies and programs of our three agencies in the region.”
Joaquín Lozano, Directeur de la Division Régionale de FIDA
By 2050, ensuring the nutrition of the planet with 9 billion inhabitants will require a 50 per cent increase in food production, says the World Bank (2016). In the face of the depletion of biodiversity, of the oceans and of the forests, more effective management of natural resources is more ‘indispensable’ than ever to “ensure food security for all and especially for the poorest,” it suggests.
The press release says that the agencies involved in this process will “issue a joint annual report to account for the concrete achievements of the alliance both to their own authorities and to the countries of the region, to promote efficiency, transparency and the achievement of concrete results that generate substantive improvements in the state of hunger and poverty.