African parliamentarians taking action to tackle food insecurity and hunger challenges
As the African continent races against time to attain food and nutrition security, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the African Union have called on legislators on the continent to work to achieve sustainable transformation of the agricultural sector and become advocates for zero hunger in their various constituencies.
This call was made during a one-day Parliamentarian policy dialogue on agricultural transformation and accountability organized by FAO and other key partners under the theme: “The Malabo Policy Learning Event; “Raising Awareness, Cultivating Accountability, Taking Action”. The dialogue was organized within the framework of the 15th Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Partnership Platform (CAADP PP).
The dialogue brought together 17 parliamentarians across the subregions of Africa and stressed the role of parliamentary agriculture to better plan, implement, and evaluate national agriculture policies. This would support to fast-track the effective transformation towards achieving the targets on zero hunger and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Furthermore, 120 participants from Regional and national institutions, private sector, civil society organizations, and development partners also attended the policy dialogue.
Urging for more involvement of parliamentarians for reaching Zero Hunger
Using Malabo Biennial reports, the dialogue emphasized the need for parliamentarians to get involved by creating awareness and to advocate for actions to increase the effectiveness in monitoring government performances and progress towards meeting food and nutrition security on the continent. Most importantly, the dialogue highlighted to reinforce accountability and use resources to promote the zero hunger agenda.
Gabriel Rugalema, the FAO Regional Representative to Kenya, called on parliamentarians to raise more awareness and commit to the Malabo Declaration which seeks to eradicate hunger on the continent.
Rugalema emphasized that, eradicating hunger must be a multisectoral effort where parliamentarians will have unique influence on their people and ensure various sectors of the economy are resourced through effective legislation to deliver agricultural transformation aimed at attaining sustainable food security.
“Issues related to food security touches the daily lives of millions of people on the African continent. As Parliamentarians, you have a unique role as duty bearers to ensure that your constituents are committed to the Malabo declaration and the fight against food insecurity” he added.
Hamady Diop, the Head of Natural Resources Governance, Food Security, and Nutrition programme at African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD), expressed the optimism that the dialogue will help foster a renewed mechanism in the accountability framework of the agricultural sector and also propel member States in the African Union to allocate more financial resources to the food and agriculture sector.
“We see parliamentarians playing different roles in their countries. Being closer to their constituents, they can be the key people in the processes of transforming agenda and creating legislative environment for policies to thrive at the grass-root level. Moreover they can advocate for sufficient allocation of resources for food security and nutrition and as well as demand for accountability” he further explained.
The Principal Secretary, State Department for Irrigation in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation in Kenya, Professor Fred Seko, emphasized the need for all stakeholders in the agricultural sector to commit to the principles and values of the Malabo declaration and called on the parliamentarians to enhance agricultural policies and the accountability needed to achieve food and nutrition security in Africa.
*The FAO is member of the UN Network for the SUN Movement. The UNN for SUN brings together all the UN agencies working in nutrition to support SUN Countries with breaking the cycle of malnutrition across generations, leaving no one behind.
• Taking action to tackle Africa’s food insecurity and hunger challenges – FAO Regional Office for Africa