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Latin America calls on FAO to address malnutrition and climate change

  |   SUN Country Network, SUN UN Network

The 33 member countries of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Latin America and the Caribbean called on FAO to make greater efforts to address malnutrition and climate change. For the first time, every one of these countries attended the conference that FAO holds in the region every two years, this time in the Jamaican city of Montego Bay, represented by 45 ministers and vice-ministers and one vice-president.

In statements to the media, Jamaican Minister of Industry Karl Samuda expressed a joint commitment to promoting sustainable agriculture with the goal of eradicating hunger and other forms of malnutrition. “We need greater unity and support in the region. It will only be by working together and cooperating that we will overcome difficulties,” said Mr Samuda, who cited climate change as one of the greatest threats in the region, especially for the small islands of the Caribbean.

He stressed the importance of adopting better agricultural practices, attracting investment and accessing finance, such as that offered by the various international mechanisms to adapt to and mitigate the impact of climate change, The countries also called for more attention to be paid to the increasing problem of obesity, the relationship between rural development and migration, and the conservation of biodiversity.

The director-general of the FAO, José Graziano da Silva, thanked all the countries and the representatives of civil society and the private sector invited to the event for their participation, this being the first time that the latter had attended a meeting of this kind. “Latin America and the Caribbean have always stood out for their leadership in the fight against hunger,” said Dr da Silva, who said that he saw the signs of a “new energy” to resume the fight against hunger.

After decades of progress, hunger increased in the region to 42.5 million people in 2016, 2.4 million more than in the previous year, while the worldwide total increased to 815 million. “Preliminary data suggest that in 2017 there will be another rise in the numbers of the hungry due to such issues as intense conflicts, the impact of climate change and the global economic downturn,” he said. Even so, he added, these factors are not manifesting with the same intensity in 2018 and that is why this year may go back to being a ‘normal’ year, said Dr da Silva.

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