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Parliamentarians in Latin American and the Caribbean call for urgent action to tackle rising hunger

  |   Parliamentarians, SUN Country Network

For every person in the region who goes hungry, more than six are overweight. This has pushed 60 legislators from 23 countries to call on countries to act urgently to place the human right to food at the top of their public agendas, to tackle malnutrition in the region.

The announcement from legislators came during the VII Planning Meeting of the Parliamentary Front against Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean, held in the Spanish Cooperation Training Centre in Cartagena de Indias.

“Today, more Latin Americans and Caribbeans do not have access to healthy and nutritious food to live properly. As legislators we should overcome our differences and work together, with the support of the FAO, to achieve a common goal: the total erradication of hunger and malnutrition,” pronounced Jairo Flores, Coordinator General of the Parliamentary Front against Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Legislative progress to reach zero malnutrition

In South America, legislators from the parliamentary fronts against hunger have created high-impact laws: in Paraguay, for example, they recently approved a law to protect family agriculture, while in Uruguay they have approved legislation that encourages agroecology.

Meanwhile, in June, Colombia approved a law to reduce food loss and waste, thanks to the work of the Colombia Parliamentary Front against Hunger. The parliaments of Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Chile are also working on similar initiatives.

“One of the results that are worthy of note is the Labelling Law in Chile, a policy success that is being replicated in Guatemala, Paraguay, Argentina, Colombia, and Peru, among others,” said Jairo Flores.

In the Mesoamerican region, the fronts have worked on laws to make agriculture more sustainable. “As fronts we call on legislators to create the conditions necessary so our rural populations do not have to migrate,” said Teresa Cálix, Honduran representative and coordinator of the Fronts against Hunger in Mesoamerica.

In the Caribbean, the fronts of Haití, Saint Vicent and the Grenadines, the Dominican Republic, Granada and Belize are promoting school meals through laws which improve availability of and access to healthy and nutritious food for girls, boys and adolescents.

10 years of the Fronts

Currently more than 20 national congresses and legislative assemblies across the region are part of the Parliamentary Front against Hunger, a regional network that brings together legislators from different political groups who are interested in enacting laws and approving suitable budgets for food and nutritional security.

2019 marks 10 years since the creation of the parliamentary fronts. These legislative groups, originating from Latin America and the Caribbean, have implemented more than 30 laws aimed at contributing to transforming food systems.

The fronts are supported by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Spanish Cooperation Agency and the Mexican International Development Cooperation Agency (AMEXCID) through the Mesoamerica without Hunger programme.

The Front also brings together four regional parliaments: the Latin American and Caribbean Parliament (PARLATINO), the MERCOSUR Parliament (PARLASUR), the Andean Parliament (PARLANDINO) and the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN), bodies that have declared the fight against hunger and malnutrition a priority.

“We are fiercely committed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the regional parliaments. Together with the Front we are working on various instruments to combat the scourge of hunger across the continent,” added Pablo González, Secretary-General of PARLATINO.

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