Good governance, inclusiveness, transparency, pluralism, cross-sectoral coordination and a strong political will are all crucial elements in the fight to eradicate hunger.
This was the key conclusion emanating from the Regional Dialogue on Hunger, Food Insecurity and Malnutrition in the Caribbean, emphasizing the role of parliamentarians, held earlier this month in Antigua and Barbuda.
The meeting was jointly organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), CARICOM Secretariat, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and the Hunger-Free Latin America and the Caribbean Initiative, with the support of the Parliamentary Front Against Hunger of Latin America and the Caribbean.
In his opening remarks, FAO Subregional Coordinator for the Caribbean, Dr. J.R.Deep Ford stressed the significance of the event.
“We will be discussing concepts such as the right to food as a universal human right, principles related to governance, policy issues related to food security and the strategic actions that might be taken to move us toward our goals,” he said. “It will be these strategic actions that we commit to, especially those related to how we organize, how we include others – individuals, communities, agencies and states – in other words, how we collaborate and govern in the broadest sense of the word, that will make the difference. The message is this – without good governance, we will not achieve the goals we have set for food security globally, regionally or nationally.”
Attendees were mainly parliamentarians and came from across the Caribbean and Latin America, representing Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Education and Commerce, opposition parties, civil society organizations, agro-processors and producer associations and cooperatives.
Over the course of two days and through several working groups and panels, they shared best practices, discussed the best institutional frameworks and sought solutions to shared national and regional challenges to good governance of food security programmes.
In its concluding signed statement summarizing the outcomes of the meeting , the attendees made several commitments going forward including enhancing governance mechanisms and legislation that will build consensus; developing strategic initiatives for institutional development using multi-sector approaches; recognizing that hunger eradication is the responsibility of all citizens, working together in an inclusive and participatory approach; empowering and building capacity among youth, women and vulnerable groups and; promoting research, information sharing and resource mobilization.
Countries also committed to the formulation and sustaining of regional and national parliamentary fronts for promoting food and nutrition security, and striving to reach international standards in the political approach to the issues. To achieve this, the important role of CARICOM, FAO and other relevant organizations was reaffirmed.