FAO calls for strengthening partnerships between LAC region and EU to fight hunger and malnutrition

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean and the FAO Liaison Office in Brussels co-organized an event titled “Nourishing the Future: Strong Partnerships for Food Security and Better Nutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean”.

The objective of the high-level event was to discuss challenges and opportunities in the framework of EU-LAC partnership for food security and nutrition, given the new pressing global challenges, and the updated CELAC Food Security and Nutrition Plan 2030.

FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mario Lubetkin, and the Director of the FAO Liaison Office in Brussels, Raschad Al-Khafaji welcomed   representatives from the European Union, Latin American and Caribbean Embassies based in Brussels, academia and civil society.

The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labor of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and President pro tempore of CELAC, Saboto Caesar, delivered a keynote address in which he highlighted the need to work closer with the EU institutions in a partnership that attracts more investments, boosts trade and uses modern technologies to unlock the full potential of the Latin American and Caribbean region.

In his speech, Lubetkin stressed the importance of dialogue between the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to strengthen multilateral cooperation. He also highlighted the urgency of addressing the international commitments of the 2030 Agenda and the complex challenges to guarantee food security.

In this regard, Lubetkin underscored the role of the European Union (EU) as a key partner in FAO’s work in Latin America and the Caribbean. “Under different cooperation agreements and programs with the EU, we are developing very relevant initiatives to transform agrifood systems. The new CELAC Food Security and Nutrition Plan 2030, approved in January by the ministers of Agriculture, is an excellent opportunity to reinforce and open new ways of cooperation between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean”, said Lubetkin.

Raschad Al-Khafaji, Director of the FAO Liaison Office in Brussels welcomed the participants and stressed particularly the role of FAO as a strategic and dedicated partner in contributing to global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 2 – Zero hunger. “This high-level meeting is dedicated on the transformative journey of agrifood systems in the Latin America and the Caribbean region aligned with the renewed international commitment to the 2030 Agenda, the outcomes of the SDG Summit in New York last September”, he said.

Among the panelists were  Pedro Miguel da Costa e Silva, Ambassador of Brazil to the EU, Junior Lodge, Assistant Secretary-General of the Organisation for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), Ignacio Ybáñez, Special Envoy on Small Island Developing States at the European External Action Service and former Ambassador of the European Union in Brazil; and Josep Puxeu Rocamora, Vice-Chair Latin America follow-up Committee from the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).

In his concluding remarks Mario Lubetkin expressed his eagerness to continue this dynamic dialogue for the transformation of our agrifood systems that started here in Brussels.

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