Food systems. The Thirty-seventh FAO Regional Conference held in Quito, Ecuador, ended on April 1. It was attended by representatives of the countries of the region, the Parliamentary Fronts against Hunger (FPH in Spanish) and the private sector. During the session, the main results obtained by FAO in Latin America and the Caribbean during the 2020-21 biennium were presented and analyzed, and the priorities for 2023 were determined: to move towards more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems to achieve better nutrition. FAO will seek to advance these objectives, together with regional governments, over the next two years. The evaluation of concrete progress in these areas will continue in 2024 at the next Regional Conference to be held in Guyana.
The FPH representative said that he valued FAO’s technical assistance in promoting policies, legislation and regulations, but requested that governments strengthen their oversight of the regulations already enacted so that “the laws do not remain on paper and can be put into practice”. He also announced that in November 2022 a regional forum of parliamentary fronts will be held to promote a great Ibero-American and Caribbean Parliamentary Pact for Zero Hunger with Gender Equality. This Pact, in line with the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031, will strengthen the work of national and regional parliaments on food and nutrition security, ensuring permanent legislative work in relation to the generation of new laws or improvements to laws and budgets.
For their part, representatives of the private sector urged governments to reduce costs by reducing excessive regulation, inefficient requirements and procedures or high fiscal and parafiscal burdens. Another of the sector’s recommendations is to open up access to credit and reduce tax burdens or other measures to encourage technology, research, innovation and digitalization. It also encouraged the formation of public-private partnerships to accelerate investment in services and productive infrastructure. Finally, Members were invited to develop harmonized regulatory frameworks and standards for measuring environmental management, with mutual recognition among countries.
FAO presented the organization’s plans in the region for 2023. Thus, in the short term, it will support recovery initiatives to overcome the economic and social effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the food and agriculture sector. Then, with the objective of achieving changes in the medium term, it will promote assistance to countries to transform agrifood systems in accordance with national contexts, priorities and capacities. At the end of the forum, it was agreed that the next Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean will be held in Guyana in 2024. This conference will serve as a meeting point for member countries to identify and discuss FAO’s work priorities, as well as to monitor the effective implementation of the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031.