Food Security. At the end of July, the Fifteenth Session of the Euro-Latin American Assembly (bi-regional parliamentary association between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean) was held, in which the Food Security Working Group (WG) highlighted the need to strengthen ties between the parties to address the challenges of food security in both regions. On the other hand, the United Nations Food Systems Summit+2 was held in Rome, with the aim of enabling countries to review progress on the action commitments made during the first Food Systems Summit in 2021, determine the successes achieved, the challenges encountered and establish priorities to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030. Among the Latin American countries with outstanding participation in the summit are Peru, Chile, Uruguay and Guatemala.
During the meeting of the Working Group on Food Security (WG), the key role of parliamentarians in generating and promoting policies and strategies to address hunger and malnutrition was recognized, highlighting the role of family farming in food security and sovereignty. The importance of sharing successful experiences among countries and regions to improve food production and distribution was also emphasized. The Eurolat WG concluded the meeting by reaffirming its commitment to the fight against hunger and malnutrition in both regions and agreeing to continue working together to cooperate effectively and sustainably to ensure food security.
In the case of the UN Food Systems Summit+2, discussions were held on defining the essential elements of a healthy diet. In this regard, the participating delegates mentioned that a diet made up of locally produced and sustainable food is the “basis for improved nutrition”. In contrast, they called for a reduction in the supply of ultra-processed foods high in sugar, fat and salt. Emphasis was also placed on the existence of “aggressive” advertising to position these products in the market, which they consider to be among the main causes of non-communicable diseases. Thus, a call was made to reform their advertising, with the aim of encouraging consumers to choose foods considered healthier.
The Summit also discussed alternatives for achieving the goal of reducing food waste by 50% at the regional level by 2030. Among the recommendations agreed upon to achieve the goal were to form agreements with the private sector to make food production more efficient, compost food that cannot be consumed, and improve the packaging of food products.
Following the Eurolat WG meeting, the delegates reaffirmed their commitment to the fight against hunger and malnutrition in both regions. They agreed to continue cooperating together and to review progress in the implementation of the meeting’s recommendations for the next plenary session of the EuroLat Assembly, which will take place after the 2024 European Parliament Elections. On the other hand, at the closing of the Food Systems+2 Summit, the countries committed to take actions to reduce food waste and address the transformation of food systems with a perspective that takes into account all actors involved in the food production process. The next summit will be held in 2025, with the objective of reviewing progress in improving food systems around the world.
Engagement Opportunities for McDonald’s
McDonald’s, at the eventual UN Food Systems Summits, could present its initiatives to offer healthier food choices on its menu, such as salads, fruits, low-calorie options, and reduced salt and sugar in food. This would be aligned with the summit’s efforts to address malnutrition and promote a balanced diet. In terms of collaboration and partnerships with other stakeholders, McDonald’s could highlight its willingness to collaborate with other companies, governments, non-governmental organizations and stakeholders to address global food challenges.
In terms of opportunities that could arise from the Eurolat Assembly WG discussions in Latin America, these include eventual regulations at the executive and legislative level to implement food safety mechanisms. In the event that this were to happen, McDonald’s could influence the development of initiatives in Latin American parliaments with its participation upon invitation in committee meetings and public hearings. In the regulation issued from the Executive Branch, McDonald’s could influence with its participation in public consultations that are opened before the regulations in that area are published.