Mario Lubetkin, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, visited Belgium and Spain to strengthen the organization’s work with parliaments. He also met with European Union representatives to follow the EU-CELAC summit’s advances.
May 19, 2023, Santiago de Chile- A call to redouble efforts to improve food and nutrition security was made this week by the Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Mario Lubetkin, during a visit to Belgium and Spain.
The Regional Representative’s mission took place in the run-up to the X Forum of the Parliamentary Front against Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean and the Second Global Parliamentary Summit Against Hunger, events to be held between 14 and 16 June 2023 in Chile and organized by FAO and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) with the support of the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID) and the Parliamentary Front against Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean (FPH-LAC).
Lubetkin met in Madrid with Elena Diego, president of the development cooperation commission of the Spanish Senate and general coordinator of the Parliamentary Alliance for the Right to Food, as well as senators Alberto Fabra of the Popular Party (PP), Imanol Landa of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) and Montserrat Muro of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE). All agreed to reinforce the countries’ agendas to guarantee better access to healthy food for the entire population, reinforcing the legislative role.
FAO’s Deputy Director indicated that it is necessary to seek new measures and alternatives to help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 2 of ending hunger in the current global scenario. “Today, we face a difficult moment in social and economic terms. The multilateral response is essential to move forward in a coordinated manner and move all in the same direction. I highlight the parliamentary alliances contributing to transforming agrifood systems based on political will and commitments.”
FAO Regional Representative met with the president of the Senate of Spain, Ander Gil, who pledged to follow up on the commitments of the XXVIII Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government and to promote the creation of the Ibero-American Alliance for Food Security for All to be launched at the X Forum of the Parliamentary Front against Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean in Santiago, Chile. Gil also confirmed his participation in the World Summit in June.
“The Senate is very involved in food security, which is decisive. It will be a pleasure to lead the Upper House delegation and convey the firm commitment of Spanish senators, who have been working on this issue for a long time,” said Gil at the end of the meeting.
EU – CELAC Summit
Lubetkin also held a series of meetings in Belgium in close collaboration with FAO office in Brussels to discuss the advances of the upcoming EU-CELAC Summit in July.
The Regional Representative addressed FAO’s technical cooperation in updating the CELAC Plan for Food Security, Nutrition and Hunger Eradication (CELAC FNS plan) with other international cooperation agencies.
Lubetkin held meetings with Javier Niño Pérez, deputy director of management for the Americas at the European External Action Service (EEAS); with Rupert Shlegelmilch, director general of trade; with Carla Montesi, director general of international partnerships and director of Green Deal & Digital Agenda; and Roberto Berutti of the Cabinet of the Commissioner for Agriculture of the European Commission.
One of the main topics discussed was the cooperation between the European Union and FAO in implementing programs to improve food security and achieve more resilient and sustainable livelihoods in Latin America and the Caribbean.
FAO Assistant Director-General also held meetings with the Ambassadors of Latin America and the Caribbean in Brussels. They discussed the organization’s programs to improve the food security and nutrition situation and analysed the opportunities for strategic alliances with the European Union to respond to the challenges of growing hunger and poverty figures and the impact of climate change on the region’s production systems.
In Madrid, he also met with the Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Pilar Cancela, with whom he discussed FAO’s work with Spain in support of Latin America and the Caribbean and analyzed future joint actions in connection with the forthcoming Spanish presidency of the European Union.