9 May 2016, Johannesburg – The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have acknowledged the need to respect, protect and fulfill the fundamental human right to food and optimal nutrition in Africa. During extensive deliberations at the Second Ordinary Session of the Fourth Parliament, the Parliamentarians agreed to establish a Pan-African Parliamentary Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security.
Speaking at the Africa Parliament, Chimimba David Phiri, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa, expressed the Organization’s appreciation to the Pan-African Parliament for its commitment to advance the Food and Nutrition Security agenda in Africa.
“Notwithstanding the progress made in recent years, over 58 million children under the age of five are stunted, and all 54 African countries are confronted with overweight and obesity. These rising levels of overweight and obesity are linked to poor dietary habits and lifestyle, resulting in non-communicable diseases”, said David Phiri.
“There are also high levels of deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals reported. When all segments of our populations should be healthy and actively contributing to economic development, African governments are spending huge sums of money on health,” he added.
The Session emphasized the need for Governments, Parliamentarians, Private Sector, Civil Society and other stakeholders to work under a unified umbrella of harmonized legislative frameworks and instruments backed by political will and joint strategic actions.
As a follow-up to the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN-2) framework for action and the CAADP Nutrition Initiative under the Malabo Declaration, FAO is working with African countries to create nutrition-sensitive food systems anchored on their national agriculture and food security investment plans.
Fruitful discussion on way forward
Many of the more than 100 parliamentarians present for the deliberations spoke of the existing challenges and opportunities. They re-echoed Africa’s commitment to food and nutrition security, demonstrated through the endorsement and ratification of several international and continental agreements and frameworks of action on food and nutrition security.
Recognizing their role as custodians of political commitments, the Parliamentarians have agreed to work with FAO to ensure food and nutrition security for all in the Continent.
The President of the Pan-African Parliament, Hon.Roger Nkodo Dang in his closing remarks, emphasized the important role of food and nutrition security to Africa’s development and invited FAO to continue its engagement with the PAP in the subsequent Ordinary Session later in the year.
The PAP supported the creation of the Pan-African Parliamentary Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security and expressed its desire to work closely with FAO.
FAO reassured the Parliamentarians of the Organization’s technical support, including the capacity development of the parliamentarians and sharing the extensive experience gained in Latin America and the Caribbean, to advance the launching and efficient functioning of the African Alliance.
The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) is an African Union organ that ensures the full participation of African peoples in the development and economic integration of the continent.
- UN Seeks Alliance With PAP To Address Food Security
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- Video: Watch session proceedings
- Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN-2)
- The Pan-African Parliament
- CAADP Nutrition Initiative under the Malabo Declaration