FAO and parliamentarians from eastern Africa, together with Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and East African Community (EAC), have called for robust legislative frameworks and increased funding to intensify the fight against hunger and malnutrition
Acknowledging the need for specific legal and policy measures to ensure zero hunger, lawmakers noted the criticality of concerted, decisive and urgent actions.
Speaking at a meeting organised by FAO to develop a framework to operationalise a sub-regional Parliamentary Alliance for food and nutrition security, David Phiri, sub-regional coordinator for Eastern Africa at FAO, noted with concern the increasing trend of global hunger.
“As we are having this meeting, the world is facing a food and nutrition crisis. Global hunger is on the rise with 821mn people going to bed hungry every night,” he said. Phiri emphasised that the critical role played by parliamentarians in advancing good food and nutrition.
He further appreciated their role in enacting laws, monitoring their enforcement, influencing national budget allocation holding governments accountable for policy implementation and commitments made among others.
The role of parliamentarians in the fight against hunger and malnutrition has been gaining traction globally as 160 parliamentarians from 80 countries gathered in Madrid in October 2018. They issued a clarion call for action to achieve zero hunger and ensure the right to adequate food for all.
Partnerships crucial for a sub-regional parliamentary platform
FAO has been building a strategic partnership with parliamentarians in Eastern Africa to support the establishment of a Parliamentary Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. Crucial its success will be strengthening partnership and coordination with both EAC and IGAD to achieve a holistic geopolitical balance to end hunger and malnutrition in the sub-region.
In the outcome document from the first Eastern Africa parliamentarian dialogue on food security and nutrition (Kigali 2017), parliamentarians from the six participating countries, committed to work within existing national and regional frameworks to promote food and nutrition security.
They agreed on major actions, among other to establish national and regional alliances. This assembly is a follow-up to the Kigali meeting and parliamentarians have drafted terms of reference of the proposed alliance and also extended the membership to all countries in eastern Africa.