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St Vincent and the Grenadines welcomes establishment of Parliamentary Front in Haiti to fight hunger
Published on July 15, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

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KINGSTOWN, St Vincent -- St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) minister of agriculture, Saboto Caesar, has welcomed the July 4, 2017, establishment of a Parliamentary Front in Haiti, where leaders of all political affiliations have agreed to consolidate their efforts to support a single national fight against hunger.

In total, 74 parliamentarians from diverse political parties voted for the resolution, automatically becoming members.

Caesar is sub-coordinator for the Caribbean on the executive committee of Parliamentary Front against hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean. He said it is the first time in the history of the fight against hunger in Haiti that an expressed single non-partisan approach has been adopted.

Caesar said, "I believe this concentrated channeling of positive energy will be the game changer in Haiti's long fight to ensure food security for all its citizens."

In the aftermath of the 2016 passage of Hurricane Matthew, Caesar led an Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) delegation to hurricane ravaged Haiti. The delegation included Sunita Daniel, agriculture consultant for the FAO to the OECS Commission. During that mission, the concept of the Parliamentary Front was suggested by Caesar.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has worked with countries around the world to establish parliamentary fronts against hunger. The aim being for both government and opposition, through a bipartisan parliamentary motion, through a joint political will to express a commitment to reduce hunger to zero.

Caesar commended the remarkable efforts of FAO's Zero Hunger Ambassador Guadalupe Valdes, a former member of the National Assembly in the Dominican Republic, for concluding the negotiations between the different political parties in Haiti. SVG honorary consul to Haiti, Maurice Hogarth, provided valuable support by facilitating SVG's assistance with the Haiti's efforts to establish the Front.

The commitment of the Haitian legislators is to provide the country with better capacities and greater political coordination, aimed at implementing actions to ensure the right to adequate food.

"We are very happy, it is great news and we extend all our technical support. The front in Haiti will bring together all the visions and create consensus to reverse the current situation,” said Luisa María Calderón, general coordinator of the Parliamentary Front against Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In 2015 SVG was the first English-speaking country in the world to establish a parliamentary front. The Dominican Republic was the first Spanish-speaking Caribbean to establish the front, while Haiti is the first French-speaking Caribbean nation to do so. Currently 5.7 million Haitians are undernourished, while 38.5% are overweight.

Parliamentarians have a key role to play together with governments, civil society, the private sector, international agencies and donors "to enable a generation of zero hunger in the course of our lives," said the director-general of FAO, José Graziano da Silva, at a meeting with legislators at the FAO World Conference.

Caesar said, "It is anticipated that parliamentary fronts against hunger in each country will work together to provide much needed support in reaching this important zero hunger goal."

Caesar encouraged all member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to form Parliamentary Fronts.
 
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