Panafrican News Agency

Zambia: Pan-African Parliamentary Alliance for food, nutrition security to be set up

Lusaka, Zambia (PANA) – The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) is to establish a Pan-African Parliamentary Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security.

This was agreed during extensive deliberations at the Second Ordinary Session of the Fourth Parliament, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

According to a statement released Monday, 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.

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," Phiri stated.

“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.

FAO is working with African countries to create nutrition-sensitive food systems anchored on their national agriculture and food security investment plans, the statement said.

PAP noted that 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 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, 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.
-0- PANA MM/VAO 9May2016