For the third consecutive year, South America slid backwards in the global struggle to achieve zero hunger by 2030, with 39 million people living with hunger and five million children suffering from malnutrition.
“It’s very distressing because we’re not making progress. We’re not doing well, we’re going in reverse. You can accept this in a year of great drought or a crisis somewhere, but when it’s happened three years in a row, that’s a trend,” reflected Julio Berdegué, FAO’s highest authority in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The regional representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations said it is cause for concern that it is not Central America, the poorest subregion, that is failing in its efforts, but the South American countries that have stagnated.
“More than five million children in Latin America are permanently malnourished. In a continent of abundant food, a continent of upper-middle- and high-income countries, five million children … It’s unacceptable,” he said in an interview with IPS at the agency’s regional headquarters in Santiago.
“They are children who already have scars in their lives. Children whose lives have already been marked, even though countries, governments, civil society, NGOs, churches, and communities are working against this. The development potential of a child whose first months and years of life are marked by malnutrition is already radically limited for his entire life,” he said.
What can the region do to move forward again? In line with this year’s theme of World Food Day, celebrated Oct. 16, “Our actions are our future. A zero hunger world by 2030 is possible,” Berdegué underlined the responsibility of governments and society as a whole.
Governments, he said, must “call us all together, facilitate, support, promote job creation and income generation, especially for people from the weakest…