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Caribbean Development Bank and FAO sign crucial agreement

Published:Monday | March 5, 2018 | 2:01 PMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

A cooperation agreement was signed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) on yesterday's first day of the 35th Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, which is taking place during four days at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James.

Dr Lystra Fletcher-Paul, the FAO's sub-regional representative for the Caribbean, signed on behalf of the FAO, while director of projects at the CDB, Daniel Best, inked the document on behalf of the bank.

With hunger and malnutrition among the issues to be discussed at the conference, it did not take long for the agreement to be reached and signatures attached on the document, which aims to tackle those issues.

"We need closer ties between the FAO and other development partners if we are to tackle the main challenges that threaten regional food security, rising hunger and overweight, rural poverty and climate change," said Fletcher-Paul following the signing.

Fletcher-Paul further stated that hunger and malnutrition were on the rise in Latin America and the Caribbean, adding that during the conference multiple alliances, such as the one that was signed, will be developed with an aim at reducing the trend.

Poverty and obesity

With rural poverty in the region also said to be on the rise, along with obesity at epidemic levels, Fletcher-Paul argued that there was a need to develop high-level large-scale intervention.

"That will be one of the main focus areas of our discussions during the next four days," she stated.

Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the CDB, Best welcomed the agreement, which, he claimed, would broaden and strengthen collaboration between the bank and the FAO that has been ongoing since 1986.

"Today, through the signing of this document, we are opening the door for our regional members to achieve even greater development gains in agriculture through our partnership," stated Best.

The regional conference is being staged by the FAO, in collaboration with the Government of Jamaica, with the participation of ministers of agriculture, health, education, environment and social development from all the member countries. Representatives from all 33 member countries of the FAO in the region are in attendance at the conference.