The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) agency Country Representative, Antonio Querido has appealed to African Members of Parliament to enact laws aimed at ending hunger in the continent.
Querido noted that the current highest malnutrition prevalence in African at 20 percent can only be averted by exhibiting strong political will.
“A key vector in development is political will and lawmakers have a crucial role in setting the political will and agenda,” said Querido.
He was speaking at a consultation workshop on the draft Model Law on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) in Africa at Skyz Hotel, Kampala on Wednesday.
The event organized by FAO and the Pan African Parliament (PAP) was attended by legislators, Ministers and Civil Society Organizations from over 10 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa.
FAO boss stressed that there is need for stakeholders to double their efforts to ensure that Africa is hunger free by 2025 in fulfillment of Sustainable Development Goals.
“Of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, goals two and one are; eradicating poverty, hunger and malnutrition, unfortunately, the progress is not meeting the expectation,” he said.
Querido however underscored efforts made by several countries in enhancing their contribution to eradicate hunger in the years to come, including Uganda, Cameroon, Sierra Leon, DRC and Gabon among others.
“Parliamentary alliances have been formed in Eastern, Western and Central Africa. At the same time several countries across the continent have established national parliamentary alliance networks on food security and nutrition in order to discuss and address key issues hampering the possibilities of everyone to access food,” he added. Meanwhile during the same event, Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga challenged Pan-African Parliament representatives to ensure that the model law is domesticated in their countries.
Kadaga noted that the law would be the first commitment of the agreements made by the African Union leaders.
“It is very disappointing that up to today, the Malabo protocol has not been sufficiently ratified and yet our leaders went there and sat for many days, signed it and then they abandoned it,” said Kadaga.
She asked MPs to commit themselves to the implementation of the law, and not to wait for the Executive.
“If you are convinced that the model law is important in Africa, you should be able to move a Private Member’s Bill in the House to ensure that the laws are made and domesticated,” said Kadaga.
Kadaga acknowledged mechanisms established in Uganda to enhance food security including the Parliamentary Forum on Food security, Standing committee on Climate Change and a forum on Climate change.
She urged the government leaders to champion efforts to mitigate climate change, saying that it affects food production.
The objective of the Model Law is to guide countries that aim to develop national or sub national legislation on the right to adequate food and food security and nutrition.