Record Number of Participants at FAO Regional Conference

Photo: Claudia Gardner Assistant Director General for the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region, Dr. Julio Berdegué, addresses a press briefing at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, where the FAO’s 35th Regional Conference for the LAC is underway.

Story Highlights

  • The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) 35th Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), which is currently underway in Montego Bay, is already being hailed as a success for attracting the most participants to date.
  • Assistant Director General for the LAC, Dr. Julio Berdegué, said the event, which commenced today (March 5), has drawn a record number of attendees, making it the region’s most successful “in the history of the FAO in Latin America and the Caribbean.”
  • “We have 33 member countries, that is, 100 per cent of the member countries are registered to participate. This has never happened before; we have always had 31 or even 32 one or two times, but for all the member countries, this is the first time this has occurred,” he added.

The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) 35th Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), which is currently underway in Montego Bay, is already being hailed as a success for attracting the most participants to date.

Assistant Director General for the LAC, Dr. Julio Berdegué, said the event, which commenced today (March 5), has drawn a record number of attendees, making it the region’s most successful “in the history of the FAO in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

“We really appreciate the help and the friendship and the excellent organisation by the Government and the warm reception by the people of Jamaica. It is a very successful conference in terms of participants,” he said during a press briefing at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

“We have 33 member countries, that is, 100 per cent of the member countries are registered to participate. This has never happened before; we have always had 31 or even 32 one or two times, but for all the member countries, this is the first time this has occurred,” he added.

Dr. Berdegué told the media that there are approximately 250 participants already in attendance. He said eight ambassadors as well as 39 Ministers and Vice-Ministers will participate and that the turnout is expected to increase to 300 by Wednesday.

He said there are also delegates from more than 50 organisations in attendance including other United Nations (UN) agencies, civil society, academia and the private sector.

“It is important to highlight that civil society has been participating in FAO Regional Conferences for several years, now but this is the very first time in the world that we have official observers from the private sector, who will also make a statement in the conference,” he explained.

“So far, I am very happy because of the strong presence. Not only in numbers but in the quality of the delegations, which shows that we are going to have a significant support from the member countries,” Dr. Berdegué said.

The FAO’s Regional Conference for the LAC is an official biennial forum where Ministers of Agriculture and high-level officials of member nations meet to discuss challenges and priority matters related to food and agriculture as a means of ensuring the promotion of regional coherence on global policies and political issues.

The key agenda items at the four-day conference are eradicating hunger, overweight and obesity; ending rural poverty; promoting climate resilient and sustainable agriculture.

Regional conferences are geared at ensuring the effectiveness of the work of the FAO, as well as the definition of its priority areas of work for the next two years. In addition to Ministers of Agriculture, representatives of regional, intra-regional, international organisations, civil society and the private sector are also hosted as observers to the sessions.

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