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  • Cases of deaths due to malnutrition continue to rise in Colombia, its main victims are children.

    Cases of deaths due to malnutrition continue to rise in Colombia, its main victims are children. | Photo: EFE

Published 13 May 2019

The five nations are a priority group that will be part of the first phase of a recently launched program by FAO called 100 Free Territories of Poverty and Hunger (100-T).

Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic head the list of countries in Latin American and the Caribbean facing urban-rural gaps and deep rural inequalities that generate extreme poverty and hunger, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

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The five nations are a priority group that will be part of the first phase of a recently launched program by FAO called 100 Free Territories of Poverty and Hunger (100-T), whose aim is to produce tools and intervention models adapted to the realities of the most underdeveloped and vulnerable rural territories in the region.

According to the Colombian government, by March 2019 there are 560,000 cases of extreme hunger in early childhood (between 0 and 5 years of age) throughout the national territory. “We have to make people aware of the problem, that one in nine children in Colombia have chronic malnutrition is very serious," said the head of Grupo Exito Foundation, Carlos Mario Giraldo, who worked with the government in this assessment. 

The Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) and FAO identified close to two thousand municipalities in fourteen countries of the region, which group more than 40 million people living in conditions of extreme poverty and food insecurity. Half of these people (20.9 million) live in rural areas, and the rest in villages and small towns. Almost one in five are Indigenous or Afro-descendant, and one in five households has a female head.

"In these forgotten territories there are still children who suffer from hunger, and many more who grow up with their lives damaged by chronic malnutrition," explained the Regional Representative of FAO, Julio Berdegue, adding that “there are rural territories that have been left behind, where people live in social conditions that resemble those that they had fifty years ago."

The five nations are a priority group that will be part of the first phase of the 100 Free Territories of Poverty and Hunger (100-T) strategy. Credit: FAO

The U.N. agency has recognized that a lack of public policy and State intervention influenced the economic and welfare lag of these areas. The low or null level of participation of stakeholders in the identification of problems and solutions as well as the lack of competitiveness access to products, high commercial intermediation, and subsidies and remittances, are the main causes. 

The 100-T strategy will be carried out in an articulated manner with national and local authorities, civil society organizations, social movements, as well as the private sector, and international donors. Results are expected in 10 years, as the program aims to successfully accomplish objective one and two of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals.

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