Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Uganda has expressed continued interest to support social protection to transform food systems, and rule out rural poverty so as to eliminate hunger, improve access to healthy diets, support inclusion and improve natural resource management.
Dr. Antonio Querido, the FAO Uganda representative stressed that the social protection agenda was set not to live anyone behind.
He noted that according to the 2019/2020 Uganda National Household Survey, roughly 20% of Ugandans are estimated to live in poverty.
“That is over 8 million people, of whom many are children, 0 to 17 years of age. This raises concerns over the prospects of achieving our promise, SDG 1- No Poverty and the overall Agenda 2030, leaving no one behind,” he says.
Noting further, he said there is need to step up efforts and perhaps rethink the means in which the available efforts can be implemented.
He stated that social protection is the answer since the agenda is all about taking action that supports individuals, households and families to manage shocks, build resilient livelihoods and increase investment in future human capital.
“World over, social protection is recognised as a crucial component of national development strategies and processes for achieving inclusive and equitable growth by narrowing the poverty and vulnerability gap.”
Presenting a report on ‘Rural Social Protection’, Ms Garima Bhalla from the Social Protection team, FAO Uganda defined social protection as a set of policies and programmes that addresses economic, environmental and social vulnerabilities to food insecurity and poverty by protecting and promoting livelihoods.
She said social protection is a tool to address key programmatic areas, such as; Zero hunger and poverty reduction, promoting sustainable agriculture and resilience.
FAO has been at the forefront in shaping and promoting social protection as a means for protecting livelihoods and reducing inequalities.
FAO Uganda representative- Dr Querido noted that there is now considerable work underway to ensure social protection is prominent in our interventions so as to leave no one behind in the global development process.
He noted that social protection is, therefore, key to the realisation of the right to adequate food.
“FAO already established a Right to Food Unit at the Headquarters in Rome to ensure that these rights and its related commitments are supported at the highest level possible,” revealed Dr Querido, adding that going forward, FAO Uganda alongside her partners will work towards utilising existing opportunities to implement the social protection agenda as a game-changer for food systems transformation.