Addressing structural issues behind poverty, hunger malnutrition remain absent : Page 2 of 3
Posted on 11 October 2013
indirect subsidies for biofuels, including targets, mandates and blending quotas, because the evidence shows that such subsidies and incentives are adding to food insecurity and malnutrition, contributing to food price rises and volatility, to land-grabbing, to the displacement of food production, to water grabbing and greater water scarcity;
ii) to adopt a human rights framework that promotes food sovereignty and guarantees the free, prior and informed consent of affected communities, including people's rights to reject policies and programs that are against their interests and which undermine domestic food production systems; and
iii) to mandate country-level and regional multi-stakeholder human rights assessment of the impacts of biofuel policies, ensuring genuine participation of vulnerable communities.
At the CFS 40th session, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier de Schutter delivered an intervention reminding governments that it is not their duty to meet the market-driven consumption demands of the rich countries through biofuel energy production but to ensure that people's right to food is met. He stressed that biofuels production is putting increased pressure on lands and called for an end to it.
Still at the level of broad strokes and needing specifics are the two related questions of (1) how agriculture and rural development can and should be among the central issues in the post-2015 development agenda, and (2) how various development actors can contribute to the current two-track processes. These processes are, first, the Open Ended Working Group discussions led by UN in its New York headquarters towards a successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and second, the governmental discussions on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a direct outcome of the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development held in Brazil last year.
Criticisms have earlier been raised on how the MDGs were created by a handful of UN officials in New York in a process that excluded national governments and vulnerable populations. MDG #1 of halving global poverty by 2015 remains a long shot, despite FAO claims that this target can be met, citing reduced rates of chronic hunger—a point contested by grassroots organisations that cite increasing poverty and hunger rates especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
CSOs have likewise raised concerns of how post-2015 discussions will address the structural causes of hunger, in view of the private sector’s aggressive role in pushing for unsustainable, industrial models supposedly to increase agricultural productivity. Accountability mechanisms for governments and business firms have also been put forward. The challenge for the CFS, as the supposed global leader on food security and nutrition, is to exercise a leading role in promoting genuinely sustainable agriculture in the discussions.
As World Food Day is commemorated on October 16, billions of people suffering from hunger and poverty and facing social inequities, including dispossession of lands by toiling small food producers, resource grabs, and corporate control of the global food chain, as well as the impacts of climate crisis, still have to see strong policy responses from governments. Equally important discussions on the global strategic framework,