FIAN International thanks the HLPE for the opportunity to provide input during the e-consultation on the scope of the upcoming Water and Food Security report to be prepared for the 42nd session of the CFS. In addition to the input already provided by our Access to Natural Resources-Programme Coordinator, Sofia Monsalve, we hope you will consider the following issues and recommendations during the preparation of your report.
While we welcome the explicit goal of taking into account gender-related aspects in the report, we would like to highlight a couple of gender-related issues that seem to be missing from the current scope. Specific emphasis should be placed on the link between drinking water quality, sanitation and infant and young child nutrition and health. While breastfeeding protects infants by decreasing their exposure to contaminated water and poor sanitation, infants and children under 5 who are not breastfed for one reason or another (and thus whose nutrition is dependent upon foods prepared under unhygienic conditions) are at an increased risk of developing diarrhoeal diseases and associated malnutrition. Furthermore, adequate access to water and sanitation should be presented in the wider context of women’s rights and gender equality and linked to food security for all. For example, gender norms in many cultures dictate women and girls are the main “fetchers” of water for their families; as a result, adequate access to water would significantly reduce water-related “time poverty” for women and girls, which would have an impact on their ability to use this time for other more productive activities, such as attending school, with considerable impact on women’s and their families’ rights and food security.
In addition, while the scope proposed recognizes the importance of water for both food and nutrition security, we would like to stress that the two - food and nutrition - need to be looked at in an integrated fashion and not divided artificially. When analyzing, for example, the impact of water pollution on agricultural production, this should be done not only from a food security but also from a nutrition perspective. The nutritional adequacy of food is an essential element of the right to adequate food; hence the nutrition dimension needs to be considered at every stage of food production (incl. processing), distribution and consumption. While safe drinking water and sanitation are equally important for good nutrition, this should not lead to nutrition being detached from food.
R. Denisse Córdova Montes
Gender and Nutrition
FIAN International Secretariat
Willy-Brandt-Platz 5/ D-69115 Heidelberg Germany
Postal Address: PO Box 102243/ D-69012 Heidelberg Germany
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