This consultation on the role of civil society and the private sector was originally conceived to give room for our inputs to the ICN2 preparatory process with the aim of influencing it, not only positively, but also effectively.
Last week, I submitted a posting related to the worrisome role PPPs are exerting on public decision-making. I made a call to action.
But this issue, and many others that worry me, do not seem to be on the agenda of ICN2. Can we expect this consultation will forcefully enough demand that these issues become part of the official discussions in November 2014?
Let me give consultation participants just a sample of the (additional) types of issues I see we are missing and, in my view, cannot simply be excluded in ICN2 in depth discussions:
Issue 1: Post 2015 food and nutrition human rights compliant policies, i.e., policy coherence with the human rights principles and framework as unequivocally recently demanded by the Secretary general . (I cannot understand why the UNHCHR is not a cosponsor of ICN2!).
Issue 2: Governance issues in the nutrition community. As many colleagues will know, after decades, civil society participation in the UN SCN has been excluded and the SCN has primarily become a vehicle for the SUN initiative coordination. (Mind you, SUN has an important corporate and TNC involvement). Actually, the whole issue of private sector participation in global nutrition governance has to be re-discussed critically.
Issue 3: We cannot continue working in nutrition without dealing with what unfair free trade agreements (FTAs) are doing to nutrition, or without dealing with the financial crisis in rich and poor countries.
A much more proactive critique and action is needed in these areas.
These are just three of the issues dear to civil society that come to my mind now. But, of course, there are other. I am sure other colleagues participating in this consultation can add other (Issue 4:…, Issue 5:…, Issue 6:…..). Will ICN2 have these in the agenda of the official ministerial meeting? The question I ask is: Can our consultation make a fervent call to this effect? The first challenge is to put these issues in the agenda. I think the preparatory meeting next November in Rome is crucial and civil society has a pivotal role to play there.
Claudio Schuftan, Ho Chi Minh City