HelpAge International's Comments on
THE ROME ACCORD - ICN2 zero draft political outcome document for 19 November 2014
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this document. Please find below our comments on paragraphs 4-23.
Like some of the other commentators, we would like to see a stronger grounding of the political outcome document in a human rights framework. This requires more explicit references to nutrition being a crucial element of the human right to adequate food and nutrition as well as references to states being obliged to protect and fulfil this right and citizens being right holders, rather than merely being ‘consumers’. Human rights violations that cause or contribute to malnutrition should be mentioned in the document too.
Comments on paragraphs 4-20
There needs to be a stronger commitment to protect and improve nutrition outcomes throughout the whole life cycle
The right to adequate food and nutrition applies to all, including to people of all ages. It is encouraging to see that paragraph 5 proposes to take into account the different nutritional needs during the ‘life cycle’. The text then however only singles out women and children as having specific needs. Similarly, paragraph 7 only mentions nutrition targets for children under 5 and women of reproductive age. To do justice to a rights based approach however, we need to commit to better understand, protect and improve the nutritional status throughout the whole life cycle (including in old age).
To this end, there needs to be a commitment to improve the evidence base on the nutritional status of people beyond reproductive age (especially with view to under-nutrition) by routinely including them in food and nutrition surveillance and by age-disaggregating data. We recommend adding such a commitment to paragraph 20. In the same vein, there needs to be a commitment to provide targeted support to people of all ages in need of nutritional support. This should be added to paragraph 15.
There needs to be a stronger commitment to social protection
The document focuses on the food system in its traditional sense (food production, storage and distribution) and neglects the crucial role of social protection systems for improving and protecting nutrition outcomes. While the ICN2 technical preparatory meeting in November 2013 devoted several sessions to social protection in support of nutrition outcomes, the political outcome paper is very quiet on this topic. There are only two vague references to social protection in paragraph 12 and paragraph 13.
Given the frequent livelihood shocks and stresses that poor households in low and middle income countries experience, a sole focus on improving productivity, improving availability and affordability of healthy food is insufficient to ensure that poor households have secure access to healthy food and that they reach sustainable improvements. The majority will face times where their ability to produce food or their ability to generate a cash income is undermine and healthy nutritious food is out of their reach. Reliable social protection systems that guarantee access to basic services and minimum income security across the life cycle are crucial for bridging this gap.
We therefore recommend adding a clear commitment to support social protection systems. References to this should be made in paragraphs 12 and 13 and ideally a standalone paragraph on social protection should be added too. It is thereby important to advocate for social protection systems that guarantee social security throughout the life cycle.
Comments on paragraphs 21-23
In line with the comments made above, we, firstly, recommend to state a clear commitment to improve the nutrition of people throughout the whole life-cycle. This would be part of the introductory sentence of paragraph 21.
Secondly, we recommend to add a standalone sub-paragraph to paragraph 21 on the commitment to support reliable social protection systems that provide access to basic services and basic income security throughout the life cycle.