Re: The e-Consultation on Hunger, Food and Nutrition Security

Martin Wolpold-Bosien FIAN International, Germany

Warm greetings from FIAN International, and best wishes for 2013!


With this email, I would like to send you some contributions to the ongoing consultation on Hunger, Food and Nutrition.


1)      As a first contribution, I attach some key documents that were produced by the Civil Society working group before and after the elaboration of the First Version of the GSF. In my opinion, these are two key documents that bring together a:


Civil society alternative approach to the framing of global policies on food security and nutrition (“CSO Working Document on the GSF” which was elaborated as an input for draft 0 of the GSF);


Civil society assessment of the GSF after the approval of its First Version by the CFS in October 2012 (“CSO final assessment of the GSF...”). This document analyses the approved GSF from the perspective of the major CSO concerns and proposals that were brought to the attention of CFS stakeholders during the consultation and negotiation process. I strongly believe that these CSO positions should be taken into account when discussing the Post-2015 framework.


In short, CSO expressed after approval of the GSF by the CFS in October 2012 in their “Statement of social movements and other civil society organizations on the Global Strategic Framework of the Committee on World Food Security CFS”:


“We welcome the adoption on October 17, 2012, of the first version of the Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition (GSF).


The GSF, as the overarching framework, will be the primary global reference for coordination and coherence in decision-making on food and agricultural issues. It is an important achievement of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). We as social movements and civil society organizations participated intensively in its elaboration.


The GSF constitutes a step forward in promoting a new model of governance on food, agriculture, and nutrition. This document is built upon the human rights approach, women’s rights and the recognition of the central role of smallholder farmers, agricultural and food workers, artisanal fisher folks, pastoralists, Indigenous Peoples, landless people, women and youth to food and nutrition security.


The GSF also recognizes that formal employment of rural workers and assurance of minimum living wages are key for food security and nutrition. The document mentions the potential of agro-ecology and provides important guidance on nutrition based on the Right to Food Guidelines. It also reaffirms the strong commitment of States to the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Lands, Fisheries and Forests, including through agrarian reform.


The GSF negotiations reached an important consensus on human rights-based monitoring and accountability, which implies that States, intergovernmental institutions and the private sector are held accountable for their actions and omissions  regarding their obligations under international human rights law.


Several issues that are important to civil society are not addressed in the current version of the GSF in particular Food Sovereignty. We affirm our commitment to ensure that the new paradigm for food security policy will be based on food sovereignty.


We expect countries and all actors to fully support the implementation on the GFS on all levels. We will contribute to make use of this important tool for our initiatives and struggles at local, national and international level.”


2)      As a second contribution I would like to stress three key human rights challenges for the debate on the post MDG period that address at the same time essential shortcomings of the MDG, especially MDG 1:


a) Primacy of human rights: Although the inclusion of human rights terminology and references has increased significantly in international frameworks dealing with food security and nutrition, it is still not fully understood and accepted that human rights are the primary responsibility of States and have primacy over any other policy area as stated in Article 1 of the Vienna Declaration adopted by consensus at the UN World Conference on Human Rights in 1993. In this perspective, it was an important achievement that the Vision Statement of the reformed CFS states that “the CFS will strive for a world free from hunger where countries implement the voluntary guidelines for the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security”. The formulation of the post 2015 framework should recognize this primacy.


b) Qualifying policy coherence: The concept of coherence should be understood in terms of “human rights coherence”. In other words, government policies must be reviewed with the objective of ensuring they do not result in negative human rights consequences including on the right to food. This qualification is needed to avoid unintended effects resulting from having different policy objectives. Policy coherence is not an end in itself. Policy coherence must be human rights based, which essentially means that all policies with negative impact on human rights must be stopped, revised and made consistent with human rights requirements.


c) Human rights based monitoring and accountability: These terms have gained increasing acceptance among most actors in the food security and nutrition field, and were recognized in the First Version of the GSF. Although we know that States, intergovernmental institutions and private actors are hesitant to accept monitoring mechanisms that assume legal accountability for human rights impacts, we also know that without such accountability, no substantial change in national and international policies can be expected. If we believe that hunger is largely a product of policy failures to meet human rights obligations, including extraterritorial obligations, we must insist on establishing and strengthening accountability mechanisms at all levels.


3) Finally, as a third contribution and reference on how to include the Right to Adequate Food into global policy frameworks and how to apply a human rights approach in national food and nutrition security strategies, the FAO Right to Food colleagues published in collaboration with  FIAN two Factsheets in March 2012:


1) The Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition: A Right to Food Perspective

2) Human Rights - a Strategy for the Fight against Hunger


From our point of view, the elements and conclusions of these fact sheets are as well valid for the Post 2015 consultation and could be taken into account in the context of the process.


I hope that these few contributions seem useful to you. If you have further requests or need some more information, please let me know.


Warm greetings,


Martin Wolpold-Bosien

Right to Food Accountability Programme Coordinator

Coordinador para América Central

FIAN International Secretariat