Re: Rights-based approaches to Food Security in Protracted Crises

Mariam Jaajaa The Arab Group for the Protection of Nature /The CSM Working Group on ...
18.11.2013

CSOs in the CSM believe that a primary purpose of the Agenda for Action is to enable governments and other stakeholders to implement existing CFS policy guidance and to honour their existing humanitarian and human rights obligations in protracted crises. These obligations, which have been negotiated between all governments, provide the strongest and most legitimate guidance for national and regional actions.

Such guidance has a direct role in preventing the emergence, prolonging, deepening or re-emergence of crises, as well as the emergence and aggravation of food insecurity in times of crises.

·         If the Agenda for Action adopts "resilience" as its overarching framework then its definition should be broadened to include the ability to realize rights and obligations despite crises and to further help resolve crises.

·         The Agenda for Action should prepare an implementation support package for all stakeholders to assist in implementing CFS and other legal frameworks with specific relevance to promoting food security in protracted crises.

  The first step in this implementation support package is the development of  a comprehensive inventory of norms to ensure accurate knowledge of humanitarian law and of all the different Human Rights legal frameworks (international, regional)that are related to the different protracted crises contexts (i.e. natural disasters and human induced crises). Such inventory should include all obligations that directly or indirectly contributing to food security/food insecurity. This inventory should be included in Appendix C or attached in a technical paper with the Agenda for Action.

  A second step would be for national legal systems and their institutions to interpret these norms and reform their policies as appropriate.

 Actions taken should be revised to address violations which are often causes of crises, as well as food insecurity in crises.

·         It is very important that CSOs stress again the need of directing the A4A and the importance of operationalizing CFS guidance and other human rights obligations  at all states and not only states suffering from crises, for the following reasons

    a)    to prevent crises in countries at risk

    b)   to request all states to respect and abide by extra-territorial obligations that have enormous impacts on food security on a national level - and here we find the Maastricht principles as an excellent reference towards defining these principles

    c)  to protect displaced populations and host communities

·         The principle proposed on promoting the voluntary guidelines on the responsible tenure of land, fisheries and forests is key but not comprehensive as there are other factors determining food security and nutrition, apart from tenure.

We suggest that the  first overarching principle should be  "Promoting compliance with existing international humanitarian and human rights obligations and CFS policy guidance as the most legitimate source of policy guidance.

Some answers to the below guiding questions

Question 1

1-      Communities should be at the center of analysis/assessment of underlying structural causes and consequences of protracted crises- Their documentation of events, violations and rights should be facilitated.

2-      It is important to build rights awareness and community capacity to demand rights from duty bearers.

3-      Communities need to develop autonomous innovative means to hold on to their rights, protect their natural resources and define ways to reduce consumption.

4-      There should be an accountability mechanism that ensure that donor /development/humanitarian agencies as well as the private sector are abiding by international obligations while the public sector is weak or absent.  An international judicial platform could be strengthened to allow communities to transmit cases of violations of the food right in protracted crises.

Question 2

6-      The rise in prices and exploitation of merchants to conflicts (raising prices and smuggling goods)

7-      Closing of border crossings and airports to import or export food items/sanctions

8-       Local production patterns do not satisfy local consumption patterns

9-       Lack of  integration between the policies and activities of the  various institutions, ministries and sectors

10-  No monitoring over quality specifications of food aid or imported items

11-  Lack of information on how , where and when to access food

12-  Absence of civil society liberty and self-organization

13-  Marginalization of the agricultural sector or local food production systems in recovery programmes and aid schemes. E.g setting conditions on the agricultural sector to plant particular non-food/ export based crops

14-  Rehabilitation/reconstruction schemes that threaten community's' access to resources of production and harm the food security of the majority of the people on the long run.

15-  Pressure of the donor countries/development /humanitarian institutions to adopt policies that undermine food sovereignty

16-  Refugees demands on limited local resources

17-   Developmental and relief aid not directed at the most affected communities.

18-  Using food as a coercive tool/punishment against populations

Question 3

19-  Mapping and supporting local coping strategies while reducing need of negative coping strategies.

20-  Ensure integration of short and long term goal through strengthening diversified local food production systems

21-  Relying on locally produced food and material  when delivering assistance

22-  Strengthening Urban Agriculture

23-  Resource management alternatives (seed banks, water harvesting methods)

24-  Mainstream Risk analysis and Early Warning Systems that monitors Human Rights violations.