Reducing inequalities for food security and nutrition – HLPE-FSN consultation on the V0 draft of the report
During its 46th plenary session (14–18 October 2019), the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) adopted its four-year Programme of Work (MYPoW 2020-2023), which includes a request to its High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE-FSN) to produce a report on “Reducing inequalities for food security and nutrition”, to be presented at the 51st plenary session of the CFS in 2023.
The report, which will provide recommendations to the CFS workstream on inequalities, will:
- Analyse quantitative and qualitative evidence relating to how inequalities in access to assets (particularly land, other natural resources and finance) and in incomes within food systems impede opportunities for many actors to overcome food insecurity and malnutrition. Relevant data on asset endowments in rural communities will be useful in this respect, along with the findings of latest State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) reports. Given the focus on agri-food systems and the key role of family farmers within these systems, linkages and complementarities with the UN Decade of Family Farming will be examined, including as reference to decent employment issues in the agri-food sector;
- Analyse the drivers of inequalities and provide recommendations on entry points to address these;
- Identify areas requiring further research and data collection, also in view of the opportunities provided by the ongoing joint effort of the World Bank, FAO and IFAD within the 50 x 2030 Initiative.
The ensuing thematic workstream on inequalities will be part of the CFS’s overall vision and the objective of addressing the root causes of food insecurity with a focus on “the most affected by hunger and malnutrition”. The focus will be on inequalities within agri-food systems. The workstream will provide an analysis, based on this HLPE-FSN report, on drivers of socioeconomic inequalities between actors within agri-food systems that influence food security and nutrition outcomes. Gender inequalities and the need to create opportunities for youth would inform the analysis.
To respond to this CFS request and as part of the report development process, the HLPE-FSN is launching an e-consultation to seek inputs, suggestions, and comments on the V0 draft of the report “Reducing inequalities for food security and nutrition”.
HLPE-FSN V0 drafts of reports are deliberately presented early enough in the process – as work in progress, with their range of imperfections – to allow sufficient time to properly consider the feedbacks received in the elaboration of the report. E-consultations are a key part of the inclusive and knowledge-based dialogue between the HLPE-FSN Steering Committee and the scientific and knowledge community at large.
Questions to guide the e-consultation on the V0 draft of the report
This V0 draft identifies areas for recommendations and contributions on which the HLPE-FSN of CFS would welcome suggestions or proposals, in particular addressing the following questions, including with reference to context-specific issues:
The V0 draft introduces a conceptual framework informed by key principles established in previous HLPE-FSN reports (HLPE, 2017; HLPE, 2020), including agency, equity and justice.
Do you find the proposed framework an effective conceptual device to highlight and discuss the key issues with regard to inequity and inequality for food security and nutrition (FSN)? Do you think that this conceptual framework can contribute to providing practical guidance for policymakers? Can you offer suggestions for examples that would be useful to illustrate and facilitate the operationalization of the conceptual framework to address issues relevant for FSN?
The report adopts the definition of food security, proposed by the HLPE-FSN in 2020, which includes six dimensions of food security: availability, access, utilization, stability, agency and sustainability.
Does the V0 draft cover sufficiently the implications of broadening the definition of food security with regard to inequalities?
This report considers inequalities as well as inequities, and to facilitate this consideration it makes some choices and simplifications. The report adopts definitions of inequalities, inequities, injustice, unfairness, exclusion, marginalization, discrimination, patriarchy, racism, colonialism, ableism, empowerment…
Acknowledging that agreeing on definitions of these complex areas is difficult, do these definitions work with your own interpretations of these concepts? Are there any controversial or incorrect issues in terms of these proposed definitions?
The V0 draft describes major inequalities in FSN experiences across and within countries.
Are there any major gaps in the literature and data referred to in the report?
The deeper layer of structural drivers fundamental to understanding inequity, including sociocultural, economic and political aspects are examined, as well as actions and policies to reduce inequalities that mirrors these layers of drivers.
Does the review adequately cover the main drivers of inequalities? Could you offer additional examples of existing FSN initiatives and policies that were able to alleviate the deeper inequities seen in food systems and FSN experiences?
|6||Are the trends identified the key ones in affecting inequitable and unequal experiences of FSN? If not, which other trends should be considered?|
|7||Are there any other issues concerning inequalities in FSN or within food systems that have not been sufficiently covered in the draft report? Are topics under- or over-represented in relation to their importance?|
|8||Are there any redundant facts or statements that could be eliminated from the V0 draft?|
|9||Can you suggest success stories from countries that were able to reduce FSN inequalities?|
The results of this consultation will be used by the HLPE-FSN to further elaborate the report, which will then be submitted to peer review, before finalization and approval by the HLPE-FSN drafting team and the Steering Committee (more details on the different steps of the process, are available here).
We thank in advance all the contributors for reading, commenting and providing inputs on this V0 draft of the report. The comments are accepted in English, French and Spanish.
The HLPE-FSN looks forward to a rich and fruitful consultation!
Évariste Nicolétis, HLPE-FSN Coordinator
Paola Termine, HLPE-FSN Project Officer
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Dear Évariste and colleagues,
Thank you very much for kind giving us the opportunity to comment on the recent version of the V0 draft report on inequality and food security. A few members of the Global-Hub on Indigenous Peoples had the chance to contribute. Kindly find attached the document with comments.
Indigenous Peoples Unit, Partnerships and UN collaboration Division, FAO
Dear CFS and HLPE-FSN colleagues,
Please let me share below 10 points of feedback for the v0 draft, whether these fit within the scope of the e-consultation or beyond.
Submitted by: Anna Marry, Senior Global External Affairs Advisor, Brooke
Brooke welcomes this comprehensive and much needed report on reducing inequalities in food security and nutrition. We particularly welcome the inclusion of livestock not simply as animal-source foods, but in their diversity of roles including draught power and income generation, as well as consideration of the gender dimension – all crucial factors in reducing (or driving) inequalities.
Broadening the definition of food security with regards to inequalities is essential and the proposed dimensions (availability, access, utilization, stability, agency and sustainability) cover the broader definition well. However, in our work with livestock-owning communities across Africa, Asia and Latin America we have observed that agency, while important, is often not sufficient. Knowledge and skills are key prerequisites for individuals to exercise agency. With respect to food security, this means knowing what food choices to make, but also being able to adequately care for the livestock that people’s food security depends on. We have seen first-hand that training provided to livestock owners and handlers radically improves the outcomes for both animals and people. We therefore suggest that the definition should include a knowledge and skills aspect.
Questions 6/ 7:
While very comprehensive overall, we believe that the report lacks nuance when it comes to inequalities in livestock. We recommend distinguishing between production (e.g. cattle or poultry) and working animas such as horses, donkeys and mules, since they play different roles with respect to equity and equality in food security and nutrition. The document acknowledges that livestock are not only a source of food, but also draught power and income. This warrants an expansion to explain the very different role various types of livestock play in food security and related inequalities.
Working livestock support food security indirectly, by enabling food production (e.g. as a source of manure, transporting water for crops or other livestock, ploughing fields etc.), but also, crucially, by generating an income that allows families to purchase nutritious food of their choice, as well as pay for other essentials that impact food security indirectly, such as medical bills or school fees.
It is also worth noting that working livestock play a different, particularly vital, role in women’s lives than other livestock, thus impacting gender inequalities. Two thirds of poor livestock keepers (approximately 400 million people worldwide) are women. In our research amongst poor women in four countries, 77% of participants ranked working equids (horses, donkeys or mules) as the most important species of livestock. Women don’t always own the animals, but they benefit from their work and care for them more often than men do. Women use equids for income generation activities, like waste collection or transporting agricultural produce to market. This income acquired by women tends to be spent on food, medical or school bills, directly benefitting the whole family, in particular children. Crucially, unlike other livestock, working animals help women perform heavy and time-consuming tasks that men do not normally do, such as fetching water for crops, other livestock or human consumption and hygiene. In doing so, they liberate women’s time for other tasks and empower them to gain a higher social status in the community.
Yet, almost all women we surveyed lack access to training and access to extension services, which would allow them to better care for and make use of their livestock.
We call on the report drafters to include this important dimension of working livestock and gender, and particularly, to recommend that women are provided with training opportunities and better access to extension services with respect to livestock handling and management.
In sum, Brooke welcomes this important report and calls for the following additions to be made:
السيدة Paola De Meo
UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food comments on the V0 draft of the report on Reducing inequalities for food security and nutrition.
"I wish to congratulate the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE-FSN) for the excellent “0” Version of the report and would like to thank for the opportunity to provide some comments and contributions from a human rights perspective." - Michael Fakhri, UN SR on the Right to Food.
The proposed framework is effective to highlight and discuss the key issues about inequity and inequality for food security and nutrition. However, is extremely important when presenting the framework, to stress how human rights instruments such as Human rights treaties and in particular the International Covenant on Social Economic and Cultural rights can provide practical guide to policy makers to operationalize these principles. They are a means to ensure entitlements and measures to monitor their achievement. Also, instruments such as the most recently adopted UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People Working in Rural Areas, can provide a guide to incorporate norms and standards of agency, equity and justice into national laws and policies, in favour of those categories of people that are so important for the human right to food.
In my reports I mentioned “structural inequalities” as a root cause of human rights violations. Human rights law requires not only focusing on people who are poor, vulnerable, or marginalized but more importantly to scrutinize how people are made poor, vulnerable, or marginalized.
Coherently with the framework identified above, equity and justice are indispensable elements to achieve food security. Therefore, these two principles could be added as transversal pillars to grant food security and the right to food in a substantive way. As I underlined in my report, we should scrutinize how inequality is produced, as it is not a natural occurrence but is produced by systems, including food systems.
Ending any form of violence across the food system is also indispensable condition to grant food security in an interdependent world.
In my upcoming report to be presented to the Human Rights Council in March 2023 I am suggesting adding another form of violence, which is in turn a cause of inequality: “erasure”. Erasure can refer to the “practice of collective indifference that renders certain people and groups invisible”. It arises from the narratives that set and are produced by political agendas, raising questions such as, whose stories are taught and told and by whom? Whose knowledge and experience are prioritized? Whose struggles are recognized? Whose dead are mourned?
In my upcoming report I am suggesting a link between violence and inequality as mutual supportive drivers. Structural inequality has made mass amounts of people more vulnerable to violence; in turn, systemic violence has been a significant cause of structural inequality. This vicious cycle of structural inequality and systemic violence causes widespread human rights violations. Food systems not only produce food but also generate and amplify violence that makes people more poor, vulnerable, and marginalized. I also highlighted how the “dependency path” whereby many countries are made dependent on food or fertilizer import for their food security made them particularly vulnerable to stress, shock, and crisis. I suggest the dependency on fertilizers, included its harmful impact on human and soil health could be highlighted as a fragility to deal with in the chapter 6 of the HLPE: “Transformations necessary for positive structural change to reduce inequalities in FSN”, coherently with the mention of agroecology as a solution.
 See A/HRC/41/39.
 See A/75/148, A/75/163, A/75/258, A/77/174 and A/77/177.
السيدة Cristina T. Cambiaghi
On behalf of the International Land Coalition (ILC) Secretariat, we congratulate the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition for the important initiative and for the opportunity on contributing with inputs.
ILC is a global alliance of civil society and intergovernmental organisations working together to put people at the centre of land governance. The shared goal of ILC’s 300+ members is to realise land governance for and with people at country level, responding to the needs and protecting the rights of women, men and communities who live on and from the land with a common goal: Secure land rights, responding to the needs and protecting the rights of those who live on and from the land.
We find the draft report to be comprehensive and it incorporates the importance of land rights and tenure security quite well in the context of FSN.
On page 45, in the section related to land inequality, certain aspects in relation to control over land can be further strengthened. For example, control over land and over value-chains, which bear implications on land ownership and use, are absent. Further, the implication of financialization of land can be further improved. (reference: https://d3o3cb4w253x5q.cloudfront.net/media/documents/land_inequality_conceptual_paper_2020_11_unearthing_less_visible_trends_en_spr_lavhFDK.pdf
We refer your attention to chapter 3: financialization and land grabbing have serious implications on the right of smallholder farmers. This can be included in relevant sections on land inequality and land grabbing as well in the section relating to ‘’equalize access to food production resources.’’
We are looking forward to contribute on next steps, if needed.
All the best and good job!
Cristina (on behalf of the ILC Secretariat)
السيد Pat Mc Mahon
Mothers First Submission to the HLPE-FSN consultation on the V0 draft of the report
Date 17th January 2023
Author: Pat Mc Mahon, Founding director and head of advocacy Mothers First
Web site Mothersfirstcharity.org; Contact [email protected]; @1worldnutrition
Overview of submission:
This submission centres around acute hunger and is focused on the 1.9 billion people in fragile settings, which accounts for 74% of extreme poverty. Over 350 million people live in poverty so extreme that they have Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) phase 3 and above. The names tell the story very well.
Crisis IPC Phase 3
Emergency IPC Phase 4
Catastrophic IPC Phase 5
For those of us who have seen extreme hunger, the hunger that kills every day will have no doubt that these women, children and men are the furthest behind people in our world. The Secretary-General and the entire United Nations System repeatedly tell of the unfolding humanitarian emergencies, yet that narrative is not getting through in any tangible way.
This current draft paper under review highlights this very well, with the Sub Chapter in Chapter 2 of the report on fragility still needing to be written. Given that people in fragile settings represent almost 25% of the world's population, fragile settings have only been mentioned eight times in the report.
The central reason for this is that the SOFI Report, which is the anchor point of both the CFS and this consultation, is mandated to look at chronic hunger. It is undoubtedly welcomed that SOFI 2022 clearly outlined this recommending the Global Report on Food Crisis as the corresponding report that deals with acute hunger.
By the very nature of our individual needs for sustenance, the vulnerabilities within the spectrum of food security are compounded directly by the severity of the food insecurity we find ourselves in. Given the number of people living in fragile settings who are experiencing crisis to Catastrophic levels of food security, we strongly advocate for the need for acute food insecurity to be integrated in all seven chapters of the report.
This submission is organised into seven chapters. The first chapter seeks to disentangle key components of the acute food security crisis by transcribing three pages from the Global Humanitarian Overview 2023 entitled Hundreds of millions of people face hunger as a historic food crisis looms. The preceding six chapters examine different dimensions of the 2023 overview. We will look at the practical interpretation of the food insecurity rating and the impact acute food security has on mortality and nutrition status. We will look at finance through the equity lens of the right to food and the chronic underfunding of Humanitarian Response Plans.
We will also consider the equitable inclusion of all groups affected by food security within this draft report and the CFS Frameworks. We will take a more in-depth look at the numbers and the genuine possibility of 2023 being a year where food security goes from an issue of distribution to one of overall availability.
The paper will conclude with four key recommendations for this consultation. These recommendations will be framed within the overall framework of the CFS.
The world faces the possibility of a paradigm change from food as a distribution issue to a supply issue. Early reports from countries on cereal production in India, Argentina and Brazil are down. We hope this submission will help calibrate how acute hunger aligns with the CFS thematic workstream in inequalities.
Including equity and acute hunger in a meaningful way would show considerable leadership and prowess to help bring together the humanitarian Development divide and move forward the aspiration that so many of us hope of the Grand Bargain in 2016.
This submission extensively references four key UN Documents which specifically deal with acute hunger.
Hunger Hotspots - FAO-WFP early warnings on acute food insecurity │October 2022 to January 2023 Outlook
Please find the submission attached.
السيد Matheus Alves Zanella
Dear HLPE Steering Committee and the Project Team,
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the V0 Draft “Reducing inequalities for food security and nutrition”.
Please find attached a contribution from the Philanthropic Foundations Mechanism (Agroecology Fund, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Global Alliance for the Future of Food).
السيدة Angela Frigo
Recognising the effort invested in preparing the comprehensive report, the European Food Banks Federation (FEBA) takes the opportunity of the request for feedback to share the following comments and thoughts:
- In the sub-chapter on Food retail environment planning and governance (p. 107), the aspect of food donation should be considered not only as an environmentally sensitive, business-friendly, and socially responsible alternative but also as a relevant driver to foster food security.
- Related to this, in the section on Transformative action: a holistic approach to climate and sustainability (p. 119f), any reference to the importance of reducing global food loss and waste quantities, and therewith their impact on climate change due to occurring GHG emissions, when envisaging sustainable food systems is missing.
- Taking into account the aspects above, the relevance of Food Banks' activities, especially the recovery and redistribution of perfectly edible surplus food occurring at all stages of the food supply chain, should be mentioned as an effective means to reduce food insecurity while preventing food waste.
Please find attached the full contribution of the European Food Banks Federation.
أستاذ دكتور Jonathan Crush
Submission from the Migration and Food Security (MiFOOD) Network and Hungry Cities Partnership (HCP) (https://www.hungrycities.net)
We would like to congratulate the HLPE on addressing this important topic and producing such a comprehensive and robust report.
Our primary recommend action is that the report pay more attention to migration as a driver and consequence of food insecurity and inequality.
Chikanda, A., Crush, J. & Taweodzera, G. 2020. Urban food security and South-South migration to cities of the Global South. In J. Crush, B. Frayne & G. Haysom (Eds), Handbook on Urban Food Security in the Global South (Cheltenham: Elgar), pp. 261-281.
Choitani, C. 2017. Understanding the linkages between migration and household food security in India, Geographical Research 55(2): 192-205.
Crush, J. & Caesar, M. 2017. Cultivating the migration-food security nexus. International Migration 55: 19-27
Nisbet, C., Lestrat, K. & Vatanparast, H. 2022. Food security interventions among refugees around the globe: A scoping review. Nutrients 2022, 14(3), 522.
Obi. C., Barolini, F. & D’Haese, M. 2020. International migration, remittance and food security during food crises: the case study of Nigeria. Food Security 12: 207-220.
Orjuela-Grimm, M. et al. 2022. Migrants on the move and food (in)security: A call for research. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 24:1318-1327.
Xu, F. Crush, J. & Zhong, T. 2023. Pathways to food insecurity: Migration, hukou and COVID‐19 in Nanjing, China. Population, Space and Place (published online).
1) On the Nanjing case the report notes that "In Nanjing, China, as the city grows and as new residential areas are developed, city planners are obligated to incorporate new markets, activated as a specific threshold of residential units is surpassed.” This is potentially misleading as it emphasizes the role of planners but ignores the role of city property developers. In fact, it is property developers that have taken the lead in establishing new markets in newly developed city regions, as is required by the municipal government. It is also worth mentioning that comprehensive food environment planning in Nanjing goes beyond developing new markets and includes initiatives that address all four pillars of food security, through urban planning, subsidies and food safety management.
Zhong, T. et al. 2021. Comprehensive food system planning for urban food security in Nanjing, China. Land 10(10): 1090.
2) Alternative food initiatives/networks, particularly community supported agriculture and farmers' markets, are missing in the discussion of addressing food inequalities. They have been an important force of the food sovereignty movement and have been pivotal in sustaining the development of agroecology in many countries, opening new spaces for smallholders to navigate the structural inequalities in industrial food systems.
Haysom, G. 2018. Food insecurity and alternative food networks in cities of the global South. HCP Discussion Paper No. 19, Cape Town.
Dr Jonathan Crush Contact
Dr Sujata Ramachandran
Dr Zhenzhong Si
الدكتور Elyse Mills
On behalf of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), we have a few additional points to add to the recommendations we posted last week. These are in relation to the discussion on pages 79-80 on ‘Fisheries policy and investment’, in order to indicate the breadth of the topic: