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Press Release: Stop Policies that Cause Hunger: Human Rights Check Needed on Food Initiatives

8. October 2013

    The human right to adequate food must be respected and implemented by all related policies and actors on the national and global level, concludes the Right to Food and Nutrition Watch 2013. The annual report, launched today in Rome, identifies many ongoing policies related to food, agriculture and nutrition that generate hunger and malnutrition, and calls for policy design and implementation that include the people and communities affected.     This sixth edition of the Watch presents national case studies and analysis that reveal:  
    • policies that foster violence and discrimination against women with regard to equal access to natural resources, inheritances, equal wages and political decision-making. These limit women’s capacity to contribute fully to food and nutrition security and produce the conditions that result in the fact that women and girls worldwide are the most affected in their health, nutrition and dignity.
    • policies that systematically limit and exclude large groups, including peasants, agricultural workers, fisherfolk, pastoralists and indigenous peoples from participating in those decisions that affect their very livelihoods.
    • policies on a global level that facilitate land grabbing, concentrated ownership of natural resources and the commodification of public goods that deprive smallholders and other people of their food resources.
          Peter Prove, Executive Director of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, one of the organizations that co-publishes the Watch, states, “The report clearly demonstrates that in order to prevent policies actually causing hunger, decision makers must ensure that policies are rooted in human rights, which includes the participation of people, communities, organizations and social movements in the policymaking processes that affect their livelihood.”   "A human rights approach, including the enforcement of international legal instruments, is fundamental to reverse global trends leading to discrimination, exclusion and deprivation,” states Flavio Valente, Secretary General of FIAN International. “Policies on trade and investment, energy and finance, agriculture and nutrition must be scrutinized under the criterion of coherence with human rights.”   The report stresses that a check of human rights coherence is particularly needed for global initiatives such as the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, the Scaling-Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and other public-private partnerships (PPP) in agriculture or nutrition. All of these initiatives include significant involvement of corporations as well as the potential conflicts of interest based on commercial considerations that often become entwined in the making of public policy.   The 2013 edition of the Watch addresses Alternatives and Resistance to Policies that Generate Hunger and details howcivil society initiatives based on the respect of human rights, offer solutions consistent with sustainability, equality, and justice, as well as with concepts such as food sovereignty, agroecology, or peasants' seed rights.   “I am very happy the Watch has identified so many initiatives that are positive examples of how to work towards achieving the right to food,” states Stineke Oenema, Program Coordinator, Food and Nutrition Security, ICCO. “These initiatives, but also policy proposals, seek to address underlying causes of hunger and malnutrition and offer solutions that are sustainable on the long term and are inclusive and acceptable to people who are in fact hungry or malnourished. These are the solutions we need. These are the solutions that are coherent with human rights and human rights principles.”   According to Olivier de Schutter, the Special UN Rapporteur on the Right to Food, "[t]he failures of the dominant food systems are by now well acknowledged. But inertia still has been prevailing, largely because no credible alternatives were proposed. What this publication does is to show that such alternatives are emerging. Not from the laboratories of food scientists or from governmental agencies - but bottom up, from the initiatives of people who seek to regain control over the food systems on which they depend."     Background for Editors For more information, and to download the report: www.rtfn-watch.org   Published in English, Spanish and French in October 2013 Published by: Brot für die Welt, FIAN International and Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO) in partnership with the African Network on the Right to Food (ANoRF), International Centre Crossroad (Crocevia), DanChurchAid (DCA), Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA), Habitat International Coalition (HIC), International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), Observatori DESC - Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, People's Health Movement (PHM), Inter-American Platform for Human Rights, Democracy and Development (PIDHDD), REDSAN-CPLP, Terra, Nuova, US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA), World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), and World Organisation against Torture (OMCT).   For more information, contact Sara Speicher, sspeicher@e-alliance.ch or  Léa Winter, winter@fian.org


The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on food and HIV and AIDS. The Alliance is based in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, see http://www.e-alliance.ch/

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