New Report Shines Light on Power Behind Hunger

New Report Shines Light on Power Behind Hunger

From: Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance

The fifth annual Right to Food and Nutrition Watch 2012, released today by a consortium of 15 civil society organizations, details the structural causes underlying the hunger and malnutrition experienced by almost one in seven people around the world.

The report focuses on exposing who is really in control of decision and policy-making when it comes to food and nutrition. Among the concerns is a trend of unregulated influence of corporate and financial actors over global food and nutrition chains, as well as well-funded global public private partnerships whose strategies place profits over people’s right to food.

“Far too often, agribusinesses and nutrition companies use their weight and influence to increase their profit margins, and to manipulate the rules to their interests and convenience, without regard for the best interests of small-scale food producers and the survival of their communities – let alone the moral and legal requirements of the human right to food,” observed Peter Prove, Executive Director of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, at a press conference launching the report today at the Geneva Press Club.

Also highlighted in the report are new strategies adopted by civil society to exert control over food and nutrition within local, national, and global governance structures. In this respect, the authors welcome the reforms taken by the Committee on World Food Security in 2009, which offers an innovative way for a full-range of civil society stakeholders – who traditionally have been excluded from decision making processes – to be active participants.

“With the reform of the Committee on World Food Security, an innovative way of inclusive governance has been established. It has been a breakthrough for those civil society groups that traditionally have been excluded from decision making processes on all levels,” said Flavio Valente, Secretary General of FIAN International at the press conference. “The time has come to occupy political space and fight for the primacy of human rights.”

Divided into two parts, the first half of the report outlines different recently adopted international instruments that give citizens more control over decisions that affect food and nutrition. The second half contains seven country case studies that demonstrate the different ways in which people’s rights to food and nutrition are violated.

“It is not right that small-scale food producers are going hungry while those who have access to and control over our productions systems decide the future of our food,” says Lalj Desai from the World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous People. “Governments are advertising our lands to corporations for large-scale agriculture projects while the real food producers are losing access to grow their food.”

“The Watch is written to give voice to the struggle of the people on the ground — the people who have been defending their rights and have lost their lives doing so,” Valente stated, noting that, over the last three years 53 members of peasant organizations were killed in the Lower Aguan region in Honduras because they were fighting for their rights, most recently the lawyer Antonio Trejo last Saturday.

“It is an important instrument” Valente emphasized, “but we need to go beyond the mere documentation of cases to change the tide.”

Report available at: