Rome, Utrecht, Heidelberg, Geneva, Berlin, 8 October 2014 - Food security and human rights remain deeply threatened by concentration of land ownership, corporate domination of food systems and policy incoherence, reports the Right to Food and Nutrition Watch 2014, officially launched today with the participation of the new UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food, Dr. Hilal Elver, at the FAO in Rome.
"As we celebrate the progress made over the past decade, it is important to keep in mind that we will have to work even harder to realize the right to food in order that hunger and malnutrition no longer afflict humanity", Dr. Elver cautioned on the occasion of the ten-year anniversary of the Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security.
The Watch 2014 - titled Ten Years of the Right to Food Guidelines: Gains, Concerns and Struggles - discusses key policy processes and highlights the increasing influence of companies in international food and nutrition governance as a growing challenge in the global struggle for the right to adequate food.
On one hand, increased power of multinational food and beverage corporations over what ends up on the consumer's plate has led to a higher consumption of unhealthy ultra-processed foods, thereby contributing to obesity and malnutrition in both developed and developing countries.
Between 40 and 50 per cent of the adult population in Belgium and Colombia are overweight, reports the Watch 2014.
On the other hand, agribusiness and financial investors are taking control of natural resources and undermining the rights and food sovereignty of local communities and small-scale food producers. Such practices are promoted and condoned by governments in the name of 'development'.
An estimated one million hectares of land have been appropriated in Mali in recent years, depriving peasant communities of their livelihoods. The expansion of mining in Sweden and its impact on peasant and indigenous populations illustrate that land grabbing is a worldwide phenomenon.
The Watch calls on governments to exercise political will in addressing the inequities in food systems, demanding the right to food be 'mainstreamed' in coherent food, nutrition, energy and trade policies.
Democratic institutions and mechanisms that engage those most affected by hunger in policy-making are among the goals of ongoing social mobilization and resistance worldwide - from Guatemala to India and Norway, as revealed in the Watch 2014.
As stressed by Olivier De Schutter, former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, "[t]here are major actors who are able to block change as a result of the dominant position they have acquired in the food and political systems. That is why food democracy is really the key to achieving more sustainable [and accountable] food systems."
Contact M. Alejandra Morena, Coordinator - Right to Food and Nutrition Watch
Read the civil society report 'Ten Years of the Right to Food Guidelines: Progress, Obstacles and the Way Ahead'
Watch the video 'The Right to Food - A People's Struggle'