• Dee Woods, member of Landworkers’ Alliance and La Via Campesina, coordinator of the CSIPM Inequalities Working Group, delivers the following statement during the launching event of the HLPE-FSN report on Reducing inequalities for food security and nutrition. 

The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE-FSN) launched the report on “Reducing inequalities for food security and nutrition”, following the request by the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS), as part of its Multi-Year Programme of Work (MYPoW 2020-2023). The report provides a conceptual framework for assessing inequalities and a set of recommendations to address inequalities and their impacts for food security and nutrition worldwide. It will serve as the basis for the work in the CFS thematic Workstream on Inequalities, which aims to address the root causes of food insecurity.

During the launching event on 15 June 2023, which gathered Member States, experts and civil society organizations, Dee Woods (Landworkers’ Alliance UK and La Via Campesina) coordinator of the CSIPM Inequalities Working Group delivered a statement to highlight key issues important for this debate, among them: 

  • Effects of the Ukraine war and other conflicts: Ukraine and Russia war has affected prices of food, stock out tea fertilizer Kenya it comes from Russia.  
  • Rising inflation rates and debt around the world, particularly in the global south, e.g. Maldives – saw its public debt swell in recent years and it’s now well above 100% of its GDP, Sri Lanka – inflation rate was at 55%.
  • The overall trend of public spending mainly going to military instead of public health / education / school feeding and social security programmes etc.
  • Hunger and malnutrition are also growing exponentially, as are NCDs (Non-Communicable Diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease) in developed countries that are classified as donor countries rather than recipients of aid. There is around 20% increase in numbers using food banks, including youth and students in some European countries. 
  • Many people with low income in wealthy countries had to choose between ‘heat or eat’ this last winter (e.g. growing number of people relying on food banks).
  • The inclusion of local governments who frequently have a different political orientation from that of States, and are closest to people suffering from inequalities, as pointed out by the Birmingham Council in the report in recommendation 5, due to the delegation of power by States is of huge importance as this is the most frequent level of implementation and interaction.
  • For the CSIPM, we do not believe the current situation is one of a crisis of the cost of living, it is an economic inequality crisis that intersects with other inequalities and impacts people’s ability to afford the basic necessities to live.

 

We welcome the fact that the CFS addresses this issue, being informed by an HLPE report on this topic. In our official comments on the Zero Draft we recognized the general direction of the zero draft and its recognition of growing inequalities and that inequalities exist on many different levels throughout and beyond food systems in an inter-related manner (e.g. between and within nations). as well as the different histories of the marginalization and colonization of certain countries, regions and populations. This is closely linked to the multiple crises of Covid-19, climate change and cost of living increase.

We particularly welcome the introduction, definition and support of an intersectional approach in analysing inequalities and coming up with solutions and recommendations that are tackling the root causes of the failure of our food system in providing healthy, nutritious and fair food for all.  

And particularly taking into consideration, as a starting point of reflexion the lived experience of the marginalised people globally and making sure that they can participate in developing the policies that we need to reduce inequalities. 

We really welcome the mention of the need to tackle power asymmetries within food systems, and the references to the ILO/ILC aspects on social security and food security, as well as to the OECD work, and the reference to the social and solidarity economy as reported by RIPESS and which is included in the UNGA resolution A/RES/77/281 on Social and Solidarity Economy, which was approved in April and is an economic approach centred on people and planet rather than profit and individual wealth.

You will certainly understand that we cannot make any substantive, concluding comments on the report today without having read it. However, we assure you that we will read the report thoroughly and will share our analysis afterwards. 

We truly see the necessity for this report to be truly the starting point for negotiations on future guidelines.  And we would like to highlight some points that are important for the CSIPM, which include: 

  • The effects of the Ukraine and Russia war, and ongoing conflicts elsewhere, for instance in Sudan and the Middle East. 
  • The rising inflation rates and debt around the world, particularly in the global south.
  • The overall trend of public spending mainly going to military instead of public health, education, school feeding and social security programmes; 
  • We also see hunger and malnutrition which are increasing 
  • And more people with low income in wealthy or high income countries who have to choose between ‘heat or eat’ and are of charitable food aids. 
  • We would also like to see the inclusion of local governments who frequently have different political orientation from that of States, and are closest to people suffering from inequalities, as pointed out about by the Birmingham Council in the report, in recommendation 5. 
  • Finally, we would like to point out that for the CSIPM, we do not believe the current situation is one of a crisis of the cost of living, it is an economic inequality crisis that intersects with other inequalities and impacts people’s ability to afford the basic necessities to live.

Thank you Chair for giving me the floor. 

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