Download the Written inputs from the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples Mechanism on priority issues to be included in the Zero Draft of the Policy Recommendations on Reducing Inequalities for Food Security and Nutrition

23 January 2024 – Intervention delivered by Dee Woods, from the Landworkers’ Alliance, UK, La Via Campesina, and co-coordinator of the CSIPM working group on Equity.

The Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSIPM) once more reconfirms its recognition of the relevance of the workstream on “Reducing Inequalities for food security and nutrition”. For the upcoming negotiations, we would like to emphasize the following points, which we consider particularly important to be reflected in the policy recommendations. We strongly call for ambitious policy recommendations that support a transformative, redistributive and human rights-centred approach based on agreed UN language and CFS products and aim to challenge the existing exploitative systems, instead of using unclear expressions like “equity-sensitive” approaches.

Challenging the Neoliberal paradigm

The role of neoliberalism, capitalism, a free market ideology in deepening and sustaining inequalities of class, social status, gender, ability, ethnicity, race or caste within countries and widening the gap among countries needs to be addressed by the policy recommendations. This should include elements referring to inequalities and malnutrition in developed countries. Regulatory policies that support the redistribution of wealth and income such as taxation, financial market regulation need to be emphasized.  As the current inequitable system is based on a neo-liberal economic system, it should also take into consideration the ILO’s 2022 Conclusions on the role of Social and Solidarity Economy on Decent Work and the April 2023 UNGA resolution on Social and Solidarity Economy.

Following a strong rights-based approach for addressing power imbalances

Human rights and their indivisibility are essential to the policies of the CFS and the approaches of states. They inherently speak to inequalities as they put those who are most marginalised at the centre of decision-making in terms of processes, and in terms of outcomes. It must be recognized, that there is rapidly growing inequality within and between countries, and that structural, external drivers of inequity, such as the unjust global trade and financial system, are key drivers of inequalities in the food system. The greatest divider of them all is the economic divider, so well-articulated by Brazil at the presentation of the report at CFS 51.

Tackling the root causes of inequalities

  • Inequality in the food system cannot only be challenged by supporting the most marginalized to improve their conditions but must include redistribution of resources and address the way in which resources, assets, value, and power are unequally distributed and concentrated, both within the food system and across society as a whole.
  • Redistribution means not only access but also control over resources such as land, seeds and water etc. Challenges of land ownership such as land tenure, unequal distribution of land, gender disparities, power imbalances as a driver for unequal land distributionand land grabbing need to be tackled.
  • The different histories of the marginalization and colonization of certain countries, regions, and populations must be addressed. This includes the legacies of racialisation, racism and marginalisation of billions of people globally. Taking an intersectional lens on inequalities along with a clear commitment to reparation, restoration and common but differentiated responsibilities is pivotal.
  • As addressed in the HLPE report, the policy recommendations need to address the multiple disadvantages in FNS defined by social groupings and their intersectionality, also in developed countries. The Recommendations must mention gender / transgender related inequalities through patriarchal norms, along with the invisibilities of care labour and reproductive labour that are central to the construction and maintenance of secure food systems. Imposed on women as a natural responsibility\inclination, reproductive and care labor/work has been limiting women’s lives, livelihoods, movement and spaces (unpaid work).
  • It is estimated that 15% of the global population suffers from a disability. Persons with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty and to experience food insecurity.
  • Older people are an often neglected and marginalised segment of the global population. Older people, and especially older women, are consistently at risk of having their rights denied and their basic needs unmet in times of crises, including in terms of access to food.
  • The policy recommendations need to acknowledge agroecology and its principles as the fundamental approach for reducing inequalities. Agroecology has the potential to overcome power imbalances within the food systems by placing people and their agency at the centre of food systems rather than by including different groups in the current dysfunctional food system. 
  • Peasant agriculture contributes little to historical and actual greenhouse gas emissions but is bearing the brunt of these effects. Faced with this injustice, international financial flows do not sufficiently reach the most vulnerable groups. It must be acknowledged that climate solutions have an important effect on inequalities, with solutions increasing land grabbing and affecting the rights of the most vulnerable.
  • The global industrial food system is characterised by high levels of economic and power concentration. It is essential to address the ongoing financialization of the food system, the role of future commodity trading and index speculation in leveraging price shocks and intensifying situations of food insecurity. Sanctioning unfair trading practices, facilitating unionization and the creation of cooperatives would lead to more equity.
  • The global trade system has cemented long-standing inequalities, benefiting state and corporate actors that already have good access to resources, credit and infrastructure over the historically disadvantaged. The need for a change in the premises and goals of international trade must be recognized, along with the importance of building regional food systems that address needs and rights rather than economic efficiency, and that recognises that both labour and food should not be distributed and valued according to competitive principles.
  • Inequality and indebtedness are closely correlated. More debt (public or private) cannot be and is not the solution to the ongoing inequality. The marginalization and dependency that are often experienced by peasants, fisherfolks, workers and eaters cannot be solved by increasing their personal debt and creating new forms of dependency and subordination towards loan agencies and the global financial sector.
  • Beyond a shift to universal age-sensitive and gender transformative social protection systems, there is a need for social protection measures that are well targeted, flexible and shock responsive. Shock responsive social protection systems are necessary in contexts where economic and climate change related shocks disrupt value chains, undermine livelihoods, and further exacerbate food insecurity.   
  • Work on inequalities must address situations of protracted crises, acute hunger and malnutrition, conflict, occupation, and war– and the Framework for Action on food insecurity in protracted crises should be a core basis for this since it has Human Rights based guidance, that was agreed in consensus by the CFS, but has incredibly weak uptake and implementation. 

Download the Written inputs from the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples Mechanism on priority issues to be included in the Zero Draft of the Policy Recommendations on Reducing Inequalities for Food Security and Nutrition

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