Rome, Italy. 17 July 2023. Hamadi Ag Mohamed Abba, agro-pastoralist from Mali, and member of the CSIPM data working group, delivered the following message at the launch of the second round of CFS negotiations on the Policy Recommendations on Data Collection and Analysis Tools for Food Security and Nutrition.
Opening remarks by Hamadi Ag Mohamed Abba
Mr. Chairman, my name is Hamadi Ag Mohamed Abba,
My name is Hamadi Ag Mohamed Abba, agro-pastoralist from Mali (West Africa) and member of the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples Mechanism (CSIPM).
The CSIPM, which brings together civil society and Indigenous Peoples' organizations from five regions of the world, following its participation since the beginning, in this round of negotiations on the Policy Recommendations on Data Collection and Analysis Tools for Food Security and Nutrition, is pleased to participate once again at this stage of July 2023.
We recognize the complexity of data-related issues and digitization, which represents a major challenge for all actors in this round of negotiations on data for food security and nutrition (FSN data).
For the CSIPM, it is important to respect the participatory and inclusive working procedures of the CFS, which requires patience and transparency at a time when the use of digital technologies, while facilitating data collection and analysis for some players, is a challenge for other players in disadvantaged regions to be able to fully participate in this task of collecting, processing, analyzing and using data for food security and nutrition.
Without this, actors from marginalized and vulnerable social groups, such as Indigenous Peoples, small-scale food producers, women, and young people, will not be able to assume a role in this data work, even though they are the holders of information on food security and nutrition.
Indeed, the risks and benefits of the collection and use of FSN data are not always clear and may change over time, as the expansion of digital technologies into our food systems will result in the loss of agency and autonomy for Indigenous Peoples and small-scale food producers, and will have immense repercussions for people and their environment.
The CSIPM remains committed to a participatory and inclusive approach to the collection, processing, analysis, and use of data for food security and nutrition while making the link between Local Development and Human Rights (LD&HR).
To avoid discrimination and inequality, and to ensure that these policy recommendations have the desired impact on decision-making in food security and nutrition, and remain relevant in the light of advances in new technologies, States must have the time and capacity to debate, discuss and analyze this text, in order to adopt an appropriate instrument for a data governance system.
This is in line with international human rights instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP), among others.
The importance of data and its value as an aid to decision-making needs no further demonstration, especially in the development of visions and strategic axes for work, research, and project action in all areas of activity.
Only data governance for food security and nutrition based on a human rights approach will ensure the availability of high-quality, timely and relevant qualitative and quantitative data that improves food security and nutrition and contribute to the progressive realization of the right to healthy and sustainable food.
It is important to point out that more and more data is being collected by private companies, a small number of whom now hold oligopolistic control over data and accumulate the economic benefits derived from its use. This poses a threat to human rights and risks undermining the sovereignty of States over data. This reality underlines the importance of developing governance frameworks that regulate corporate activities with regard to the collection, storage, analysis, and use of data, and ensure that their use contributes to the realisation of the right to food, rather than to the creation of profits for corporations, which in many cases have not even produced the data in question. In this context, it is particularly important to protect the rights of small-scale food producers and Indigenous Peoples over the data they produce, and their knowledge and innovation systems.
The text under negotiation will have to be finalised in the time it takes while respecting the commitments of States including, among others, the implementation of programmes that promote the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by Horizon 2030.
The CSIPM with its member organisations reassures you of its commitment and will do its utmost to support the efforts of the CFS in this exercise in order to provide guidance to States on this important issue.
I wish you all the success for this round of negotiations on data from 17 to 21 July 2023.