Hunger, malnutrition and the increase in world prices are the consequence of an unsustainable economic system that, in turn, causes people dedicated to agriculture and livestock to be extremely vulnerable to food speculation. The covid-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine have exposed this fragility.
It is impossible to ignore that global food supply chains, controlled by a small group of large companies, are tremendously dependent on fossil fuels and chemical inputs (fertilizers, pesticides, etc.). This implies a severe blow to the domestic economy of consumers, especially for the most vulnerable groups, since energy inflation is added to food inflation. At the same time, industrial food production contributes to carbon emissions and environmental destruction.
It is impossible to talk about the world’s food and economic system without highlighting the shame that, late into the 21st century, there is no end to the persistent and scandalous levels of hunger that exist and that expose the structural problems of the economic model. A situation that has been going on for a long time, although it has been aggravated by the war between Russia and Ukraine. According to the FAO, in 2021 between 702 and 828 million people were affected by hunger.
To face the global social and environmental emergency, the 50th plenary session of the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS), the main inclusive body of the organization in charge of addressing the issue of food safety. States and participants came together to try to end hunger and coordinate policy responses to global food shortages. The debates became embroiled in a discursive battle between two geopolitical blocs led by Russia and the United States, trying to find acceptable wording on the war in Ukraine and sanctions: when elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled.
This has led to a historic blockade. An unprecedented situation in the 40-year history of the CFS, in which the parties decided to postpone the discussions and resume the session on December 19.
Both of them [Rusia y Estados Unidos] they preferred a weakened body, unable to address relevant issues such as human rights, trade or the transformation of food systems
For this reason, it was not possible to conclude the session or take a decision on the response to the growing food crisis. An obstruction that cannot be explained exclusively in geopolitical terms, since we once again verified how quickly the two blocs align when it comes to undermining the role of the Committee. Both preferred a weakened body, unable to address relevant issues such as human rights, trade or the transformation of food systems. Other agro-exporting countries such as Brazil and Argentina are in this line, which deliberately support this paralysis in the negotiations.
On the other hand, the Member States of the European Union, although more committed to the response to the crisis, did not mobilize enough to prevent the situation from becoming entrenched. In fact, they have made their position clear by hiding behind the blocking position, washing their hands to maintain status quo.
The structural causes of the food crisis
On the opposite side were African and Latin American countries, as well as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, who strongly supported the need for a globally coordinated policy response led by the CFS. Along these lines, the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples Mechanism (CSIPM) presented evidence showing a sharp increase in inequalities in all regions and pointed out the structural and interconnected causes that reinforce and perpetuate the food crisis. : from debt to reliance on food imports to unfair trade and investment rules.
The mandate of the CFS is clear. It must coordinate a response to the alarming food insecurity in the world based on the human right to adequate food. It is not acceptable that there are countries that hijack these spaces for their strategic purposes, endangering the lives of millions of people without making the right decisions. That is why we believe that the CFS must act now.
Given the growing urgency of dealing with the lack of food in many countries and the serious situation that producers and consumers are experiencing, also in our country, a firm response from the Government of Spain is necessary. Gabriel Ferrero, Spanish ambassador and president of the Committee on World Food Security must act decisively. The Administration should lead an inclusive dialogue and guide towards a coordinated global policy to prevent future crises.
The signatory organizations in coordination with the CSIPM, which represents hundreds of small-scale food producers, consumers, indigenous peoples, pastoralists, fishermen, women, youth, people living under urban food insecurity, landless, agricultural and food workers , we demand that the political leaders act. For our part, we extend our hand to contribute to this process, to propose, debate and find solutions where people and the planet are the center of political decisions.
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