Dear Secretary General,
We would like to commend the efforts of civil society in highlighting the importance of food security for the achievement of sustainable development. Despite these inputs, the outcome document of Rio+20 does not propose an ambitious plan for the achievement of universal access to food and water.
In light of this shortcoming, Mr. Secretary, we appreciate that you are pushing for the eradication of hunger. As you are well aware, almost 1 billion people are hungry. Malnourishment compromises lives, depriving people of adequate development and a healthy future. At the same time, an increasing number of people suffer the effects of unhealthy diets that lead to diabetes and other non-communicable diseases. At this moment, more people die from diseases caused by overconsumption, than because of under consumption.
We commend your initiative Zero Hunger Challenge, which is aimed at ending hunger in your lifetime. In order to succeed, we must not simply establish new goals, nor do we only need to share our vision of a hunger free world. We urgently need to shift towards an economy that is based on the well-being of all people, animals and the rest of nature. We need to agree on concrete steps to end starvation and malnutrition for all, as well as to fight unsustainable patterns of food production and consumption.
People need to have the right to define their own food and agricultural systems. Therefore, food sovereignty must be a key principle lying at the heart of our efforts to end hunger globally.
Our current food system is plagued by unequal access to productive resources. The FAO has found that women farmers could help feed at least another 150 million people, if we act now to close inequities. In addition, land grabs and water grabs undermine food sovereignty today and threaten the resource base of current and future generations. This is the reality we face.
In order to realize the future we want and we need, governments must recognize the rights of peasants and rural peoples and protect the right to land, food and water in international human rights law. It is important to ensure a human rights based approach to development and to establish institutional mechanisms that will ensure fulfilment of human rights, particularly those pertaining to life, survival and development.
Therefore, we strongly support the establishment of the Ombudsperson for future generations at national and High Commissioner for Future Generations at international levels to advocate for the needs of both current and future generations. We look forward to working with you on the report you have been invited to provide on this regard.
Governments alone are not able to deal with the challenge of feeding a growing world population. Stakeholders, including farmers, young people and NGOs – as well as everyone in this room – must be included in decision making processes that affect food security. At the international level, we support the Committee on World Food Security as an inclusive forum to develop food and agricultural policies that will help us feed the world.
Mr. Secretary, we understand the challenge. We know what your role is and we know ours. We urgently need to make all actors aware of their roles, rights and their responsibilities. Thank you.