| 16-05-2014

New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa raises concerns

Ahead of the G7 Summit in Brussels, FIAN raises human rights concerns about the G8 New Alliance initiative

Heidelberg/Germany, Geneva/Switzerland - May 16, 2014: Two weeks before the G7 Summit of June 4, 5 in Brussels, FIAN International raises grave human rights concerns about the G8 initiative "New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa" in a policy paper published today.

Titled     "G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa: A Critical Analysis from a Human Rights Perspective", the policy paper argues that this initiative ignores general human rights principles and contradicts a human rights-based framework in key issues relevant for those most affected by hunger and malnutrition: small-scale food producers. FIAN calls on the G8 governments to stop this public-private partnership initiative that includes more than 150 companies - among them the biggest transnational corporations in the food and agriculture sector. Moreover, FIAN highlights the G8 initiative also ignores general human rights principles, like effective participation, and lacks human rights risk analyses and reference to adequate accountability mechanisms.

FIAN criticizes the G8 initiative as bluntly equating the opening of agriculture and food markets to foreign investors with combating hunger and malnutrition. An explicit expression of this erroneous understanding is the "success" indicators of the initiative: in most of the New Alliance Cooperation Frameworks for countries, the World Bank Doing Business Index and "increased private investments" are the key indicators. This alone shows the initiative is excessively biased towards the corporate sector.

    FIAN's policy paper directly contrasts policy actions of the G8 initiative in four key areas: seeds, land, social protection/income, and nutrition with a human rights framework. The results speak for themselves:

For example, where the UN-Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food asks governments to implement farmers' rights (as defined in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources), the G8-led initiative pushes for the "implementation of national seed regulation" for greater private sector involvement.

Similarly, where the human right to adequate food and nutrition includes improved access to land for small-scale food producers "to feed oneself" and for those groups directly affected by land grabbing, the corporate-driven agenda of the G8 initiative is concerned about an easy and cheap process of land allocation for investors.

An increase of private sector involvement is furthermore evident in the area of social protection - an area which has traditionally been the sole responsibility of the state. The role of the state in relation to social protection is reduced through the creation of a climate beneficial to foreign investment by formulating corporate-friendly policy frameworks and opening up social protection-related areas to private investors. Also, the income-generating measures propagated by the G8 need to be assessed carefully due primarily to the fact that the strategy of the Alliance is geared toward land acquisition for private corporations focusing on large-scale, capital-intensive, and extensive agriculture which requires reduced labor input.

Furthermore, the G8's simplistic understanding of the nutritional dimension of food production has resulted in the proposal of a limited economic model. It neglects the fact that food and nutrition security does not simply entail the increase of caloric intake, but rather a consistent access to diverse and nutritious diets (in terms of quantity and quality), culturally-adequate food, the recognition of the important role of protecting women's rights and their nutrition, as well as access to basic public services to ensure nutritional well-being and human dignity.

In conclusion, FIAN's policy paper fundamentally questions the legitimate role of the G8 in regards to food security and nutrition. It reiterates the demand that     G8 countries implement the decisions by Committee on World Food Security (CFS), such as the Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests, and do not sideline and weaken the CFS as the foremost legitimate and democratic multilateral governing body on food security and nutrition with such an initiative.

See below for more information and to read FIAN's policy paper