In collaboration with the Mining Working Group and Franciscans International, the Temple of Understanding is honored to contribute a statement on the Human Right to Food for the thirty-first session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Special thanks to Sylvia Rossini for delivering the statement, entitled “Human Rights: Foreign Debt and the Right to Food.”
Oral Statement delivered to the 31st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
Agenda Item 3: Clustered Interactive Dialogue
Independent Expert on the effects of Foreign Debt on Human Rights
Special Rapporteur on Food
March 7, 2016
Human Rights: Foreign Debt and the Right to Food
The Temple of Understanding and the NGO Mining Working Group appreciate these reports on Foreign Debt and on the right to food. We echo the urgent need to transform patriarchal social structures and practices in agricultural and other extractive industries that make women and girls—across the globe and across their life spans—particularly vulnerable to deprivations of their right to food. Local, smaller scale agriculture must be supported, as opposed to the industrial monocultures that are destroying local autonomy and fertility.
We are concerned about global economic structures including the role of foreign debt that undermine the right to food. The industrial agricultural sector fosters deprivation through its bias for inefficient food sources such as meat, GMO foods and seeds, pesticides, and in many countries the subsidization of corn and other high carbohydrate, low nutrition foods. Increasingly extractive development including hydraulic fracturing further threatens agriculture and water at the expense of more life enhancing local agriculture. Even in highly developed countries, people suffer in “food deserts” where adequate nutrition is not available.
On these points we draw your attention to the 2013 Trade and Environment Review, “Wake Up Before its Too Late”, published by UNCTAD, which urgently emphasizes the need for regional and rational agriculture not based on extractive industrial practice.
Especially in the context of the SDGs, we urge States to:
- Protect food sovereignty and requisite natural resources such as water, land, and biodiversity from private profit motivations of agribusiness, extractive and natural gas sectors
- Shift governmental subsides towards smaller scale/ local farming, and away from unsustainable industrialized agriculture;
- Ensure that development aid or loans are not conditioned on forced privatization or liberalization; and
- Guarantee that the State and non-State actors involved in global partnership for development respect, protect, and promote the human rights and knowledge of local food producers.