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Who controls access to food – Central question of new report

12. October 2009

    Failure by national governments and international institutions to ensure the right to food has led to rising numbers of malnourished and starving people, as documented in the Right to Food and Nutrition Watch 2009. The report is being launched today in Geneva by a consortium of human rights organizations, faith-based organizations, social movements and development agencies including the World Organization against Torture, FIAN Switzerland, Bread for All (Pain pour la prochain) and the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA).

    The 2009 report focuses on “Who controls the governance of the world food system” through contributions from Olivier De Schutter, United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food; David Nabarro, Coordinator of the UN High Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis; and Flavio Valente, FIAN International General Secretary, and others.

    Reports are included on the state of the implementation of the right to food and nutrition in nine countries: Benin, Brazil, Cambodia, India, Guatemala, Kenya, Nicaragua, Uganda and Zambia. The country reports highlight how the right to food and nutrition are connected to such issues as agro-fuel production, poverty or the right to land.

    In analyzing the failures of the current system, in which over 1 billion people are malnourished, the report stresses that critical changes related to international bodies and the implementation of national policies are needed.

    As an annual evidence-providing monitoring tool, the Watch aims to put public pressure on policy makers at the national and international level to take the right to food seriously, and to provide a systematic compilation of best practices for the realization of the right to food, while documenting where violations take place.

    As Ester Wolf, Policy Advisor on the Right to Food for Bread for All and member of the EAA Board of Directors states, “Right to food violations and chronic hunger are closely linked. Most victims of hunger and malnutrition are also victims of discrimination and exclusion, with no voice to be heard. The Watch is an important tool to make this silent hunger visible and to challenge decision makers to assume their responsibilities.”

    Notes for journalists:
    Published by Brot für die Welt, ICCO, FIAN International. Available in English, Spanish, French, 72 pages, at: www.fian.org/resources/documents/rtfn-watch/right-to-food-and-nutrition-watch-2009

    The launch takes place in the context of the Churches Week of Action on Food (http://www.e-alliance.ch/en/s/food/churches-week-of-action-on-food/ and the upcoming World Food Day, 16 October.

    The Watch is a joint effort of a consortium of human rights organizations, social movements and development agencies. The Consortium for the Watch 2009 is composed of Brot für die Welt, the Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO) and FIAN International as publishers, and World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), People’s Health Movement (PHM), Habitat International Coalition (HIC), World Organization against Torture (OMCT), DanChurchAid, Rights and Democracy, Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDHDD), and African Right to Food Network as partners. The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance joined the consortium in October 2009.

    For more information contact:
    Ester Wolf, Bread for All (Pain pour la prochain): +41 (0)21 614 77 18 (office) and ++41 (0)76 481 06 01 (mobile), languages: French, English, German

    Sara Speicher, Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, sspeicher@e-alliance.ch; (mobile) +44 7821 860 723Jastine Barrett, World Organization Against Torture, jb@omct.org, tel: +41 22 809 4923;

The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on food and HIV and AIDS. The Alliance is based in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, see http://www.e-alliance.ch/

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