Commonly referred to as ‘corporate capture’, the control exerted by businesses has skyrocketed. Particularly present since the food-price volatility crisis shook the world in 2007/08, this reality is putting human rights at great risk.
As demonstrated by the diverse predicaments the world has faced in the last decades, the present economic model is unable to guarantee the conditions for national governments to fulfill their human rights obligations. Likewise, it appears to give priority to corporate interests over the realization of peoples’ rights, especially the right to food and nutrition. In a world where 795 million people will continue to suffer from undernourishment while half a billion keep suffering from obesity, communities worldwide see the prevention of corporate capture as a critical issue.
The Right to Food and Nutrition Watch, a renowned annual civil society-led peer publication, launched today at the FAO Headquarters in Rome, analyzing some of these key issues. Entitled “Peoples’ Nutrition Is Not a Business”, it will put nutrition under the spotlight, exposing the impact of business operations on peoples’ livelihoods. Nutrition will be assessed from a human rights perspective, going beyond the mere measurement of nutrients in food and human bodies and considering the socio-economic and cultural context in which human beings feed themselves.
This year, WhyHunger is thrilled that Jess Powers, Director of the Nourish Network for the Right to Food, has written an article for inclusion in the publication titled, “The Right to Food in the US: The Need to Move Away from Charity and Advance Towards a Human Rights Approach.” In it she discusses that frontline alternative approaches must also push for comprehensive and integrated food and agriculture policy to advance the right to adequate food and nutrition.
Commenting on the publication, Flavio Valente, FIAN International’s Secretary General, says: “This year’s edition describes peoples’ struggle to retake ownership of their lives and bodies from transnational corporations. Here, nutrition is not confined to medical and technical domains, but extended to critical political and systemic dimensions that can ensure diverse, wholesome, sustainable and culturally adequate diets. The Watch uncovers the subtle but appalling corporate abuse and impunity around the human right to food and nutrition, and provides a series of recommendations for States to prevent and punish initiatives that hamper the enjoyment of human rights”.
“Peoples’ Nutrition Is Not a Business” delves into the competing visions of nutrition, the causes of malnutrition and the policy responses, both behind the scenes and in the public sphere. Considering the specific adversities women and girls face in their everyday lives, the Watch also draws attention to the link between the right to adequate food and nutrition and the full realization of the rights of women and girls. “After all, corporate capture affects women and girls’ effective participation in political, economic and social life, and impedes their role in the transformation of unequal gender-based power relations,” Valente concludes.