In October of this year, the Committee on Global Food Security (CFS) is expected to adopt the new Framework for Action [to ensure] Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crises (FfA).
The final stage of negotiations of the draft FfA just completed two rounds of a CFS Open Ended Working Group in Rome during 7–8 and 18–22 May 2015. The negotiations and interim consultations spanned two years and involved multiple stakeholders, including UN member states, UN agencies and private sector representatives, as well as global civil society through the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM). HIC-HLRN took part in both rounds, and has formed part of the High Level Expert Forum (HLEF) on food security in protracted crises since the beginning of that as a new work stream in 2012.
This global policy guide promises to usher in a new approach that formally operationalizes humanitarian, development and human rights principles in a harmonized approach to resolve the root causes of food insecurity and malnutrition in the world’s various protracted crises. Another added value of the new FfA is its focus on efforts to ensure that communities and their food systems are “resilient” enough to withstand the shocks of coming crises.
The pursuit of resilience and the complementarity of the three approaches to realizing food security and nutrition in protracted crises was a prominent theme of the HLEF. It promised to introduce the much-needed hybrid approach combining the short–term provision of immediate needs (the emergency relief and humanitarian approach) and the longer-term support for local communities, institutions and food systems (development approach) with the preventive and remedial aspects of the consistent respect, protection and fulfillment of human rights and corresponding obligations (the human rights approach).
This triad is not a new concept, but crystalized most clearly in the new millennium with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s thesis In Larger Freedom(2005), which led to UN structural reform, establishing the Human Rights Council and raising (1) human rights to the same operational level as (2) peace and security and (3) forward development. Those three complementary values also reflect the essential purposes of the United Nations, as spelled out in the UN Charter.
Although state’s human rights obligations are enshrined in international law, preserving that vision turned out to be a struggle for civil society, particularly with the resistance of certain states to the mention of human rights in the document. Despite their relevance to means to prevent and remedy food insecurity and malnutrition in protracted crises, the reference to extraterritorial obligations (ETOs) of states and transitional justice processes proved the most contentious. Much effort was required to find compromise language on the matter of occupied peoples’ sovereignty over their natural resources, as well as nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual identity and orientation.
The final versionof the FfA reflects the consensus reached on 11 principles and related actions in (1) confronting manifestations of food insecurity and malnutrition in protracted crises, (2) the specific challenges in that context and (3) their underlying causes. The FfA negotiations stopped short of reaching consensus on a meaningful Action Plan. However, the FfA of principles and broad delineation of approaches remains a basis for developing further guidance for food security and nutrition operations during protracted crises both in the bureaus and in the field.
See HIC-HLRN’s relevant briefing paper “Contextualizing States’ Extraterritorial Obligations toward Ending Food Insecurity and Malnutrition in Protracted Crises”
Photo: A woman salvages some oranges from a plantation destroyed by Israeli troops in Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip, 20 May 2003. Using bulldozers, the Israeli troops uprooted thousands of orange trees and other crops before they pulled back to the edges of the town after a five day seizure in which they killed at least eight Palestinians and destroyed fifteen houses.