ICN2: Can the world get its act together on nutrition?

Nov 21 – The Road Ahead

2014-11-21 Group Picture 1

The Civil Society and Social Movements at ICN2 issued their formal statement today – see links below.

“We reaffirm that nutrition can only be addressed in the context of vibrant and flourishing local food systems that are deeply ecologically rooted, environmentally sound and culturally and socially appropriate. We are convinced that food sovereignty is a fundamental pre-condition to ensure food security and guarantee the human right to adequate food and nutrition. In this context, it is necessary to reaffirm the centrality of small-scale and family food producers as the key actors and drivers of local food systems and the main investors in agriculture. Their secure access to, and control over, resources such as land, water and aquatic resources, adequate mobility routes, local seeds, breeds and all other genetic resources, technical and financial resources, as well as social protection, particularly for women, are all essential factors to ensure diversified diets and adequate nutrition.”


Nov 20 – Pope calls for Solidarity


Pope Francis strongly criticized nations for lacking the spirit of solidarity that denies dignity to the marginalized and impoverished – and condemned the political and economic pressures that prevent us from tackling the challenge. He also called for ending hunger as key to saving the planet, referencing the quote “God always forgives. The Earth never forgives. We must take care of Sister Earth – Mother Earth – or she will unleash destruction. (His prepared remarks, in Spanish, is here.

Yesterday’s session adopted the Rome Declaration and Framework for Action, and today issued an infographic

Civil Society has been given three more short speaking slots for this afternoon’s plenary.

Nov 19 – ICN2 Officially Opens

As world leaders begin to make their opening statements and as the CSO Forum finalizes its text for its 15-min speaking slot on Friday morning, a team of social activists made a dramatic – and brief demonstrations – to delegates and all the media present – showing the number of children who have died of hunger since the start of the conference. Although FAO guards politely chased us all off, they did so only after the media completed their interviews!



The woman speaking is Yatziri Zepeda Medina, director of Proyecto Alimente, a part of the Pachamama Alliance.


November 17: Preparatory CSO Forum


I’m honored to be representing The Hunger Project here in Rome for the preparatory CSO Forum and the full ICN2 intergovernmental session. The CSO Forum includes 150 representatives from both NGOs and social movements around the room. For the past year, NGOs have been meeting to prepare a common vision for the future of global action for nutrition – well described in the attached Vision Statement.

ICN2 logoThe CSO Forum was opened by the head of FAO and the head of nutrition for WHO, the two co-sponsoring agencies of the ICN2.

The Forum participants have tremendously diverse viewpoints – particularly as it relates to the private sectors. Many groups have fought for 30 years against abusive marketing of breast-milk substitute products and are deeply skeptical of the private sector; while other groups support dialogue or partnership with corporations. The vision statement, however, focuses on four pillars on which we all agree: (1) the importance of taking a human-rights-based approach including full women’s rights, (2) life-cycle approach to end malnutrition in all its forms, (3), sovereign local food systems, (4) democratic governance for good follow-up.

There is growing consensus that the body for follow-up should be a strengthened Committee on Food Security (CFS). The CFS has not been strong on nutrition, but it has excellent participatory mechanisms for civil society, and a separate platform for the private sector.