Coveted lands and starving populations
At the 37th session of the FAO’s Committee on World Food Security (CFS) held in Rome from October 17 to 22, 2011, a report by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE), commissioned last year, was released exposing a worrying situation concerning a complex system that appears, for now, to evolve at the detriment of over 2 billion people.
In the “Summary and Recommendations for Policy Makers,” the introduction states: “Yet land is a different, since it provides a livelihood to more than 2 billion smallholders, many of whom are poor and food insecure.” The report emphasizes the prominent role that small farm holders have played over the past five years during our current “land rush.”
Moreover, it is a question of recognizing the “rights of women, social groups relying on the commons (grazing, woodlands, wetlands), ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples” whose rights are particularly insecure due to the increasing pressure exerted on the land. These pressures are largely the result of international investments that lack transparency in their transactions, which tend to obscure food security issues in host countries.
As famine spreads across the Horn of Africa and knowing that “50 to 80 million hectares of land have been subject to negotiations by international investors, much of it in low income countries” within the last five years – two thirds of which are in sub-Saharan Africa – it is vital that we place Human Rights at the very heart of the problem.