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The strength of the struggles lies in unity

With the conviction that it is fundamental to converge, deepen ties and develop common principles to strengthen the struggle, the Global Network for the Right to Food and Nutrition (GNRtFN) held its fifth global meeting in Viotá, Colombia.

With representatives from 23 organizations from 16 different countries, the members and supporters of the GNRtFN pointed with concern to the shrinking commitment by States and institutions to safeguard the right to food, as well as to the increasing corporate power over people’s diets and lives. As false solutions to hunger and malnutrition are on the rise, is in unity where the strength of the struggles lies.

Denouncing corporate influence

In a final declaration, the 30 participants denounced increasing corporate concentration and all forms of colonialism and occupation. In their view, these practices must be monitored and governments must use legal mechanisms to fulfill their human rights obligations, including their obligation to regulate business activities. “We are rights holders, not merely interested parties, and as such we demand an end to the impunity of those who violate human rights. The rights of people should come before the interests of corporations,” reads the declaration.

By the same token, procedures and techniques of multistakeholder platforms, like the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) initiative propose the involvement of food and related industries in programs and planning with no adequate conflict of interest safeguards.  Not only can this lead to detrimental consequences for people’s health but also to compromising human rights.

Malnutrition, food insecurity and hunger everywhere

From the refugee camps in Western Sahara and the mountains of Oaxaca, to the rural plains of the Mid-West in the United States and the barrios of Spanish cities, hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition persist. In other words, such predicaments are not limited geographically but manifest in various forms across the world. 

Currently, malnutrition and hunger are mostly being tackled through technical solutions, charity and food aid. This approach does not address the root causes of the problem but only temporarily relieves or covers up side-effects. The GNRtFN stressed that human rights are interdependent and indivisible and therefore the systemic violation of other rights, such as to land, water and other natural resources and livelihoods, to mention just a few, leads inevitably to communities going hungry and malnourished.

Deep-rooted patriarchy

Such indivisibility of rights is particularly relevant when it comes to women and girls. The network emphasized the obstacles women and girls face in each and every phase of their lives due to the persistence of patriarchal systems and approaches. “We are especially concerned that women, who are largely responsible for feeding the world, continue to live with violence, both physical and structural, having their rights continually violated in multiple forms simply because they are females”.

The network highlighted that the structural violence against women includes gender inequity: in order for them to fully and authentically participate in inclusive and democratic decision making, this must be overcome.  Gender-based discrimination is also applicable to traditional systems, which largely limit their access to and control over land, cattle and water.  “The organizations present here are strongly committed to this effort and to feminism as the necessary path to equity,” the network stated.

In the next months, the GNRtFN will continue deepening ties, exchanging experiences and working together towards the convergence of activities and advocacy endeavors. It will also strengthen its role in all global spaces and introduce the proposals of the declaration in national and regional workshops and meetings.

You can read the declaration here

For more information, please contact secretariat[at]