Civil Society Mechanism's intervention in CFS plenary on “Water for Food Security and Nutrition"

Civil society would like to deliver three core points:

First, we would like to welcome and commend the HLPE report “Water for Food Security and Nutrition”, and the CFS for taking up this critical issue. This is the first time that the CFS systematically looked at water and linkages between the realization of the right to food and the right to water, and the implications for other indivisible human rights obligations. The report highlights the value of water as common public wealth, as well as its centrality in ecosystem functions and territories.

The report adopts a human rights framing, prioritizing the rights and needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized populations, including special emphasis on small-scale food producers and workers. Given the transboundary nature of water, the report also raises the necessity of recognizing extraterritorial human rights obligations of states.

Second, Civil society thanks the rapporteur and the government delegates for the inclusive and transparent decision-making process towards the decision box recommendations. We are happy to see many important commitments by all actors reflected in the final decision box text.

The decision box reaffirms commitments to the progressive realization of the right to adequate food as a central component to the work and mandate of the CFS, and puts forward the human right to water as a core aspect of the realization of the right adequate food, recognizing the multiple dimensions and uses of water. 

The decision box affirms the role of regulation to safeguard public interests and recognizes the ecosystem functions of water. There is a clear prioritization of vulnerable and marginalized populations, with specific recommendations for protecting women and girls, as well as access to drinking water in the workplace.

The reformed CFS is a unique and dynamic space that has been home to discussions and deliberations that are vital to the achievement of FSN and the realization of the Right to Adequate Food. The numerous constituencies of civil society have actively participated in all of these processes, here in Rome as well as in their respective countries and territories.

Although we are pleased with the outcomes of this decision box, however we perceive a diminishing of the sense of inspiration and creativity that the reform process brought to the CFS. 

Third, As the CFS, we have spent significant time and resources negotiating and agreeing on language, which we now use as basis for derogation rather than a basis to build stronger, more coherent policy towards food security and nutrition.

We are concerned with what seems to be a lack of institutional memory in CFS policy making. International human rights obligations, and specifically the rights of women and the rights of indigenous peoples have been recognized within the UN system, and reaffirmed in countless CFS policy documents- including most recently the Global Strategic Framework adopted in yesterday’s plenary session.

We regret that we have to continually remind CFS members of commitments made in other spaces, and which have been reaffirmed in the CFS as having direct bearing on the mandate of this body.

Finally, Civil society is committed to continue working with all members to help the CFS achieve its very important mandate- and our expectation is that our government policy makers will do their utmost to collaborate with us in achieving this mandate and building on the recommendations of the HLPE report on water and the decision box.

Once again, we would like to welcome the HLPE report and thank Mr. Lamaddelena for leading us through a long and complex negotiation process with tremendous patience, a sense of humor, and healthy cooperative spirit.

Thank you.

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