Governments met in the FAO Headquarters in Rome from 10-12 October to finalize the Rome Political Declaration and the Framework for Action for the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2). After 22 years, civil society organizations (CSOs) were expecting significant progress to address the urgent problem of the more than 200 million children who suffer from acute and chronic malnutrition, the 800 million suffering from undernourishment and the 500 million adults with obesity. CSOs consider the outcomes of this negotiation to be totally inadequate to confront the root causes of malnutrition and call into question the lack of commitment of the States to make a real step forward in the fight against malnutrition in all its forms.
The ICN2 negotiations failed to recognize that the current hegemonic food system and agro-industrial production model are not only unable to respond to the existing malnutrition problems but have contributed to the creation of different forms of malnutrition and the decrease of the diversity and quality of diets. Unfair trade agreements, lack of investment in small-scale food production and support to agro business models, have led to displacement of small-scale producers all over the world. Marketing of ultra-processed products, high in energy, sugar and salt, has contributed to the surge of obesity in the world. At the same time, unethical practices by breastmilk-substitute producers continue to undermine the life-saving practice of breastfeeding. The conference also failed to recognize gender inequality and women’s rights violations (child marriage, adolescent pregnancy, violence against women, inter alia) as one of the root causes of women and child malnutrition.
How can we expect a political declaration based on such a flawed diagnosis to serve as the basis for an effective and coherent framework for action?