Three new Briefs launched by the project Our Food, Our Future highlight how food is interlinked with every aspect of human life and how much more remains to be done to fight inequalities and human rights violations in food systems, as well as to build more sustainable policies and practices that work for people and the planet.

Food sustainability and the access to safe, affordable, and nutritious food is not only enshrined in international law but it is critical to achieving many other human rights. Nevertheless, the number of people without access to adequate food has been progressively on the rise since 2017 and has worsened especially with the pandemic, with SDG 2 increasingly far from being achieved.

In this scenario, we witness a disregard of the underlying and systemic causes of food insecurity, high asymmetries that have been exacerbated by the growing concentration of power in big agribusiness groups that control global value chains, and many cases of human rights’ violations that range from disrespect for labour rights along supply chains, to land grabbing and persecution of local communities’ activists and/or environmental protection defenders.

A highly unequal distribution of food and productive resources, as well as the current organisation of food systems and functioning of supply chains raise questions about respect for human rights, justice and equality.Brief “Food and Human Rights”

Poverty is the primary cause of food insecurity, but both are exacerbated by factors such as violent conflict or climate change. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the resulting war are having serious adverse repercussions for food insecurity in the world, particularly for countries where the situation was already fragile and for countries heavily dependent on imports from Ukraine and Russia, such as in Northern Africa and Eastern Africa. The rise of food and energy prices is combined with lower availability of basic foodstuffs on world markets and aggravated by food protectionism measures implemented by many countries, including in Europe.

The medium-term effects of the war will contribute to a geoeconomic reconfiguration of world food markets. Brief “Food and War”

All this unfolds against a background of climate emergency. Global food systems are currently underpinned by unsustainable exploitation of the planet’s resources, with the agrifood sector being the biggest polluter of water, responsible for more than 1/3 of global Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emissions and for nearly 90% of the world’s deforestation. The prevailing model, focused on large scale intensive and industrial agriculture, does not serve the objectives of promoting food sovereignty and ends up aggravating poverty and inequalities, especially in the most poor and vulnerable countries.

The focus has been on increasing agrifood production and its efficiency without adequate investment and support to other possible and alternative ways to eradicate hunger in the world. Brief “Food and Climate Change”

The Briefs point out some necessary efforts and policy changes to face the current challenges and reshape food systems towards greater resilience, justice and sustainability, so that they can be a fundamental driver of inclusive and sustainable development.

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