Tärkeä artikkeli: Big Foodia pitäisi kohdella kuten Big Tobaccoa ja rakentaa palomuuri sen ja ruokapolitiikan välille. Towards Building Comprehensive Legal Frameworks for Corporate Accountability in Food Governance
Given the failures of the UN Food Systems Summit and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to tackle the problems related to the corporate capture of food governance, this article calls for developing comprehensive legal frameworks for corporate accountability in food governance. In doing so, the authors identify key regulatory elements that need to be taken into account in food governance discussions. Their recommendations are borrowed from the guidance developed in the context of the negotiations for an International Legally Binding Instrument on TNCs and other Businesses with Respect to Human Rights, as well as in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the WHO Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors, and the WHO Financial Regulations and Financial Rules.
The UN is Ignoring a Root Cause of Hunger, Malnutrition, and Ecological Destruction
The activities of corporations affect diverse dimensions of the food systems. The impacts include pollution and destruction of ecosystems through deforestation, commercialization and use of agrotoxins, and the consequences of genetic engineering. They also encompass water and land availability and access; fisheries grabbing; destruction of small-scale food producers’ livelihoods, experiential wisdom, and cultural and spiritual practices; as well as destruction of the social fabric of their communities. The dominant food system abuses agrifood workers and exploits their labour. It dispossesses traditional knowledge by means of intellectual property rights and extinguishes small-scale food producers’ markets through abuse of its dominant position, oligopoly practices, and political interference. It nullifies and undermines consumers’ enjoyment of the rights to food and health through standardization of non-diverse, non-local, and unhealthy diets, using misleading marketing of ultra-processed and unhealthy edible products. Furthermore, corporations undermine democracy and food sovereignty through their influence in democratic processes for agrifood policy setting and legislation, as well as by funding questionable industry-backed science to protect and place profits over the public interest and wellbeing, from the local to the international level. These practices contribute to increasing rates of diet-related diseases, hunger, and malnutrition in the world.
These harmful effects are the result of the increasing concentration of power by corporations. Instead of addressing this problematic development, the United Nations has decided to align itself with corporate interests. Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development has been playing a catalytic role in establishing multi-stakeholder global partnerships through which corporations increasingly occupy public spaces for policymaking.Footnote1 The UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) convened by the UN Secretary-General is the most recent example of this alignment: business associations and corporate-driven platforms such as the World Economic Forum (WEF), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WCBSD), Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA); multi-stakeholder initiatives such as the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Scaling-Up Nutrition (SUN); leading corporate philanthropies such as Rockefeller, Gates, EAT, and Stordalen Foundations; and corporate-friendly scientists and international NGOs such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and CARE have dominated the Summit process.
Despite the strong call of social movements, other civil society organizations and the Special Rapporteur on the right to food (Fakhri 2021a, b) to address corporate power as a core topic of the Summit, UNFSS organizers failed to do so. Concerns regarding the lack of Conflicts of Interest (CoI) measures, accountability mechanisms, and transparency protocols were constantly overlooked and circumvented in the Summit discourse. Recommendations to introduce vital protective measures that could have ensured the Summit remained protected from a profit-driven agenda and was centered on people-driven vision were repeatedly shared by civil society organizations, academics, and food justice advocates serving in various formal and informal capacities from within and outside the Summit modalities. These were sidelined or deprioritized, which comes as no surprise considering the scope of entities that served as the key players and decision-makers throughout the Summit process.
Practices in the UNFSS were deeply problematic, but it is not the only international forum where corporations are exercising undue influence in the UN bodies responsible for food and agriculture.