Statement | 03-07-2014
Monitoring and Accountability Nutrition

Civil society demands greater participation in policy processes

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) express their serious concerns with a multi-stakeholder model in the International Conference on Nutrition 2 process, which brings private sector parties and CSO actors on the same footing

In an informal statement to the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) Joint Working Group (JWG), civil society organizations express concerns about the growing danger of their limited participation in policy processes, and also reiterate their demand to establish a Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) that facilitates the engagement of CSOs within ICN2 processes.

The statement highlights the "non-state" actor model adopted for the meeting brings powerful economic actors into policy-making discussions on the same footing with public-interest civil society organizations, which ignores a fundamental difference and blurs the lines between those who work for public interest and those who do not, and by mandate cannot.

It also expresses grave concerns over this "stakeholderisation", as it may result in a loss of democratic principles, and divert attention from the role of corporations in causing malnutrition in all forms and the urgent need for public regulation of their activities. Moreover, this model blunts necessary political conflicts, and brings TNCs in as the indispensable 'stakeholder' in any policy-making arena, factor which could simultaneously destroy the accountability of the UN to the people and the people's trust into the United Nations system. In terms of the ICN2 outcome, this approach may result in a policy document not in line with the best interest of the affected populations.

The letter ends with a set of questions to the ICN2 Joint Working Group members and a restatement of the demand for the institution of a Civil Society Mechanism, which could guarantee the participation of all public interest CSOs in the ICN2 process, with special attention given to those representing the most affected and their social movements.

See below to download the CSO statement with signatories