Rich Countries to Use Food as a Weapon on Gender

By | October 27, 2023

ROME, October 27 (C-Fam) The Committee on World Food Security, adopted a set of gender guidelines that makes sexual and reproductive health and intersectional policies a component of national and international food security.

The diplomatic body responsible for food security adopted the new guidelines this week after nearly four years of tense sometimes acrimonious debates. Traditional countries successfully fought to take out references to abortion and homosexual/trans issues in the guidelines, including references to “sexual orientation and gender identity,” but they were unable to remove the more ambiguous terms “sexual and reproductive health” and “multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination,” which are routinely used by progressive countries to promote abortion and homosexual/trans policies.

The guidelines will be used in programs of the World Food Program, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and other UN agencies involved in food security. The inclusion of ambiguous terms in the guidelines will allow wealthy progressive countries and UN agencies to leverage international food programs to impose abortion and homosexual/trans issues.

In addition to removing the most controversial terms, traditional delegations were also successful in adding several paragraphs that affirm the sovereign prerogatives of countries to implement the guidelines. It remains to be seen how effective how such caveats can be.

Several progressive delegations lamented that the guidelines did not expressly refer to homosexual/trans issues. At the same time, they also highlighted the guidelines as an overall progressive achievement.

A representative of the European Union, speaking during the adoption of the guidelines, declared the EU’s intention to operationalize the gender guidelines in its internal and external food security policies.

“Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is a priority of the European Union. We are therefore ready to use these Voluntary Guidelines and supporting the dissemination, use and application of the Guidelines in the development, enhancement and implementation of EU policies at the EU regional and national levels, as well as in the EU’s external actions,” she said.

She acknowledged that the guidelines are non-binding, and that each country would implement them according to their national priorities, but she emphasized that they must nevertheless head in the “direction traced out” in the guidelines.

A representative of UN Women, who spoke during the adoption of the guidelines called the guidelines a “crucial normative tool” and said they would “transform” food security.

A representative of Colombia went further and said the gender guidelines were part of a broader effort to use the concept of gender to make a “deep change to how we understand society.”

Indonesia’s delegate, speaking on behalf of Algeria, Cameroon, Kuwait, Malaysia, the Russian Federation, Sudan, and Senegal, expressed their disappointment with the use of the controversial terms.

“Despite the efforts to construct a universally and consensually agreed elements, the Voluntary Guidelines contains a concept that does not necessarily reflect universal consensus of all member states,” they said in reference to “multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.”

A Delegate from Malaysia told the Committee on World Food Security that he felt “compelled” to express a reservation on such ambiguous terms. He emphasized that these terms should be avoided in the future.

“It is significant to ensure that the terminologies used in any future negotiations receive consensus from all Members,” he said.