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From the ground: Chocó. Hunger. SDG2 EN

by | May 28, 2020 | America, Gente | 0 comments

From the ground: Chocó. Hunger. SDG2
Lina Marcela Muñoz
Sociologist. Policies for equality

ODS2- ZERO HUNGER: Ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture.
Food is a right related to the right to life, health, security and food sovereignty. In the case of Colombia, the FAO states that 54% of the country’s families suffer from food insecurity, an issue that hits hard in the department of Chocó, where 91.4% of the population is victim of forced displacement, an aspect that increases the cycle of poverty and has repercussions on the violation of the related rights mentioned at the beginning.
The aggravating factor is that, since these are ethnic groups (recognized by the Colombian State), the community life project and the traditional modes of production are interrupted, generating changes or disappearance of cultural practices linked to food. This shows a triple victimization: the emotional ones related to the loss of their life project because of the conflict; the ones related to the loss of cultural practices of African and indigenous peoples and the material affectations as a consequence of the conflict that are worsened due to the absence of reparation measures. 
A notable aspect related to ODS2 are the diseases associated with poverty, conflict and hunger, which seem to affect mostly children, here we find acute diarrhea, parasitosis, anemia, among others. By 2018, more than 20 children had lost their lives as a result of severe malnutrition, the absence of drinking water, increased confinement due to the planting of anti-personnel mines and control of communities by armed actors, as well as the territory’s own difficulties in accessing health centres. In this regard, the State Council in Ruling 201600097 of 2017 recognizes the department of Chocó as the one with the highest rate of child mortality due to malnutrition and states the following.
“In the course of the year 2016 they died: (i) 27 children in the municipality of Bojayá, (iii) 24 in the municipalities of Bajo Baudó, Riosucio and Pie Pató, all for lack of comprehensive health and nutrition care … … the indigenous population [of the department of Chocó] has been facing a dire situation in recent years that particularly and generally affects girls, children and adolescents as a vulnerable population, causing serious affections to legal protections such as life, personal integrity and health related to processes of poor nutrition (understood as consumption of contaminated water and poor nutrition)”.
He added that according to official statistics, including the 2010 National Nutrition Survey of the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare, in Chocó the percentage of overall malnutrition is double the national average and the prevalence of child malnutrition is 2.6 points above the national average. Out of a total of 80,000 children under five, 12,000 children suffer from severe malnutrition, most of them children of single mothers or mothers under 15, and 9,000 of them are indigenous, from the indigenous communities that are claimants, who die from hunger and diseases such as tuberculosis.
He noted that, of 65,000 indigenous Chocoanos, 20,000 are under the age of five, and only 2,000 of them are cared for in food recovery centers. This means that 18,000 indigenous Choco children are dying in difficult conditions of starvation. 
According to a survey carried out in 2015 by the FAO in Colombia, more than 4 million people are suffering from hunger, which is equivalent to 8.8% of the population. In contrast, according to the National Planning Department, 9.6 million tons of food are wasted every year (34% of what is produced) due to the absence of policies that favour production and commercialisation of the rural population while food imports are reinforced.
Given this panorama, the goal set by Colombia in relation to the ODS2, which consists of reducing food waste by 50%, as well as reducing the number of deaths of children due to malnutrition by 1.6 percentage points by 2030 (that is, from 6.8 deaths to 5 per 100,000 children), is dishonourable, since it continues to condemn the systematic death of the population, mainly children, in Chocó due to its high level of vulnerability (extreme poverty and violence).
In line with the right to food, it is important to take up again some conclusions built in a participatory manner during 2019 in the diagnosis with the DESCA approach carried out by Proclade Colven in 2019:
“Both indigenous peoples and afro-descendants see their right to food violated insofar as they refer to changes generated in traditional modes of production from violent actions in the framework of the armed conflict. These changes also refer to the incorporation of other food products that were not part of their uses and customs, which is related to diseases of various kinds.
The imposition of an extractivist model is far removed from the practices and visions of ethnodevelopment, which has implied changes in consumption, production practices and commercialization.
The effects of the conflict present in these territories and which directly affect the achievement of adequate food sovereignty and security, where the national and global economic model, as well as the dynamics of illegal productivity, impose their conditions above the needs and autonomous determinations of the communities”. 
In this way, it contributes to the construction of strategies that leverage traditional livelihoods as a strategy to resist food insecurity, the risks of physical/cultural disappearance, the onslaught of conflict and extractive industries.
 Lina Marcela Muñoz
Specialist in public policies for equality
Translated with (free version)


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