Working together for a renewed commitment to the Right to Food
2 July 2014, Rome - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva met today with Hilal Elver, the newly appointed Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food of the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) and agreed to work together on their complementary mandates.
As 2014 marks ten years since the adoption of the “Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security,” Graziano da Silva and Elver discussed progress made so far in implementing the guidelines as well as the challenges that still remain.
FAO's Director-General congratulated Elver in her appointment and thanked her for her participating in a roundtable dialogue on the guidelines and their implementation held today at FAO.
Elver said she aims at making the Right to Food principles more visible and understandable. “I want them to be not only words in constitutions,” she said.
Civil Society essential to reach the Right to Food
The Special Rapporteur noted the major role civil society can play in achieving the Right to Food for all. “If we want to make the Right to Food an applicable right, we absolutely need civil society,” she said, adding that too frequently there is a “disconnect" between policy-makers and global institutions and those working at the local level.
Elver described Brazil's Hunger Zero programme, which Graziano da Silva was instrumental in creating, as a "extremely good model" for other countries.
The Rapporteur expressed support for the upcoming high-level, 2nd International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), which FAO and the World Health Organization are co-organizing. “Bringing together the two organizations on this issue is extremely important. Food policies and health policies are extremely connected,” she said.
Elver reported that her priorities as Special Rapporteur include “focusing on the gender perspective and in young children aged between 0 and 2.” “This means not only working to ensure that children are free from hunger but also guaranteeing that kind of food they consume is nutritious", which she said "is important for the development of the human body, as well for the well-being of future generations”.