SE063 Using the Right to Food to build Public Policies for Sustainable Food Systems and Nutrition: What support is expected from the CFS, the RBAs and other specialized UN agencies?

Organizers

  • Friends of Right to Food (Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Norway, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland and Portugal)

Last year, the Global Thematic Event to monitor the use and application of the Right to Food Guidelines presented during CFS provided an important glimpse into how laws, policies, and strategies supporting the Right to Food are being used in different countries and regions to address hunger and malnutrition.

As a follow up to this important experience, this event will be an opportunity to highlight the specific way in which countries use Right to Adequate Food to also address malnutrition. This can be an interesting input to the ongoing process to develop Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition.

This side event, organized by the informal group of Friends of the Right to Food in Rome, will provide a space for sharing experiences and proposals in the integration of the right to adequate food as a guiding principle for the elaboration of public policies. It will start off with a synthesis of the multiple challenges that need to be addressed, and will then discuss the key questions with experiences from Member States, including:

  1. Is the progressive realization of the Right to Food a way to also address malnutrition challenges, especially undernutrition?
  2. What support is expected from the CFS, the RBAs and other specialized UN agencies such as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights?

Key speakers/presenters

Opening remarks

  • Minister Plenipotentiary Kálman Zoltán, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the RBAs

Moderator

  • Dr. Liliane Ortega, Chair of the OEWG on Food Systems and Nutrition

Panelists

  • Ms Alice Gisèle Sidibe-Anago, Deputy Permanent Representative of Burkina Faso to FAO
  • H.E. Víctor Suárez, Undersecretary for Food and Competitiveness of Mexico
  • Dr. Hasil Sembiring, Senior researcher of Center for research and development of food crops, Ministry of Agriculture of Republic of Indonesia
  • Mr. Alberto Broch, Representative of CONTAG (National Confederation of Workers in Agriculture), Brazil, CSM
  • Ms. Breda Gavin-Smith, Global Public Health Nutrition Manager, Sight and Life, PSM

Closing remarks

  • Mrs. Hilal Elver, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

Main themes/issues discussed  

Last year, the Global Thematic Event to monitor the use and application of the Right to Food Guidelines presented during CFS provided an important glimpse into how laws, policies, and strategies supporting the Right to Food are being used in different countries and regions to address hunger and malnutrition. 

As a follow up to this important experience, this event represented an opportunity to highlight the specific way in which countries use the right to food to also address malnutrition. The side event also offered an interesting input to the ongoing process to develop Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition. 

This side event, organized by the informal group of Friends of the Right to Food in Rome, provided a space for sharing experiences and proposals in the integration of the right to adequate food as a guiding principle for the elaboration of public policies. It discussed the multiple challenges that need to be addressed, and the key questions with experiences from Member States, including: 

  • Is the progressive realization of the Right to Food a way to also address malnutrition challenges, especially undernutrition?
  • What support is expected from the CFS, the RBAs and other specialized UN agencies such as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights?

At the end of the event, the audience was given the chance to interact with the panel, share their experiences and views.

Summary of key points

First off the opening remarks highlighted how the Right to Food Guidelines should be used as an overarching principles of the Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition. 

Then, the moderator introduced the side-event, its objective and the expected outcome. She stressed the importance of an informal group such as the Friends of the Right to Food in Rome to come together under the thematic interest of the right to food to contribute to it being properly understood and addressed in the work of the RBAs, CFS to name a few.

Immediately after, she requested the five different panelists to share their views on the two key questions outlined above. 

Each country experience presented how the right to adequate food was instrumental to address malnutrition through effective public policies and programmes. 

Burkina Faso, remarked how food while often available is not always accessible and that operationalizing the right to food through public policies for sustainable food systems and nutrition requires different levels of protection, starting with constitution, laws, policies, programmes and projects. The main challenges to do so are often institutional, political as well as related to capacity. 

Mexico’s intervention also stressed the importance to move from constitutional protection of the right to food to concrete implementation through policies and programmes that address adequate nutrition and issues of obesity, overweight as well as NCDs. Also, participatory institutions and coordination mechanisms can greatly facilitate the design, implementation and monitoring of human rights-based policies across all sectors. Finally, purchase power was and decent work were also mentioned as key to the realization of the right to food. 

Indonesia, shared the accomplishment of approving a Food Security and Nutrition Law 18/2012 and 17/2015. With these legal frameworks in place, the country is contributing to physical, economic and social sustainability to its population. Results are visible in the rankings of the FSN index where the country moved from 74 to 65 in 2018. 

The CSM through a Brazilian representative, shared the experience of the country’s well-known CONSEA which ensured multi-stakeholder dialogue, participation and coherent policy-making across different sectors. The implementation of the right to food was not just an economic vision but also a socio-cultural one that would affect all development policies and resource-mobilization efforts. The importance of CFS was highlighted to place the right to food high on the agenda. 

The representative from PSM, reminded how the Right to Food Guidelines talk about respect, protect and fulfil as obligations of State to ensure the realization of human rights. In the Private Sector sometimes the misconception is about thinking that the right to food equals charity and handouts. The need to increase language and capacity is of paramount importance and the role of foundations and the private sector is crucial. 

The UN Special Rapporteur wrapped up the event reminding of the importance of country commitments, international binding normative and the breadth of sectors that can affect the realization of the right to food. In the context of CFS efforts to carry on the policy convergence process culminating in new Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition must heavily draw upon the experience and policy knowledge gathered around the 15 years of implementation of the Right to Food Guidelines and the role of the RBAs, especially FAO, to this endeavor. 

Key take away messages

  • The Right to Food Guidelines should be used as an overarching principles of the Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition
  • Food is an issue of access, not just availability and affordability
  • Challenges to addressing human rights in food systems and nutrition can be resource-related, institutional and political, often time due to lack of capacity and will
  • There is the need to move from a constitutional protection of the right to food to concrete implementation through laws, policies and programmes
  • Participatory institutions and coordination mechanisms as well as multi-stakeholder platforms at all levels, can greatly facilitate the design, implementation and monitoring of human rights-based policies across all sectors
  • CFS is key to ensure the right to food guides policy convergence processes addressed by Member countries and other stakeholders
  • The right to food can be negatively or positively addressed by an infinite number of sectors and themes. The Right to Food Guidelines present at least 19 areas through which the right to food can be ensured
CFS 46 Side Event: SE063 Using the Right to Food to build Public Policies for Sustainable Food Systems and Nutrition: What support is expected from the CFS, the RBAs and other specialized UN agencies?

 

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