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1.1. Complementarity between different branches of law

Several branches of international law contain norms that are relevant for the right to adequate food in emergency situations: human rights law, humanitarian law, refugee law, criminal law, economic law and environmental law. All these bodies of norms must be taken into account in construing the normative content of the right to adequate food. Studies on the right to adequate food are often limited to the human rights law provisions directly concerning that right, while humanitarian operators often refer only to international humanitarian law. However, a comprehensive approach is necessary in order to strengthen respect, protection and fulfilment of the right to adequate food in emergency situations. This chapter reviews the relevant branches of international law, analyses to what extent they are applicable to emergency situations, and explores their complementarity.

Furthermore, principles concerning the right to adequate food and/or concerning food aid are spelt out in international codes of conduct prepared by international and non-governmental organizations. These principles are not legally binding and do not constitute part of international law. However, they are referred to in this chapter as they may provide insights on the interpretation of the right to adequate food and/or on the design and implementation of food aid programmes.

1.2. International human rights law

1.2.1. Overview

Human rights law is the branch of international law that affirms the universal rights and freedoms to which all human beings are entitled. Right-holders are individuals or groups that have certain entitlements (e.g. life, health, education, etc.) and protections (e.g. non-discrimination, right not to be subject to torture, etc.). For each right there is a corresponding duty to respect, protect and fulfil that right. The duty-bearers are all States bound by human rights law. Human rights law is based upon customary international law and international treaties, as well as soft-law instruments.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948, contains a list of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. Although the Declaration is not a legally binding treaty, it may be argued that it contains an authoritative interpretation of articles 55 and 56 of the United Nations Charter, which is a treaty binding for all UN member States. Furthermore, at least some of its provisions have become customary international law.

Human rights are also affirmed in international treaties, which are binding upon the States that ratified them: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Furthermore, human rights are protected by regional treaties and bodies: in Europe, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) and its Protocols, and the European Social Charter; in Africa, the Banjul Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights; in the Americas, the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR) and the Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Protocol of San Salvador).

Several human rights treaties and instruments recognize the right to adequate food, namely: the UDHR (art. 25); the ICESCR (art. 11(1)); the CEDAW (art. 12(2)); the CRC (arts. 24(2)(c) and 27); and, at regional level, the Protocol of San Salvador (art. 12). Moreover, article 11(2) of the ICESCR guarantees the right to freedom from hunger, i.e. the right to the minimum nutritional intake ensuring survival (without the “adequacy” standard entailed by the right to adequate food).

In addition, since all human rights are interrelated and interdependent, the full realization of the right to adequate food is intertwined with the realization of other rights (including e.g. health and education). For instance, research has shown that countries guaranteeing freedom of thought and expression are less likely to experience famines, because of the pressure to act exercised on the government by the existence of a free press.[1] However, due to space and time constraints, this study focuses only on norms directly concerning the right to adequate food.

1.2.2. Ratification gaps and customary law

Human rights treaties are not ratified by all States. As of July 2002, for instance, the ICCPR had been ratified by 148 States, and the ICESCR by 145. However, it is widely accepted that some fundamental human rights are recognized, in whole or in part, under customary international law, and are thus binding for all States, irrespective of whether they have ratified human rights treaties.

Whether a human right is protected under customary law is to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, with regard to each right or aspect of it. The analysis is to be carried out on the basis of State practice and opinio juris (i.e. the conviction that a conduct constitutes a legal obligation under international law), as emerging at national and international level. Prohibition of slavery, genocide and torture are examples of customary law norms.

It may be argued that the right to adequate food, at least in its basic form of right to be free from hunger, is part of customary international law. Indeed, in that basic form, the right to food is directly linked to the right to life, which is one of the most widely recognized human rights. Moreover, international humanitarian law provisions that are relevant for the right to freedom from hunger, such as the prohibition of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare, are widely recognized as part of international customary law (see section 1.3 below).

1.2.3. Limitation and derogation clauses

Human rights law applies in peace and war, in ordinary periods as well as in emergencies. However, there are provisions in human rights law instruments which: (a) limit the scope of the protected human rights; and (b) provide for suspension of/derogation from certain rights in time of public emergencies.

Limitation clauses permit States lawfully to restrict the free exercise of human rights in order to protect public health, public safety and morals, to restore order, and to protect fundamental rights and freedoms of others. Examples of such provisions are article 29(2) of the UDHR and articles 12(3), 18(3), 21 and 22(2) of the ICCPR.

As for the right to adequate food, the ICESCR contains a general limitation clause, whereby the States Parties may subject the rights affirmed by the Covenant “only to such limitations as are determined by law only in so far as this may be compatible with the nature of these rights and solely for the purpose of promoting the general welfare in a democratic society” (art. 4). These requirements (determination by law; compatibility with the nature of the rights; general welfare purpose) condition and limit restrictions on economic, social and cultural rights.

Derogation clauses permit States to suspend some rights in narrowly determined situations, particularly situations of public emergency. For example, article 4(1) of the ICCPR states: “in time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation and the existence of which is officially proclaimed, the States parties to the present Covenant may take measures derogating from their obligations under the present Covenant to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with their obligations under international law and do not involve discrimination solely on the ground of race, colour, sex, language, religion or social origin”. Similar norms are contained in the American Convention (art. 27(1)) and in the European Convention (art. 15(1)). However, all these treaties list rights which cannot be derogated even in emergency situations (“absolute rights”; art. 4(2) of the ICCPR, art. 27(2) of the American Convention, and art. 15(2) of the European Convention). Under all these instruments, the right to life cannot be derogated.

The ICESCR does not contain any explicit derogation clause. In its basic form of right to freedom from hunger, the right to food is directly related to the non-derogable right to life, and cannot be suspended even in emergencies. As for the “adequacy” standard, it must be remembered that economic, social and cultural rights are to be realized “progressively” and “to the maximum of [the] available resources” of the State; therefore, it may be argued that emergency situations may justify a derogation from the adequacy standard.

1.2.4. Documents of human rights institutions

Human rights institutions (for the right to adequate food, particularly the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, CESCR) monitor the implementation of human rights protected under international law. Moreover, they adopt “General Comments” on the interpretation of treaty provisions. While not binding per se, these General Comments constitute the interpretation of the UN body institutionally responsible for monitoring the application of the treaty, and enjoy therefore a particular authority. Particularly relevant for the right to adequate food are General Comment 12 (“The Right to Adequate Food”) and General Comment 3 (“The Nature of States Parties Obligations”) of the CESCR.[2]

1.3. International humanitarian law

International humanitarian law is the branch of international law governing armed conflicts and other related situations (occupation). Its aim is to protect persons or property that are or may be affected by an armed conflict and to limit the rights of the parties to a conflict to use means and methods of warfare of their choice. Humanitarian law does not apply to emergency situations other than armed conflicts (namely natural disasters).

The main sources of international humanitarian law are the four 1949 Geneva Conventions and the two 1977 Additional Protocols.[3] Given the nearly universal ratification of the Geneva Conventions, it is widely accepted that the provisions of these treaties have acquired the status of international customary law, and are therefore binding upon all States irrespective of their ratification of the treaties. Indeed, in his 1993 Annual Report, the UN Secretary-General stated: “the part of conventional international law which has beyond doubt become part of international customary law is the law applicable to armed conflicts as endorsed in the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 [...]”[4]. On the other hand, ratification of the two Additional Protocols is less universal, and whether their provisions constitute norms of customary law must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Although international humanitarian law is not formulated to protect human rights, it is instrumental to realize the right to adequate food by prohibiting certain behaviour such as the starvation of civilians as a method of warfare (Additional Protocol I, art. 54, and Additional Protocol II, art. 14), and by regulating humanitarian assistance activities, including food and food-related aid programmes (e.g. Additional Protocol II, art. 18, Additional Protocol I, art. 70, Fourth Geneva Convention, art. 59, etc.).

International humanitarian law applies both to international armed conflicts (four Geneva Conventions, Additional Protocol I) and to internal armed conflicts (article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol II). Moreover, there is an inverse relationship between the degrees of applicability of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in emergencies not amounting to armed conflict, in internal armed conflicts and in international armed conflicts.

In situations of internal tensions and disturbances (such as riots, isolated or sporadic acts of violence and other acts of a similar nature which do not reach the level of armed conflict) or of natural disasters, international humanitarian law does not apply. Human rights law applies, subject only to possible limitations.

In non-international armed conflicts, a distinction must be made between conflicts under common article 3 and conflicts under Additional Protocol II. In both cases, international humanitarian law is automatically applicable whenever a conflict breaks out, with no need for any formal statement.

Article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions applies to all armed conflicts not of an international character occurring in the territory of a High Contracting Party, including both conflicts between government forces and dissident or other armed groups, and “anarchic conflicts” (i.e. armed conflicts between armed groups in the context of State breakdown[5]). Common article 3 is binding not only for ratifying States but also for all armed groups fighting within their territory (“... each Party to the conflict shall be bound ...”, art. 3(1)).

Additional Protocol II has more stringent requirements for application than common article 3:

Once these requirements are met, Additional Protocol II and common article 3 apply cumulatively.

In internal armed conflicts (both under common article 3 and under Additional Protocol I), human rights law applies, subject to limitations and derogations; however, the right to life and the right to freedom from hunger, among others, are non-derogable.

International armed conflicts are conflicts fought between the armed forces of two or more States. In these situations, the four 1949 Geneva Convention and Additional Protocol I apply. “The Convention[s] shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the said occupation meets no armed resistance” (common article 2(2))[6]. In international armed conflicts, human rights law is applicable, subject to the limitations and suspensions provided for by human rights law; however, the right to life and the right to freedom from hunger, among others, cannot be derogated.

In some cases, elements of both internal and international armed conflicts are combined, as in the case of internal conflicts where the armed forces of one or more foreign states intervene[7]. These cases are extremely complex and the applicability of rules governing international and non-international armed conflicts to the parties involved must be established depending on the facts of each case.

1.4. International criminal law

International law contains rules establishing the criminal responsibility of individuals for acts or omissions that constitute particularly serious violations of international law. Punishable crimes include genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The denial of food or access to food in well-specified, particularly serious circumstances could amount to one of these crimes (1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court - ICC Statute).

1.5. International refugee law and guiding principles on internal displacement

As man-made disasters are one of the main causes that force people from their homes, international refugee law, where applicable, can contribute to protect human rights in emergency situations, including right to adequate food.

At global level, the protection of refugees is provided by the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and by its 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. In the 1951 Convention, refugees are defined as “any person who [...], owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it” (art. 1). Therefore, fleeing a country where an armed conflict is taking place entails qualification as refugee only where these specific requirements (e.g. evidence of individual “well-founded fear of being persecuted”) are met.

The 1951 Convention does not limit the application of its provisions only to formally recognized refugees, and provides an important basis for standards of treatment for asylum-seekers (who may later be recognized as refugees).

The benefits provided under the various provisions of the 1951 Convention have different levels of applicability depending on the nature of the refugee’s sojourn or residence in the country. While some provisions envisage a minimum treatment for all refugees (for example, article 33, on non-refoulement), others extend the treatment enjoyed by nationals to refugees present “within” the country (for example, article 20, on rationing) and to “refugees lawfully staying in the territory” (for example, article 23, on public relief).

International protection of refugees is also provided by regional instruments, such as the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa and the 1984 Declaration of Cartagena adopted in the framework of the Organization of American States. Such regional instruments expand the definition of refugees to persons who flee their country of origin or nationality due to foreign aggression, foreign domination, and events seriously disturbing public order; the OAU Convention includes also occupation, while the Cartagena Declaration includes massive violations of human rights and domestic conflict (article I(2) of the OAU Convention and paragraph 3 of the Cartagena Declaration). Although the Declaration of Cartagena is not a legally binding international treaty, its provisions are widely recognized as reflecting customary law.

Unlike refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), i.e. persons displaced but not crossing an international border do not enjoy a special legal status under international law. Nevertheless, apart from domestic law, IDPs, as civilians, are protected by international humanitarian law in situations of armed conflict and remain protected by international human rights law. Indeed, Security Council Resolution 1296 (2000) “notes that the overwhelming majority of internally displaced persons and other vulnerable groups in situations of armed conflict are civilians and, as such, are entitled to the protection afforded to civilians under existing international humanitarian law” (para. 3). In 1998, the UN Representative of the Secretary-General on IDPs issued the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement[8]. While the principles per se are not legally binding, they draw on (binding) international humanitarian and human rights law[9]. Some of the principles are relevant for the right to adequate food in emergencies and for food aid (principles 1, 3, 4, 10, 18, 24 - 27, 30, etc.).

1.6. International environmental law

International environmental law is the branch of international law aimed at protecting the environment. Among its fundamental principles, it states the integration of environment protection in the development process (principle 4 of the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development) and regulates environmental impact assessment (e.g. principle 17 of the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development; article 14 of the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity; article 4(1)(f) of the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change; article 12 of the 1997 Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses; article 206 of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea; as well as numerous regional instruments). This study explores the relevance of these norms in relation to the design and implementation of food and food-related aid programmes.

1.7. International economic law

International economic law is the branch of international law that regulates economic relations among States, including trade, financial flows and other economic activities. International economic law is based on treaties, which are binding only for the States ratifying them. Commodity agreements are international treaties that regulate international trade in specified commodities, such as cocoa, coffee, grains, rubber, sugar, etc.

The International Grains Agreement 1995 consists of the Grains Trade Convention 1995 and of the Food Aid Convention 1995, which was subsequently renewed in 1999 (Food Aid Convention 1999). At the time of writing, the 1999 Convention had been ratified by seven States and by the EC and its member States. The objectives of the Food Aid Convention are “to contribute to world food security and to improve the ability of the international community to respond to emergency food situations and other food needs of developing countries” (art. I). The Convention contains quantitative commitments for States to supply food aid to countries affected by disasters and elaborates principles concerning the delivery of food aid.

Moreover, rules relevant for food aid are embodied in treaties annexed to the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (1994). The Agreement on Agriculture contains criteria to distinguish food aid from subsidisation of agricultural exports (which is permitted in a restricted number of circumstances and is subject to reduction commitments). Relevant provisions are also contained in the Ministerial Decision on Measures Concerning the Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on Least-Developed and Net Food-Importing Developing Countries (also annexed to the WTO Agreement).

The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement), which was also attached to the WTO Agreement, makes specific reference to guidelines and recommendations established by other international organizations in the realm of human, animal and plant life and health[10]. Such internationally referred standards then become the benchmarks in international trade, greatly enhancing their status. International food and food related aid, as far as these standards are concerned, fall under the concept of international trade. The SPS Agreement explicitly recognizes different sources of international standards in these fields, which are further described in section 1.8 below.

1.8. Other international instruments

Relevant provisions are also contained in other international instruments. Standards and guidelines developed by internationally recognized bodies are relevant to food and food related aid, especially international aid. These are not binding per se, but as discussed above in section 1.7., some of them are recognized in the SPS Agreement and thus become the accepted norms in international trade. They are regarded as benchmarks for national measures and regulations and enjoy separately the recognition of the membership of the standard-setting body itself. Where there is no national legislation, these standards could be used directly, in order to ensure the safety of international food and food related aid. The international standards of most relevance to food and food related aid are the following:

First, the Codex Alimentarius Commission develops standards regarding food safety and quality, including food additives, veterinary drug and pesticide residues, contaminants, methods of analysis and sampling, and codes and guidelines of hygienic practice.

Second, the Office international des épizooties (OIE), or World Organization for Animal Health, sets standards relevant to the import and export of animals and animal produce, including the International Animal Health Code (10th edition published in 2001) and the International Aquatic Animal Health Code (last revised in 2001).

Third, phytosanitary standards developed under the International Plant Protection Convention are important to control the introduction and spread of pests. Standards thus developed include those related to plant quarantine, pest risk analysis, certification and emergency measures.[11]

Furthermore, the Codex Alimentarius has also established a voluntary Code of Ethics for International Trade in Food, which provides some guidance. Its principal objective is to stop exporting countries and exporters from dumping poor-quality or unsafe food on to international markets, but it contains some explicit provisions for food aid.[12]

Finally, the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, applicable to UN and associated personnel and to UN operations, includes provisions applicable to the delivery of humanitarian consignments, including food aid[13].

1.9. United Nations resolutions

principles concerning humanitarian assistance are also embodied in United Nations resolutions. A distinction must be made between binding and non-binding resolutions. Non-binding instruments include resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly (e.g. Resolutions 43/131 of 1988, 45/100 of 1990 and 46/182 of 1991) and those adopted by the UN Security Council outside Chapter VII of the UN Charter (e.g. Resolution 1296 of 2000, affirming general principles concerning humanitarian crises). Although not legally binding, these resolutions spell out the fundamental principles to be followed by the institutions of the UN system when designing and managing relief programmes. Moreover, they provide guidance on application of international principles and may indicate the emergence of norms of customary international law. Finally, UN resolutions may be considered binding on the UN Secretariat, insofar at least that the resolutions are directed to it.

Binding resolutions are those adopted by the United Nations Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter (“Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression”). In recent years, the Security Council has adopted several Chapter VII resolutions on issues concerning humanitarian assistance, thus considering humanitarian crises and mass violations of human rights as a threat to international peace and security. This possibility is explicitly recognized in the above-mentioned Resolution 1296 of 2000, where the Security Council stated that “...the committing of systematic, flagrant and widespread violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in situations of armed conflict may constitute a threat to international peace and security...”, and reaffirmed “its readiness to consider such situations and where necessary, to adopt appropriate steps”. Chapter VII resolutions usually refer to specific situations of massive violation of human rights and humanitarian law; in this sense, they are mainly aimed at restoring respect for international law in those situations (e.g. by calling on States or other armed groups to allow access by humanitarian organizations), rather than at formulating rules of general application.

1.10. International conferences

Some international conferences have adopted documents containing provisions relevant to the right to adequate food in emergencies. These instruments are not legally binding. However, they express the trends prevailing in the international community and provide principles and guidelines for action (soft law). Particularly relevant for the right to adequate food are:

1.11. Codes of conduct adopted by NGOs and humanitarian agencies

Relevant principles and standards are also embodied in codes of conduct elaborated by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and humanitarian agencies. These documents are not legally binding and are not part of international law. Nonetheless, they are referred to in this study as they may provide useful insights on the interpretation and operationalization of certain aspects of the right to adequate food.

The NGO Code of Conduct on the Right to Adequate Food was proposed in September 1997 by three NGOs (FIAN, WANAHR and Institute Jacques Maritain International) and subsequently endorsed by over 800 NGOs. It clarifies the normative content of the right to adequate food and provides “general principles and guidelines for domestic and international implementation of the right to adequate food” on the part of the States and of other relevant actors (preamble and art. 1).

Furthermore, NGOs and international agencies have adopted codes of conduct concerning the design and implementation of humanitarian operations, which are applicable to food and food-related aid programmes. Among the most widely recognized codes are:

The 1994 Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief, adopted in 1994 by the ICRC and by NGO members of the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (SCHR)[14].

The 1998 Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response, developed by the Sphere Project Management Committee[15].

Table 1 - Applicable law and principles

Natural disasters

Internal tensions and disturbances

Internal armed conflicts under CA 3

Internal armed conflicts under AP II

International armed conflicts

Art. 11 ICESCR

Art. 6 ICCPR

CA 3

Art. 18 AP II

Art. 70 AP I

Art. 14 AP II

Art. 54 AP I

Art. 6 ICC Statute

Art.. 2 Genocide Convention

Art. 7 (2) ICC Statute

Art. 8(2)(b) (xxv) ICC Statute

UNSC Res. 1296 (2000)

UNGA Res. 46/182

[1] Jean Drèze and Amartya Sen, 1989, Hunger and Public Action, Oxford, Clarendon Press. It would be interesting to undertake further research and analysis on this issue, with particular regard to the 2000 drought in the Horn of Africa (where democratisation processes were underway in several States).
[2] Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment 12, The Right to Adequate Food, 12 May 1999, E/C.12/1999/5; Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment 3, The Nature of States Parties Obligations, 14 December 1990.
[3] Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field (I Geneva Convention); Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea (II Geneva Convention); Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (III Geneva Convention); Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War; Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Additional Protocol I); and Protocol Additional to The Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-international Armed Conflicts (Additional Protocol II).
[4] Report S/25704, 3 May 1993, paragraph 35.
[5] See for instance the conflict between rival militias in Somalia in the 1990s.
[6] Under article 1(4) of Additional Protocol I, the Conventions and the Protocol also apply to wars of national liberation, i.e. to “armed conflicts in which peoples are fighting against colonial domination and alien occupation and against racist regimes in the exercise of their right to self-determination”. The 1980 - 1988 Iran-Iraq war, the 1991 Gulf War, and the recent Ethiopia-Eritrea war were international armed conflicts. For the application of international humanitarian law, there is no need for a formal declaration of war by the parties; indeed, humanitarian law applies “even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them” (article 2(1) common to the four Geneva Conventions).
[7] E.g. the 1992 - 1995 conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina (where the armies of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and of the Republic of Croatia, although at different stages, intervened), and the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (where several neighbouring countries intervened in the internal armed conflict).
[8] Representative of the Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons, Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, issued in 1998 as an addendum to the Representative’s Report on Internal Displaced Persons (UN Doc. E/CN.4/1998/53), UN Doc. E/CN.4/1998/53/Add.2.
[9] See Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, Introductory Note by the Representative of the Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons.
[10] Understanding the Codex Alimentarius, FAO/WHO, Rome, 1999.
[11] FAO, 2002. Law and sustainable development since Rio: Legal trends in agriculture and natural resource management, Legislative Study No. 73, Rome.
[12] FAO/WHO, 1999. Understanding the Codex Alimentarius, Rome.
[13] For the purposes of the Convention: (a) “United Nations personnel” means: (i) Persons engaged or deployed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as members of the military, police or civilian components of a United Nations operations; (ii) Other officials and experts on mission of the United Nations or its specialised agencies [...] who are present in an official capacity in the area where a United Nations operations is being conducted; (b) “Associated personnel” means: (i) Persons assigned by a Government or an intergovernmental organization with the agreement of the competent organ of the United Nations; (ii) Persons engaged by the Secretary-General of the United Nations or by a specialised agency [...]; (iii) Persons deployed by a humanitarian non-governmental organization or agency under an agreement with the Secretary-General of the United Nations or with a specialised agency [...] to carry out activities in support of the fulfilment of the mandate of a United Nations operation; (c) “United Nations operation” means an operation established by the competent organ of the United Nations in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and conducted under United Nations authority and control” (art. 1). The Convention has been ratified by 62 States (as of 21 August 2002).
[14] Caritas Internationalis, Catholic Relief Services, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Save the Children Alliance, Lutheran World Federation, Oxfam, the World Council of Churches.
[15] The Sphere Project is an initiative launched in 1997 by the SCHR and by Inter-Action, a coalition of over 150 US-based NGOs, in cooperation with ICRC, UNHCR, OCHA, UNICEF, WFP, WHO, UNDP, VOICE, ICVA, other NGOs and bilateral donors. The standards are not expressed in quantified terms. Rather, each standard consists of the statement of the minimum levels to be attained and of key indicators, i.e. quantitative and/or qualitative “signals” that show whether those levels have been attained. For instance, General Nutritional Support Standard 2, relating to Minimum Standards in Nutrition, states: “food that is distributed is of sufficient quality and is safely handed so as to be fit for human consumption”. The key indicators for this standard include the absence of food-born diseases, the absence of complaints on the part of the beneficiary population, the existence of quality controls, etc.

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