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Extracts from international instruments

CONSTITUTION OF FAO, 19651
Preamble

The Nations accepting this Constitution, being determined to promote the common welfare by furthering separate and collective action on their part for the purpose of: raising levels of nutrition and standards of living... and thus... ensuring humanity's freedom from hunger.

WORLD FOOD SUMMIT PLAN OF ACTION, 19962
Commitment Seven

We will implement, monitor and follow-up this Plan of Action at all levels in cooperation with the international community.

Objective 7.4

To clarify the content of the right to adequate food and the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger, as stated in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other relevant international and regional instruments, and to give particular attention to implementation and full and progressive realization of this right as a means of achieving food security for all.

To this end, governments, in partnership with all actors of civil society, will, as appropriate:

  1. Make every effort to implement the provisions of Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the Covenant) and relevant provisions of other international and regional instruments;
  2. Urge States that are not yet Parties to the Covenant to adhere to the Covenant at the earliest possible time;
  3. Invite the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to give particular attention to this Plan of Action in the framework of its activities and to continue to monitor the implementation of the specific measures provided for in Article 11 of the Covenant;
  4. Invite relevant treaty bodies and appropriate specialized agencies of the UN to consider how they might contribute, within the framework of the coordinated follow-up by the UN system to the major international UN conferences and summits, including the World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna 1993, within the scope of their mandates, to the further implementation of this right;
  5. Invite the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in consultation with relevant treaty bodies, and in collaboration with relevant specialized agencies and programmes of the UN system and appropriate intergovernmental mechanisms, to better define the rights related to food in Article 11 of the Covenant and to propose ways to implement and realize these rights as a means of achieving the commitments and objectives of the World Food Summit, taking into account the possibility of formulating voluntary guidelines for food security for all.

UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS, 1948
Article 25

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food...

INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS, 1966
Article 11

1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food. The States Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right, recognizing to this effect the essential importance of international cooperation based on free consent.

2. The States Parties to the present Covenant, recognizing the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger, shall take, individually and through international cooperation, the measures, including specific programmes, which are needed:

  1. To improve methods of production, conservation and distribution of food by making full use of technical and scientific knowledge, by disseminating knowledge of the principles of nutrition and by developing or reforming agrarian systems in such a way as to achieve the most efficient development and utilization of natural resources;
  2. Taking into account the problems of both food-importing and food-exporting countries, to ensure an equitable distribution of world food supplies in relation to need.

Article 2

1. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take steps, individually and through international assistance and cooperation, especially economic and technical, to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Covenant by all appropriate means, including particularly the adoption of legislative measures.

UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD, 1989 5
Article 24

1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to health care services.

2. States Parties shall pursue full implementation of this right and, in particular, shall take appropriate measures: ...

  1. to combat disease and malnutrition, including within the framework of primary health care, through, inter alia, the application of readily available technology and through the provision of adequate nutritious foods...
  2. to ensure that all segments of society, in particular parents and children, are informed, have access to education and are supported in the use of basic knowledge of child health and nutrition...

Article 27

States Parties, in accordance with national conditions and within their means... shall in case of need provide material assistance and support programmes, particularly with regard to nutrition...

1 As amended in 1965.
2 Adopted by the World Food Summit, Rome, 13 to 17 November 1996. FAO. 1997. Report of the World Food Summit, Part One. Rome.
3 Adopted by the General Assembly on 10 December 1948. UN doc. A/811.
4 General Assembly Resolution 2200 A (XXI), Annex, of 16 December 1966.
5 General Assembly Resolution 44/25, Annex, of 20 November 1989.

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