Agricultural Development Economics


Guide on legislating for the right to food
Dubravka Bojic Bultrini, Margret Vidar, Lidija Knuth
Publication date
In recent years, a number of countries have begun drafting specific legislation aimed at ensuring or promoting the realization of the right to food; these include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Malawi, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Peru, South Africa, Uganda and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of). While several other countries have also taken initiatives related to the realization of the right to food, they have not undertaken – as yet – specific legislative activities with this specific purpose. A comparative analysis of these legislative initiatives indicates that provisions referring to food in terms of a right are being incorporated mainly into legislation on food and nutrition security, laws specifically targeting certain sectors of the population and more general laws on food security. The emerging legal frameworks represent first steps towards the adoption of a human rights based approach to food security, which is reiterated in GC 128 and the Right to Food Guidelines. A growing number of countries are also engaged in consultation processes on the adoption of special legislation on the right to food. To date there has been no comprehensive guidance for governments seeking to take national legislative action with regard to the right to food. This guide attempts to fill that gap. It does not intend, of course, to develop the content of international law. It aims to provide national law- and policy-makers with practical information and guidance for developing or strengthening national legal (and institutional) frameworks on the right to food, consistent with the ICESCR and other pertinent norms of international law. This guide acknowledges that it is for each individual state to decide (in accordance with its own specific historic, economic, social and other circumstances) how to best implement the right to food within its national legal system.