RE: 10 Year Anniversary of the Right to Food Guidelines

Flavio Valente FIAN International - Co-facilitator of the discussion
06.06.2014

Dear contributors,

The online discussion on the 10 Year Anniversary of the Right to Food Guidelines is now over and I would like to thank you all for the ideas, insights, and experiences you shared which enriched the discussion.

We received 32 contributions from 23 countries representing every region of the world. Your input will serve to further the discussion and inform the debate evaluating the progress of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Right to Food during the 41st Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS).

The current CFS agenda item proposes a look back at the progress made by the Guidelines over the last ten years, including a review of the lessons learned, the existing gaps and challenges, and a discussion of future plans. The contributions made to this forum have helped us gain a better understanding of the perspective of civil society on these issues, highlighting many points of agreement, including:

  • The view that the Guidelines serve as a valuable monitoring tool;
  • The concern about the lack of effective accountability mechanisms; and
  • The call for increased coherence of policies with human rights standards.

This process also highlighted areas of divergence, such as:

  • Disagreement regarding whether the right to food movement should align itself with more reformist tendencies (i.e. support for initiatives on the “right to be free from hunger”, such as the International Food Security Treaty) or with more progressive ideologies (i.e. “the right to food sovereignty”); and
  • The extent to which the non-binding nature of the Guidelines contributes to their ability to serve as a useful tool for the governments and civil society actors who make use of them.

We appreciate the concrete examples of successes, including the constitutional recognition of the right to food and the institutionalization of successful food security and nutrition policies around the world.

We are also grateful for those who contributed notes on technical practicalities, including the difficulties arising from the availability of the document in only three languages, and the potential lack of accessibility of the Guidelines to non-experts.

Your contributions will provide valuable input into a civil society synthesis paper addressing these issues, to be presented during the CFS session.

Thank you again for your time and thoughtful contributions.

Best regards,

Flavio