Natural resources governance and the right to adequate food

until 11.09.2014

2014 marks the 10th anniversary of the Voluntary Guidelines to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security (Right to Food Guidelines). At its 41st Session from 13-17 October 2014 the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) will undertake a retrospective of the progress made in the implementation of the Right to Food Guidelines (RtFG). FAO prepared a number of working studies on different aspects of the Right to Food Guidelines as a contribution to the retrospective, and a number of these will be discussed in the Right to Food Forum. Natural Resources Governance is the subject of this online discussion.

As a basis for this discussion, the relevant working study is available here. It explores advances and challenges related to the Right to Food Guideline 8 and argues that:

  1. Natural resources are crucial for achieving food security and nutrition and the responsible governance of tenure is key for the realization of the right to food.
  2. After 10 years of the adoption of the Right to Food Guidelines, it is possible to identify positive developments in that a human rights based approach has been applied in a series of international initiatives within the global agenda.
  3. A decade later, achievements have also been made at country level through policies and legal frameworks which recognize vulnerable people ́s rights to access, use and management of natural resources. There is a growing recognition of customary rights in statutory legislation and gender is considered in legal reforms to improve women’s access to natural resources.
  4. Despite important policy changes at international and national level, reforms have not kept up with commercial pressures on natural resources and future efforts to address the increasing pressures on ecosystems and the threat to sustainable production and access to adequate food are still required.

The working study concludes that the governance of natural resources remains one of the most important areas for food security and human rights standards are crucial to consolidate an enabling environment for the realization of the right to food.

This discussion aims at gathering more evidence from the past 10 years on Guideline 8 in particular. We would welcome contributions around the following focus questions:

A. Are there specific country examples or stories that illustrate how natural resources are governed (by i.e. policy and legal frameworks related to water, land, fisheries, forestry, etc) towards the progressive realization of the right to food?

B. Are there specific country examples of mechanisms related to the governance of natural resources that contribute to enhance accountability?

Please join the debate on natural resources governance and the right to food.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts and comments!

Luisa Cruz and Margret Vidar

FAO Development Law Branch (LEGN) - Right to Food Team (ESA)

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