Natural resources governance and the right to adequate food

25.08.2014 - 15.09.2014

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)

This discussion is now closed. Please contact us for any further information.

Violet Mugalavai University, Kenya
01.09.2014

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

Natural resources can be natured by communities who should be determined to conserve/harness their own ecological balance so that people collectively work towards their RTF and participate in so doing in a sustainable eco-systems, eco-effective approach with the determination to bring as many people on board, right from kindergarten to the highest level of learning, and from to the grassroots to the working class. All inclusiveness is a major step in making sure that everyone is accountable, so that duty bearers can see the individual or group ventures and join in their support.

Harnessing and sharing indigenous seeds, seedlings, of both fruit, fuel and medicinal trees, and bringing back food diversity is a step towards micronutrient efficiency especially where there is rampant malnutrition among communities and especially children. Making  re-afforestation and small ruminants a hobby for children to enjoy and grow up knowing that they can work towards their own right to food within systems which feed into each other is a sure way to success towards RTF.

When l was growing up, the gooseberry, blackberry and the guava used to grow very easily in the woods where their seeds had been dispersed and this was so for all the rural households. But this is not automatic anymore. It is important for willing hearts and hands to bring back food diversity through concerted efforts. I have been involved in tending seedlings of fruit and vegetables that are going extinct and distributing them  together with new varieties such as the rhubarb to women groups and children in schools to take care of them and eat from their own sweat, and share with other households so that these crops are populated. 

 The use of recycled or harvested water in times of harsh climatic conditions is also of paramount importance.   The duty bearers  have supported such projects especially when accompanied by nutrition education and l believe the RTF and good nutrition can be achieved through efforts that are collectively driven.

Jaime Rodríguez Mallón Gobernación de Tarija, Bolivia (Plurinational...
01.09.2014

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A) Bolivia a partir de su nueva Constitución Política del Estado en diciembre de 2009, gracias a las luchas, demandas y propuestas de los sectores sociales se ha logrado desde la misma constitución y otra normativa posterior que los recursos naturales estrategicos son propiedad del pueblo boliviano y que deben servir para mejorar las condiciones de vida de las actuales y futuras generaciones de bolivianos.

El agua es un recurso que debe ser primero para las personas, para la producción y para la naturaleza y el estado debe garantizar su acceso así como el saneamiento básico.

En cuanto a las tierras se está priorizando el saneamiento y titulación de las mismas dando seguridad jurídica, se está apoyando tanto a los productores de tipo familiar y agroindustrial para que se asegure la producción agropecuaria para consumo interno y los excedentes para la exportación.  

Una de las leyes mas importates aprobadas y promulgadas por el estado plurinacional es la "Ley marco de la Madre Tierra y Desarrollo Integral Para Vivir Bien".

B)  En Bolivia se implementó obligatoriamenete en las entidades públicas la Rendición de Cuentas que se lo debe hacer a la ciudadanía. De tal manera que se sepa que se están haciendo con los recursos púbicos que proyectos se están ejecutando, a quienes beneficia, etc.

A) Bolivia, following its new State Constitution of December 2009 and subsequent regulations, and thanks to the struggles, demands and proposals of the social sector, has achieved the ownership of strategic natural resources by Bolivian people. This should help to improve the living conditions of current and future Bolivian generations.

Water is a resource that, first of all, should be used for people, for production and for nature, and the State must ensure its access and basic sanitation.

As for land, sanitation and titling are being prioritised, providing legal security, supporting both family and agro-industrial producers to guarantee agricultural production for domestic consumption and surplus for exportation.

One of the most important laws adopted and promulgated by the multinational state is the "Framework Law on Mother Earth and Integral Development for Wellbeing".

B) In Bolivia accountability was compulsorily implemented in public institutions. In this way, citizens can know how public resources are managed, what projects are being implemented, who is being benefited, etc.

Gabriela Quinteros Gobierno Autonomo Municipal de Achacachi, Bolivia ...
01.09.2014

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Bueno respecto a las politicas a nivel de Estado se viene desarrollando ya hace bastante tiempo politicas que coadyuvan a la tematica de seguridad alimentaria , como por ejemplo el: Decreto Supremo Nº 1939, 19 de marzo de 2014 que faculta  políticas, planes, programas y proyectos integrales de fomento a la producción agropecuaria, artesanal, forestal y al turismo, con el objetivo de obtener el mejor aprovechamiento, transformación, industrialización y comercialización de los recursos naturales renovables. Por ejemplo la Parágrafo II del Artículo 2 de la Ley Nº 448 nos señala algunos de estos programas: Programa Nacional de Frutas, Programa Nacional de Producción de Hortalizas, y Programa Nacional de Rumiantes Menores y Pesca.

Son un aserie de políticas que se vienen desarrollando a traves de ministerio de desarrollo rural y tierras.

Estas politicas si bien garantizar el desarrollo de tareas, son programas nuevos que estas todavia implementandose, en unos años las expriencias en el desarrollo de estos programas permitiran contar con politicas que respondan a las necesidades y pueda brindar resultados pues en la actualida se encuentra algunas falencias en su aplicación la forma en que estan siendo aplicadas.

Regarding state policies, several ones contributing to the improvement of food security are being developed for quite some time now, such as: Supreme Decree No. 1939, March 19, 2014, which enables integral policies, plans, programs and projects promoting agricultural, artisanal and forestry production and tourism, with the aim of achieving the best use, processing, manufacturing and marketing of renewable natural resources. For example, paragraph II in Article 2 of Law No. 448 points out some of these programs: National Fruit Program, Vegetable Production National Programme and Small Ruminants and Fisheries National Programme.

This set of policies is being developed through the Ministry of Rural Development and Land.

These policies, while ensuring the development of tasks, are new programs still being implemented. In a few years the experiences accumulated during the development of these programs will allow having policies addressing the needs and yielding positive results, as nowadays their implementation has several shortcomings.

Manuel Castrillo Proyecto Camino Verde, Costa Rica
29.08.2014

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Saludo cordial a todos y todas. Les adjunto documento ESTUDIO DEL ESTADO DE LA PRODUCCIÓN SOSTENIBLE Y PROPUESTA DE MECANISMOS PERMANENTES PARA EL FOMENTO DE LA PRODUCCIÓN SOSTENIBLE CONSULTORÍA SP-12-200 en Costa Rica  realizado por el grupo consultivo GFA Consulting Group,  para el Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería  en el Marco del Programa de Fomento de la Producción Agropecuaria  Sostenible (PFPAS ) En este estudio, vemos una intención de establecer políticas de sostenibilidad de acuerdo a los diferentes contextos productivos agropecuarios y los procesos de sostenibilidad requeridos de acuerdo a criterios selectivos de  variables en contextos legales, producción sostenible, resilencia, equidad y otros, que conlleven a planes normativos que orienten el uso sostenible de las actividades agropecuarias y su relación con los recursos naturales.

Es posible generar avances en la sostenibilidad, en la medida que disposiciones políticas y el acceso a recursos financieros sean prioritarios en las agendas de desarrollo nacionales. El manejo como unidad que se le de a los recursos naturales y su estructuración dentro del paisaje humano, sus actividades y relaciones, deberá ser el imperativo a futuro para asegurar la continuidad de los recursos naturales y la permanencia de " bienes alimentarios ".

Saludos.

Best regards to everyone. I am pleased to attach the document “REVIEW OF THE STATUS OF SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION AND PROPOSAL FOR PERMANENT MECHANISMS TO PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION” (CONSULTING SP-12-200) conducted by the advisory firm GFA Consulting Group for the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock within the framework of the Programme for the Promotion of Sustainable Agricultural Production (known in Spanish as PFPAS). This study aims to establish sustainability policies according to the different agricultural production contexts and required sustainability processes considering selective criteria of variables in legal contexts, sustainable production, resilience, equity and others.

These policies and processes should lead to policy plans guiding the sustainable use of agricultural activities and their relationship with natural resources. Progress on sustainability can be made, to the extent that political arrangements and access to financial resources are a priority in national development agendas. The management of natural resources and its structure within the human landscape, its activities and relationships, should be imperative in the future to ensure the continuity of natural resources and the perpetuation of "food assets".

Regards.

T. Beiermann Independent, Germany
27.08.2014

Regarding 4.

Even if progressive law is in place recognizing tenure, implementation may lacking due to missing capacities of governments, of the owners of claims and for sure competition and power to extract resources tend to pressure.

However, I have seen examples for impact assessments on tenure in country with laws followed mainly World Bank standards. Ignorance of traditional land uses and claims were evident. No information was provided even if laws stated to protect traditional claims and their livelihood. When a point of a village is the only thing what is delivered it is more than suspicious My brief recommendations would be to address:

- guidance in operationalizing and appropriate technical solutions and coherent information needed to assess tenure

- clear institutional setups which are easily to access and should include grievance mechanisms in case of conflicting opinions

- somehow flexibility in processes providing evidence of tenure and claims in regard of time. This should take into account that powerful economic interests/ corruption could tend to interfere legalizing processes and groups lacking access to information and capacities won't be able to deliver compliant format to be successful

- provide also technical guidance in matter of how to use natural resources sustainable and to provide more visibility of ecosystem services to strengthen perception of environmental issues in general. A  special focus on smallholders and family enterprises in case of natural resource management could enable and empower sustainable growth based on persistence society patterns

Chiranjibi Rijal Development Inn Pvt Ltd, Nepal
26.08.2014

River bed Farming (RbF) in Nepal

Riverbed farming (baluwa/bagarkhetii.e. cultivation in the sand) is the general practice of cultivating crops on the bed or in some cases banks of the river during the low water/dry seasons. This practice dates back to thirty years when mostly Indian nomadic farmers living near the border areas used to come to cultivate the riverbeds which were arable for certain types of crops. Watermelon was the only crops cultivated in the beginning. Although it started under the circumstances where there were no alternative lands for cultivation of crop such as watermelon, the scope has certainly widened greatly. And its utilization in wider scale is a relatively recent phenomenon.

The practice has evolved from being a subsistence livelihood approach to a commercial enterprise among the marginalized, landless and land-poor communities of terai. The key reasons of the expansion of this practice is mainly due to availability of fertilizers and nutrients and improved agriculture technologies, easy availability of riverbeds, access to transportation and markets. Products from RbF always have access to market. The emergence and development of haat bazaars has positively impacted rural agriculture in general with no exception for RbF. The yields are either sold by the farmers in these local markets or whole sellers and middlemen come to the farmers’ doorsteps to purchase the yield.

Major crops in RbF

The major crops grown by farmers along the river beds are water melon (CitrulluslanatusT.), bottlegourd (Lagenariasiceraria), cucumber (CucumisstivusL.), summer squash (CucurbitapepoL.), bitter gourd (Momordicacharantia L.), pumpkin (Cucurbitamoschata D.), pointed gourd (Trichosanthesdioica R.) and sponge gourd (LuffacylindricaR.). Few farmers also grew chilly, beans, tomato and other high value vegetables on the riverbeds. The choice of crop entirely depends on soil conditions and water availability.

Majority of farmers undertake direct sowing of seeds in the pits. Seed rate used for each species depends on the nature of the plants. Seeds are usually wrapped until germination and sown once they germinate. After sowing the seeds, mulching was done using locally available dry grasses. Sowing of seeds was done between November-December but there has been a slight shirt in the period as monsoon occasionally extends beyond the normal rainy season as riverbed farming depends on the water level in the rivers. However, early sown seeds and resulting seedlings have higher survival chances because they are able to survive the frost and dew during the winter having matured early. Plastic capping has also emerged in the riverbed farming in recent years. 

For more information: csrijal@gmail.com

KV Peter World Noni Research Foundation, India
26.08.2014

In India with the passing of the legislation  FOOD SECURITY ACT-2014,right to adequate food has become a duty of the Government to be enforced. Rice being the staple food, it is supplied(25kg/month/family) at Rs 1/kg to citizens below poverty level. Poverty level is defined as daily purchasing power below US $ 1.5/capita/day. Government of India has to store 75-80 million tonnes of food grains in its warehouses to meet the requirement. Agriculture in India being dependant on monsoon rains, any vagaries affect food grain production. Sixty percent of Indian population being producer-consumer farmers, subsidised supply becomes imperative. As per Agreement on Agriculture under WTO, no country is allowed subsidy more than 10% of production value. A farmer oriented country with smaller holdings, this stipulation is difficult to be met. A discussion on circumventing this stipulation of WTO will be desirable.

Prof KV Peter Ph D FNAAS.FNASc.FNABS.FHSI.FISVS,FISGPB
Director, World Noni Research Foundations