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Re: Call for experiences and good practices in the use and application of the Voluntary Guidelines for the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security

Thaís Lopes Rocha
Thaís Lopes RochaFood and Nutrition Security National CouncilBrazil

Dear All,

Please find below the contribution of the Food and Nutrition Security National Council (Brazil’s Presidency of Republic), based on template for the call for inputs on the VGRtF.


Thaís Lopes Rocha

Secretaria Executiva do Conselho Nacional de Segurança Alimentar e Nutricional Presidência da República Palácio do Planalto, Anexo I, Ala A, sala C2, Brasília-DF


Title of the experience
Brazilian Experience and its Good Practices in the Voluntary Guidelines for the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security

Geographical coverage
National Coverage

Country(ies)/Region(s) covered by the experience

Your affiliation
Food and Nutrition Security National Council (Consea): a national council composed by civil society and govern with a consultancy character to the Republic Presidency.

How have the VGRtF been used in your context? Which specific guidelines of the VGRtF was most relevant to your experience?
Brazil has published several legal and institutional bases that respect, protect, promote and provide the right to adequate food. In 2006, the country – ruled by the VGRtF of 2005 and its Guideline 7 – developed its most important legislative framework on the Right to Food. It was published the Food and Nutrition Security Organic Law (Law nº 11.346, September, 2006), which creates the National Food and Nutrition Security System (SISAN). The Sisan is an instrument that allows government and civil society organizations to act together in regard of the formulation and implementation of policies against hunger as well as actions to promote food and nutrition security. Society and the public power (municipal, state and federal governments) should also act jointly in the following up, monitoring and evaluation of the nutrition situation of the population, defining rights and obligations of public power, families, companies and society in general. The participation in the system must obey principles and guidelines defined by the Food and Nutrition Security Interministerial Chamber (Caisan).

Furthermore, still within the context of guideline 7, in February 2010, the National Congress approved Constitutional Amendment nº 64, which included the right to food among the social rights. The approval of this amendment has an important meaning for the guarantee of this human right in Brazil, since becoming a constitutional right requires the State to review its actions related to the food and nutrition security and to social security policies. This reaffirms the right of each person to be the "holder" of public policies aimed at achieving food and nutritional security. That is, people who have, for any reason, difficulty accessing the right food have a constitutionally guaranteed right, in this context the government can be held responsible if this right is accomplished.

Another very important brazilian legislative framework was the reinstitution of the Food and Nutrition Security National Council (Consea), Law nº 10.683, May, 2003. The Council has a consultancy character and advises the Republic President on the formulation of policies and the definition of orientations for the country to guarantee its human right to food. Due to its consultancy and advisory character, the Council is not, and cannot be, an administrator nor an executor of programs, projects, policies or systems. Inspired in the resolutions of the Food and Nutrition Security National Council, Consea follows up and proposes different programs, such as the “ Programa Bolsa Familia” (Family Allowance), School Meals, Family Agriculture Food Acquisition and Food and Nutrition Vigilance, among many others. Consea stimulates society’s participation in the formulation, execution and follow up of food and nutrition security policies. It considers that society’s organization is an essential condition for social conquests and for the permanent overcoming of exclusion.

About the guideline 1 (specifically 1.4), Brazil ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). And, the State’s obligation to respect, protect, promote and provide this right in articulation with other human rights was incorporated into national legislation at the time of the ratification of the ICESCR, in the form of a national legislative decree (Decree No. 591, July 1992).

Brief description of the experience
In Brazil, the concept of food and nutritional security has been debated for at least 20 years. Its understanding emerged from the Final Document of the First National Conference on Food and Nutrition, 1986: a guarantee to all, regarding basics access conditions to quality food, in sufficient quantity, permanently and without compromising the access to other basic needs, based on dietary practices that make possible the healthy reproduction of the human organism, contributing to a dignified existence. This concept was later consolidated at the First National Conference on Food Security in 1994. It is important to realize that this definition articulates two well-defined dimensions: food and nutrition. The first concerns the availability processes (production, marketing and access to food) and the second concerns more directly the choice, the preparation, consumption of food and its relation to health. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the term Food and Nutrition Security only became to be used in Brazil after the preparatory process for the World Food Summit, in 1996, and with the creation of the Brazilian Forum on Food and Nutrition Security (FBSAN), in 1998.

Brazil incorporated other aspects to the term. It is considered now that countries are sovereign to guarantee the Food and Nutritional Security of their peoples (sovereignty must respect the multiple cultural characteristics manifested in the act of eating). The concept of food sovereignty argues that every nation has the right to defend policies that guarantee the Food and Nutritional Security of its citizens, including the right to preserve traditional production practices related to food. Besides that, there is a recognition that such a process must take place on a sustainable basis, environmentally, economically and socially. These dimensions were incorporated on the occasion of the II National Conference Food and Nutritional Security, held in March 2004.

Currently, Brazil adopts the following definition: Food and Nutrition Security is the realization of the right of all to regular and permanent access to high-quality food, without compromising access to other essential needs, based on healthy eating practices, culturally diverse and that are environmentally, culturally, economically and socially sustainable. This understanding was incorporated into the Organic Law of Food and Nutrition Security (Article 3, Law 11.346/2006).

Who was involved in the experience?
Ministry of Agriculture, Cattle Raising and Food Supply
Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications
Ministry of Culture
Ministry of Education
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Health
Ministry of Cities
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Social Development
Ministry of the Environment
Ministry of Planning, Development and Management
Presidency of the Republic
Promotion of Racial Equality Policies Secretariat
Promotion of Women Policies Secretariat
Family Agriculture and Agrarian Development Special Secretariat

UN Organizations:
World Food Program
Food and Agriculture Organization

Civil Society:
Articulação dos Povos e Organizações Indígenas do Nordeste, Minas Gerais e Espírito Santo
Articulação dos Povos Indígenas da Região Sul
Articulação no Semiárido Brasileiro
Associação Brasileira das Centrais de Abastecimento
Associação Brasileira de Nutrição
Associação Brasileira de Saúde Coletiva
Associação Brasileira de Supermercados
Associação Brasileira para o Estudo da Obesidade e Síndrome Metabólica
Associação de Advogados/as de Trabalhadores/as Rurais no Estado da Bahia
Associação do Movimento Interestadual das Quebradeiras de Coco Babaçu
Cáritas Brasileira
Central dos Sindicatos Brasileiros
Central Geral dos Trabalhadores do Brasil
Central Única dos Trabalhadores
Centro de Estudos e Articulação da Cooperação Sul-Sul
Comitê da Ação da Cidadania
Confederação Nacional dos Pescadores e Aquicultores
Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores Rurais Agricultores e Agricultoras Familiares
Conselho Brasileiro da Produção Orgânica e Sustentável
Conselho Federal de Nutricionistas
Conselho Nacional das Populações Extrativistas
Coordenação das Organizações Indígenas da Amazônia Brasileira
Coordenação Nacional das Comunidades Negras Rurais Quilombolas
Departamento Intersindical de Estatística e Estudos Socioeconômicos
Edgard Aparecido de Moura
Eduardo Amaral Borges
Ekaterine Valente Karageorgiadis
Fátima Aparecida Garcia de Moura
Federação dos Trabalhadores na Agricultura Familiar da Região Sul
Federação Nacional das Associações de Celíacos do Brasil
Força Sindical
Fórum Brasileiro de Economia Solidária
Fórum Brasileiro de Soberania e Segurança Alimentar (FBSSAN)
Fórum Nacional de Reforma Urbana
Instituto Brasileiro de Defesa do Consumidor
Instituto Maniva
Instituto Pólis
Movimento de Mulheres Camponesas
Movimento de Trabalhadoras e Trabalhadores por Direitos
Movimento dos Pescadores e Pescadoras Artesanais
Movimento Nacional da População de Rua
Movimento Nacional de Direitos Humanos
Movimento Nacional dos Catadores de Materiais Recicláveis
ONG Banco de Alimentos
Pastoral da Criança
Pedro Paulo da Cunha Carvalho
Rede Brasileira de Infância e Consumo
Rede de Informação e Ação pelo Direito a se Alimentar
Rede Evangélica Nacional de Ação Social
Rede Nacional de Religiões Afro-Brasileiras e Saúde
União das Cooperativas de Agricultura Familiar e Economia Solidária
Via Campesina
Visão Mundial

How were those most affected by food insecurity and malnutrition involved?
Those most affected by food insecurity and malnutrition have the opportunity to participate in the food and nutritional security police by the public policies councils. These councils are instances that allows relations between the actors (State and civil society) for the debate, formulation and monitoring the public actions in this area. They reinforce the importance to guarantee the human right to adequate food as it permits dialogue, contestation and negotiation among represented parties. In them, all the actors can state their reasons and discuss possible ways in the direction of a public policy management that considers collective social interests.

Another important way of involving the same segment is by the Food and Nutrition Conferences. They are relevant spaces of social participation, where civil society representatives and government from all over the country come together to discuss and approve policy guidelines for the food and nutrition security area. These events occur in different spheres: local, municipal, territorial, state or national. The capacity of conferences to mobilize representatives of the population, social, ethnic and brazilian culture is extraordinary and has placed Brazil as one of the countries with great experience in the area of social participation.

Main activities


Results obtained/expected in the short term, with quantitative aspects where feasible (estimate of the number of people that have been or will be affected)

Results obtained/expected in the medium to long term, with quantitative aspects where feasible (estimate the number of people that have been or will be affected)
Concerning results obtained/expected in the short and medium to long term, the Food and Nutrition Security National Plan (PLANSAN) is the main instrument of Food and Nutrition Security National Policy, instituted by Decree nº 7.272/2010.

Results obtained – most significant changes to capture
There were some advances in the access to food in Brazil as result of a set of actions focused on fighting against hunger and poverty, such as the increase of the population basic wage, the growth of formal employment, the progressive expansion of the Family Allowance Program, the strengthening of the School Feeding National Program, the support for family agriculture, among others.

In 2014, a study released by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) revealed that Brazil has left the hunger world map: it felt to less than 5% the indicator of underfed population, this limit is below the one considered to indicate that a country has hunger as a structural problem.

Furthermore, the Goal 2 of the UN's First Millennium Goal – "reducing hunger by half of the 1990 level until 2015” – was also achieved by Brazil, since between 1989 and 2006 the prevalence of acute child malnutrition, the main indicator of this goal, was reduced to a quarter of its initial value (from 7.1% to 1.8%).

It is also important to consider that the indicator of poverty and extreme poverty has relationship with food and nutritional security, because in Brazil the lack of income is the main factor that prevents individuals from having access to food. That is, there are enough foods available, but the lack of income and its unjust distribution make this access impossible for the majority of the population. The extreme poverty index in Brazil felt from 7.6% in 2004 to 2.8% in 2014 and that of poverty from 22.3% to 7.3% in 2014, in the same period.

The severe food insecurity index, as measured in the Household National Survey (PNADs) in 2004, 2009 and 2013 pointed to a significant decrease in this index between 2004 and 2009, the national average of which felt from 6,9 % in 2004 to 3,2% in 2013. Despite the inequalities that still exist, all analyzes of this indicator showed a greater reduction of food and nutritional insecurity in the north and northeast regions and among black people.

What are the key catalysts that influenced the results?

What are the major constraints/challenges for achieving the Right to Food?
One of the main challenges is the creation of a favorable context for the adoption of healthier and adequate eating habits by the Brazilian population. In fact, it is undeniable that the implementation of public policies that promote adequate and healthy food, based on in natura food, have gained more space in the governmental agenda. However, the National Food Security Plan 2016-2019 presents clearly 9 major challenges to create this more favorable context:

Challenge 1 – promote universal access to adequate and healthy food, with priority for families and people in situations of food and nutritional insecurity;
Challenge 2 – fighting against food and nutritional insecurity and promoting productive inclusion in specific population groups, with an emphasis on Traditional and Communities People and other vulnerable social groups in rural areas;
Challenge 3 – promote the production of healthy and sustainable food system, structuring of family agriculture program and strengthening agroecological production;
Challenge 4 – promote the supply and regular access of the Brazilian population to adequate and healthy food;
Challenge 5 – promote and protect the healthy and adequate food of the Brazilian population, with food and nutrition education strategies and regulatory measures;
Challenge 6 – controlling and preventing diseases consequents from poor diet;
Challenge 7 – extend water availability and access to water for the population, especially the poor population in rural areas;
Challenge 8 – consolidate the implementation of the Food and Nutrition Security National System of (SISAN), improving federative management, intersectoriality and social participation;
Challenge 9 – support initiatives to promote sovereignty, food and nutritional security, the human right to adequate food and a democratic, sustainable and healthy food systems at the international level, through dialogue and international cooperation.

What mechanisms have been developed to monitor the Right to Food?
The Food and Nutrition Security National Plan (PLANSAN) is the main instrument of Food and Nutrition Security National Policy, instituted by Decree nº 7.272/2010. According to Article 3 of the decree, the preparation of the plan must be guided by the eight guidelines of the Food and Nutrition Security National Policy (PNSAN) and should be built intersectorally by the Food and Nutritional Security Interministerial Chamber (CAISAN) and the priorities established by CONSEA from its deliberations at the Food and Nutrition Security National Conferences.

What good practices would you recommend for successful results?

Links to additional information