Title of the experience
The role of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food (UNSR RTF) in providing regional fora for dialogue on the right to food
Country(ies)/Region(s) covered by the experience
Latin America, Africa
How have the VGRtF been used in your context? Which specific guidelines of the VGRtF was most relevant to your experience?
The VGRtF were the basis to discuss how to make concrete steps forward towards the realization of the right to food at national level.
Brief description of the experience
With the idea of building bridges, providing incentives for dialogue, breaking silos and promoting cooperation across the borders, FAO co-organized with the OHCHR a number of events, in particular involving regional or sub-regional groups of expert, or to promote the interaction with the UN Special Rapporteurs on the Right to Food. Since 2011, three Regional Expert Consultations on the Right to Food were organized together with the UN OHCHR and the UNSR RTF in Colombia (2011), Kenya (2012), and Senegal (2013) bringing together more than 50 food experts, parliamentarians and policy-makers from each region.
Who was involved in the experience?
Government, institutions, UN organization, civil society/NGO, media, and in some instances donors.
How were those most affected by food insecurity and malnutrition involved?
Through the participation of CSOs and farmers organizations
Dialogues, roundtable discussions, technical presentations, experience sharing, learning from best practices
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)
Increased awareness and capacity and understanding on what it means in practice to progressively realize the right to food at country level.
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)
Countries take actions in order to progressively realize the right to food at country level.
Results obtained – most significant changes to capture
These events offered a unique opportunity to a range of experts from different institutions and organizations, in different regions, to present practical solutions and concrete actions on ways to promote the right to food through legislation and strategies, as well as to strengthen accountability through monitoring and claims mechanisms. The main results of these consultations were a register of commitments by the participants to take concrete actions once back in their respective countries. Among such commitments: members of parliament would explore possibilities to create networks of parliamentarians; CSOs would identify possibilities to strengthen their networks on the right to food; Human Rights Commissions would seek dialogue with small scale farmers; farmers organizations would inform their networks about the right to food and its relevance.
What are the key catalysts that influenced the results?
The impartial role of the UNSR on the right to food, the commitment of countries towards the right to food and towards further discussing it, and sharing experiences, and taking action for its realization.
What are the major constraints/challenges for achieving the Right to Food?
These were discussed during the expert consultations and involve different technical areas or ranges of issues according to the national context which is key. Challenges can vary from political commitment, to lack of awareness and/or capacity, or lack of institutional mandates to monitor this human right, as well as little presence of civil society organizations dealing with food security and nutrition issues from a human rights perspective, etc.
What mechanisms have been developed to monitor the Right to Food?
Each country presented its own experiences during these events, including on monitoring the right to food.
What good practices would you recommend for successful results?
These events highlighted the importance of multi-stakeholder dialogue and what it means for countries to be able to share their experiences when an impartial broker (FAO, the UNSR) provides them a forum to do so. During these events parliamentarians, government officials, representatives of CSOs, human rights institutions and intergovernmental organizations, exchanged very rich and encouraging experiences on the practical aspects of the implementation of the right to food at national level. The constructive and trustful dynamic of this dialogue showed that it is possible to include all relevant sectors around one common agenda - the right to food as a reality for all - and to replicate this dynamic at the national level.
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