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Right to Food

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Generally understood as the right to feed oneself in dignity, the right to adequate food is a long-standing international human right to which many countries are committed. Over the last decades, a number of countries have developed and implemented constitutional amendments, national laws, strategies, policies and programmes that aim at the fulfilment for all of the right to food.

FAO's role in the fulfilment of the Right to Food

With over 842 million people going to bed hungry every night, the right to adequate food is far from being fulfilled. However, the permanent eradication of hunger and the realization of the right to adequate food of all are achievable goals.

Because of its legally binding nature, the realization of the right to adequate food is not merely a promise to be met through charity. It is a human right of every woman, man and child that is to be fulfilled through appropriate actions by governments and non-state actors. 

A long way

Over the years, important advances have been made at various levels. Globally, the right to adequate food has been a legally binding human right in international law for more than 35 years while since then additional legal guarantees have been afforded to specific groups, such as women, children and persons living with disabilities.

In 2004, FAO Member Nations adopted by consensus 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), which provide practical guidance on ways to implement the right to adequate food in a wide range of policy and programme areas.

More recently, whether as a result of consensual international documents with the fulfilment of the right to food as an objective, such as the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, or as a goal reiterated by the United Nations Secretary-General in light of the Zero Hunger Challenge, fulfilment of the right to food is increasingly becoming a priority on the international agenda. 

From principles to practice

FAO plays an increasingly decisive role in the advancement of the right to adequate food at global, regional and national levels. FAO also develops methodologies and analytical tools for different stakeholders. A variety of actors at country, regional and headquarters levels are carrying out a range of actions related to promoting the right to food.
FAO’s work on the right to food focuses on supporting Countries and stakeholders
in the:

Through these six aforementioned areas, FAO proactively contributes to the increasing number of countries that have included the right to adequate food in their national constitutions, national laws, strategies, and in policies and programmes that aim to fulfil the right to adequate food for all.

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