Development Law Service Newsletter - May 2016 - #2


Resources for the development law specialist 

Risk Based Imported Food Control Manual
The FAO Manual on Risk Based Imported Food Control aims to assist authorities to improve the effectiveness of controls over imported food. It addresses different approaches to managing risks related to imported food and provides concrete illustrations of the various ways in which the standards established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission can be implemented. A chapter on legal and institutional aspects of food import control introduces the main legal principles that apply to food safety legislation, with a focus on import control legislation. It also highlights the main considerations for drafting regulatory frameworks for imported food control. The roles and responsibilities of the different public (central and decentralized bodies) and private players in an import control system are also explored.

Tools supporting the implementation of the VGGT
The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) specify that:

States should provide and maintain policy, legal and organizational frameworks that promote responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests. These frameworks are dependent on, and are supported by, broader reforms to the legal system, public service and judicial authorities. (para. 5.1)

States and other parties should regularly review and monitor policy, and organizational frameworks to maintain their effectiveness. Implementing agencies and judicial authorities should engage with civil society, user representatives and the broader public to improve services and endeavour to prevent corruption through transparent processes and decision-making. Information about changes and their anticipated impacts should be clearly stated and widely publicized in applicable languages. (para. 5.8)

Responsible governance of tenure and the law: a guide for lawyers and other legal service providers1: The legal value of the VGGT as a soft law instrument with important linkages with binding international law are addressed in a new Technical Guide to the VGGT for lawyers, as are questions of legitimate tenure and the professional responsibilities of lawyers and other legal service providers. The Guide reviews the law making process, including the conduct of legal assessments, implementation of laws and dispute resolution.

Legal assessments in Sierra Leone against the VGGT:Through its technical assistance on tenure, which is based on the VGGT, FAO has developed a number of resources which, while developed in the context of providing guidance in the law reform process of one country, may assist others undertaking similar activities. One valuable example is a comprehensive legal and policy assessment of the existing laws and policies of Sierra Leone, as well as of draft bills and policies, with a view to assessing their alignment with the VGGT and to provide recommendations on areas to further the alignment. This was the first time the VGGT were used as a basis for a multi-sector, comprehensive legal assessment. Given the innovative nature of this work, the reports have been published so that they might be accessible to all stakeholders in Sierra Leone and to audiences in other countries interested in undertaking similar legal assessments. The reports address legislation governing land2, fisheries and aquaculture3, and forestry4, as well as an overall assessment5 of the extent to which the VGGT was addressed in the context of legislation and policy.

Legal Assessment Tool for gender-equitable land tenure: A Legal Assessment Tool6 has been developed to capture gender-equitable land tenure. This draws on a number of international instruments, including the VGGT, and is specifically designed to measure the extent to which the legislation of a country fosters gender‐equitable land tenure.

Social protection and the law
Under the overall objective of providing guidance on steps to reduce rural poverty, an analysis exploring the linkage between social protection and the right to food7 has been undertaken. The right to food and the right to social protection are complementary human rights. Effective social assistance programmes can alleviate chronic food insecurity or hunger, while demand‐driven or scaled social insurance and safety net programmes can address temporary food insecurity. The creation of appropriate safety nets is one way that States can fulfil their international legal obligation to provide food and achieve food security. The analysis reviews pertinent international legal instruments and presents a human rights‐based approach to social protection in the context of food security and nutrition. The analysis underlines the importance of strengthening the legal underpinnings of social protection programmes, observing that legislation creates legally enforceable entitlements, clear institutional responsibilities, transparency of application and termination procedures and eligibility criteria, as well as recourse mechanisms. This, in turn, ensures the protection of rights in the context of social protection programmes. The analysis also provides guidance on the specific provisions that could be included in legislation on social protection.

Food security and nutrition legislation: the examples of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua
Latin American countries have been at the forefront of legal developments on the right to food and Central America is one of the regions that has advanced the most with the adoption of laws on food security and nutrition (FSN). A comparative analysis of the FSN legislation in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua provides recommendations on how the right to food could be enshrined in national law. Taking a human rights-based approach as a framework, the analysis considers constitutional provisions and the content of the FSN laws in each country. It also explores the legal frameworks adopted so far by regional parliaments and Central American integration agencies. The analysis provides an overview of the applicable international legal instruments. National legislation is reviewed in detail, and some insight is provided into how regulatory frameworks could be supplemented to secure the right to food. For those charged with law reform in this area, the analysis draws conclusions and recommendations, and identifies challenges that may be experienced in seeking to ensure that national legislation meets the requirements of obligations derived from international law.

1. Responsible governance of tenure and the law: a guide for lawyers and other legal service providers. FAO Governance of Tenure Technical Guide No 5. 2016.
2. FAO Legal Paper 93: Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure in the Land Legislation of Sierra Leone
3. FAO Legal Paper 94: Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure and on Sustainable Small Scale Fisheries in the Fisheries and Aquaculture Legislation in Sierra Leone
4. FAO Legal Paper 95: Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure in the Forestry Legislation in Sierra Leone
5. FAO Legal Paper 96: Analytical Assessment Report for the Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure in the Land, Fisheries and Forestry Sectors of Sierra Leone
6. FAO Legal Paper 98 Developing gender-equitable legal frameworks for land tenure - A legal assessment tool
7. FAO Legal Paper 97: The rights to social protection and adequate food - Human rights-based frameworks for social protection in the context of realizing the right to food and the need for legal underpinnings

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