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FAO supports UN move to enshrine the rights of peasants and rural workers


Recognizing family farmers and small producers’ crucial role in sustainable food systems

20/11/2018 - 

FAO supports a UN campaign to enshrine the rights of family farmers, small-holders and rural workers and to fully acknowledge their role in achieving Zero Hunger and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

FAO is urging all countries to support the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas already adopted by the UN Human Rights Council.

The Declaration makes specific reference to the right to adequate food, land, water, pastoralism, and agroecology. It also upholds the need to respect the cultural identity and traditional knowledge of rural people as well as the need to provide social protection and to ensure gender equality in rural areas.

The UN Human Rights Council’s decision has marked another important step in a long process that could culminate with the adoption of the Declaration later this month by the UN General Assembly.

“Small-scale family farmers and peasants who produce 80 percent of the world’s food are of vital importance for food security worldwide and greatly contribute to the economic, environmental and social sustainability of food systems. Yet today they are facing increasing levels of vulnerability and threats, including from conflict and climate change, a situation that further underscores the need to protect their rights universally,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

FAO’s role

In recent years, FAO has supported the process to adopt the Declaration, which is linked to most of the principles and guidelines adopted by the Committee on World Food Security and various FAO bodies.

In particular, the Declaration makes reference to the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security and other global conventions such as the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The themes and values underpinning the Declaration also relate to other aspects of FAO’s work including with indigenous people.

FAO is also providing knowledge and resources to member countries in support of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition and the UN Decade of Family Farming both of which stress the centrality of peasants, small-scale fishers and pastoralists in achieving sustainable food systems that provide healthy diets for all.