Home > Policy Support and Governance > Policy Themes > Right to Food
Policy Support and Governance
©FAO/Ishara Kodikara

Right to Food

Enough food is produced to feed everyone, however 815 million people currently suffer from chronic hunger.

Working to realize the fundamental right to food.

The right to adequate food is a human right. A human rights-based approach (HRBA) to food security and nutrition is necessary for tackling the root causes of hunger and malnutrition.

Freedom from hunger is a fundamental goal within FAO’s Constitution. In 2004, FAO Member Nations  adopted the Voluntary Guidelines to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of the national food security (Right to Food Guidelines)

FAO supports countries implementing the Right to Food Guidelines (RtFG) by developing methodologies and analytical tools; in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes; through tailored capacity development; by promoting global and regional governance of food security and nutrition; and by facilitating partnership with different stakeholders.

Key policy messages

·        The right to adequate food is a legal obligation under international law. It was recognized as a human right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 25) in 1948. And 164 States (as of March 2016) have ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Article 11), which is a binding agreement through which States commit to guarantee the right to adequate food.

·        The Right to Food Guidelines, other related Guidelines such as the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests and the Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition (VGGTs), and global frameworks such as the Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition (GSF) provide guidance on actions and processes. They facilitate the design, implementation and monitoring of policies in national contexts.

·        A HRBA helps countries to develop their capacities to fulfil their obligations, be ready to assist groups and individuals most vulnerable and at risk, and take adequate development action to enhance people’s self-reliance and ability to feed themselves in dignity.

·        By prioritizing the most vulnerable and involving all relevant stakeholders, policies can be more coherent and national efforts more effective, including to achieve the Goals and Targets agreed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and in particular Goal 2.

·        The RtFG promote a set of principles that include participation, accountability, non-discrimination, transparency, human dignity, empowerment, and the rule of law. These principles facilitate feedback and social support to improve policy results.

Featured resources

Share this page