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Monitoring

Monitoring the right to food within a country involves regular collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of relevant information to assess progress in realizing the right to adequate food for all members of society, and whether this is being made in accordance with human rights principles and approaches.

Monitoring is a process carried out at the same time as policy, programme and project execution which gathers, processes and analyses information to determine whether these are progressing as planned (time, cost, efficiency, etc.) and if they are helping to achieve the planned results and objectives. It is a dynamic and flexible activity used to facilitate the adaptations and adjustments needed to better focus actions on the achievement of results and objectives.

Monitoring can significantly contribute to protect the enjoyment of the right to adequate food for those who presently have it and be a useful tool to properly implement projects and programmes aiming at end hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition (SDG2) and eradicate poverty (SDG1) in all forms everywhere.

The human rights approach to monitoring can be considered from two complementary perspectives: rights-centred monitoring (referring to what is monitored) and rights-based monitoring (referring to how monitoring is performed).

Rights-centred monitoring involves monitoring to check whether human rights principles have been applied in the design, funding and implementation of relevant policies, programmes, projects and activities, and whether they have had significant impact on the realization of rights. This monitoring approach therefore includes:

  • monitoring the development and implementation processes of measures expected to have an impact on the realization of a human right, in this case on the right to adequate food;
  • monitoring the results achieved with these measures (which may be policies, programmes, projects, etc.) and their contribution to the progressive realization of rights;
  • monitoring the final impact obtained in terms of increasing the degree of respect, protection and fulfilment of rights, particularly the right to food.

Rights-based monitoring implies that the monitoring process itself is based on and consistent with human rights principles; is transparent and participatory; helps to empower rights-holders; and strengthens the capacities of duty-bearers, providing both groups with valuable information for decision-making aimed at the realization of rights.

Rights-based monitoring adds analytical and methodological features not found in conventional monitoring:

  • analysis of the results and impacts of policies and programmes;
  • identification of who benefits and who does not;
  • clear definition of the reasons why the groups identified suffer or are vulnerable to food insecurity and malnutrition;
  • ongoing assessment of the implementation process of right to food measures and the provision of public services to check whether they conform to human rights principles;
  • development of rights-based indicators;development and adaptation of monitoring methodologies that incorporate the principles of participation, inclusion and empowerment of groups of rights-holders, despite their limited technical expertise or lack of experience.

Monitoring the right to food within a country involves regular collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of relevant information to assess progress in realizing the right to adequate food for all members of society, and whether this is being made in accordance with human rights principles and approaches.

The Right to Food Guidelines can be used to develop a framework to monitor this right. One of these Guidelines (17 – “Monitoring, indicators and benchmarks”) specifically addresses monitoring and evaluating the right to food and food security. Additional relevant aspects related to monitoring are covered in other guidelines. For example, (i) undertaking right to adequate food assessments to formulate a national human-rights based strategy (Guideline 3.2 – “Strategies”), (ii) establishing national intersectoral coordination mechanisms to monitor and evaluate policies, plans and programmes (Guideline 5.2 – “Institutions”), (iii) involvement of stakeholders, particularly communities and local government in monitoring and evaluating food production and consumption programmes (Guidelines 10.3 – “Nutrition”), (iv) undertaking disaggregated food insecurity, nutrition and vulnerability analysis to assess forms of discrimination (Guideline 13.2 – “Support for vulnerable groups”), and (v) participation by civil society organisations and individuals in the monitoring activities of human rights institutions (Guideline 18.1 – “National human rights institutions”).

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