The Right to Food

The right to food is at the heart of the food policy agenda

News - 25.11.2019

Rome, 25 November 2019- Legislators worldwide close the year sharing a common vision in favour of ensuring that everyone enjoys the human right to adequate food, with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). In the last quarter of 2019, the Parliamentary Network for Food Security in Africa and the Arab World, an initiative by the Association of Senate, Shoora and Equivalent Councils in Africa and Arab World (ASSECCA), gathered for the first time on the occasion of an international seminar on Parliamentary Networks and Food Security Challenges. The meeting also set the stage for the creation of the Afro-Latin American Parliamentary Forum (AFROLAC), a trans-regional and South-South parliamentary alliance that will foster cooperation between parliamentarians in Africa and the Arab world and Latin America and the Caribbean.

In line with this advancement, the Network of parliamentary alliances in Central Africa for people’s food security and nutrition was established. The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) currently counts with two Parliamentary Alliances for Food and Nutrition Security, one in Cameroon and another one in Gabon, created last October.
Recently, Sao Tome and Principe has announced the composition of its Parliamentary Alliance, while Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo have organized sensitization sessions for parliamentarians to set up their alliances.

The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) launched in 2016 the Pan-African Parliamentary Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. Other similar initiatives at the regional level (EAPA-FSN in East Africa, ECOWAS in West Africa) and at national level have taken shape on the continent too.

Across the ocean, the Parliamentary Front against Hunger and Malnutrition in Chile presented a proposal to reform the Constitution in favour of explicitly guarantees the right to adequate food. This goes along with a broad trend in Latin America and the Caribbean, where the right to food is already recognized constitutionally in 16 countries, whether for everyone or for specific groups of people such as children, pregnant women or the elderly, among others.  As Manuela Cuvi, Legal Officer of FAO, explained: “the added value of food being considered a right is that people can demand accountability to States, in order to respect this right and make it effective through legislation, public policies and programmes”.

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