The Right to Food

Global leaders at the CFS calls for bolder actions to eradicate hunger

News - 30.10.2019

Rome, 30 October 2019 – At this year’s Committee on World Food Security (CFS 46), which took place in Rome from 14 to 18 October, Member Countries and CFS stakeholders urged to further intensify efforts for the realization of human rights, in particular the right to food, in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. “The right to health and the right to food are inalienable, indivisible and interdependent human rights”, expressed firmly Brazil.

The Committee, deeply concerned about the increasing number of hungry people in the world, remarked the importance of  the Right to Food Guidelines to achieve a world free from hunger. Accountability and participation of a wide range of actors were highlighted as key elements for a successful implementation.

Furthermore, the CFS approved its four-year Multi-Programme of Work (MYPoW) which includes workstreams on youth employment, gender equality, women empowerment, data, as well as on inequalities. Through the new MYPoW, the CFS is putting human rights and the right to food at the core of its actions, helping its Members to accelerate progress to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Linking SDG and the Right to Food

As keynote speaker during the first day of Plenary, Hilal Elver, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, presented for the first time in history findings on her latest report to the General Assembly in New York, focusing on the 2030 Agenda. She stressed how “closely aligned and mutually reinforcing” are the SDGs, especially SDG2, and the right to food.

“We have a great challenge in front of us, as working to the progressive realization of the right to food is urgent and imperative, if we are to achieve our goals and implement SDGs to the extent possible”, she said. “If properly implemented from a holistic human rights- based approach, the SDGs in their entirety have the potential to serve as a transformative global agenda”, she added.

She underlined that the right to food is “still a distant aspirational principle in far too many countries”, where especially women and youth working in agriculture need to receive more attention from States in order to ensure equity with regards for instance to food distribution and production.

Enriching CFS through side events

Along with plenary sessions, the CFS 46 welcomed multiple side-event, including a significant number directly discussing the right to food. 

The week kicked off placing human rights at the centre of the debate. Yet, hundreds of millions of people are discriminated and excluded from opportunities. Thus, the root causes of inequality and food insecurity should be addressed with a human rights-based approach such as the 2030 Agenda.

The 15th anniversary since the adoption by FAO Council of the Right to Food Guidelines was the occasion to launch a FAO report that showcases how countries and other stakeholders have made great strides in developing, adopting, implementing and evaluating actions and processes geared towards the realization of the right to adequate food.

On Wednesday, in an event organized by the informal Friends of the Right to Food Group in Rome, the key question was to what extent and how the right to food can address hunger and malnutrition in public policies.

At the end of the week, the relation between indigenous peoples’ food systems, traditional knowledge and linguistic diversity was explored. As stated, when these elements are not properly managed, effects result in forced migration, displacement, loss of the natural resource base and environmental degradation.

Healthy and sustainable diets

The global World Food Day ceremony took the stage on 16th December, pointing at making healthy and sustainable diets affordable and accessible, so that everybody can enjoy their right to food.

A cornerstone of an effective action is the collaboration of governments, institutions, civil society and other stakeholders. Particularly, governments should address the main drivers of food insecurity and malnutrition by finding synergies between agriculture, nutrition, health, education that impact positively on nutrition and realize the right to food. They should adopt constitutional and legal frameworks for the fulfilment of this important human right, whilst strengthen the participation of as many stakeholders as possible.

About the Committee on World Food Security

The CFS serves as a forum in the United Nations System to review and follow-up of policies concerning world food security including production and physical and economic access to food.

After undergoing a reform in 2009, CFS became the most inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders to work together to ensure food security and nutrition for all, whilst striving for the realization of the right to food.

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