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Promoting the “Draft Framework on Monitoring the Human Right to Adequate Food in Nepal”

From the field - 28.08.2015

by the FAO Representation in Kathmandu

From the 25th to the 28th of August 2015, a series of consultations, workshops and meetings were organized by the FAO Representation in Nepal in Kathmandu with the aim to sensitize lawmakers, members of the Constituent Assembly (CA), government officials, civil society organizations, national human rights institutions and other stakeholders on the importance of human rights-based monitoring frameworks for the right to food, particularly in post-disaster recovery phases. The events helped introducing a “Draft Framework on Monitoring the Human Right to Adequate Food in Nepal”, a publication supported by the FAO and the Government of Norway to be finalized by October 2015. Most importantly, the four days led to important discussions about challenges and opportunities, and to renew the commitment to implement the Right to Food Guidelines in the country.

Altogether, 170 participants participated to the four days of dialogues, discussions and information sharing. Notably, high level government officials from the National Planning Commission attended together with different government ministries, as well as members of the Dalit, Law, and Women Commissions, Nepal Bar Association (NBA), National Human Rights Commission, and journalists. Remarkably and for the first time, all these stakeholders were all present, together, to discuss about the right to food in Nepal. The events also benefited from the presence of Mr. Rajeev Malhotra, Professor and Executive Director of the Centre for Development and Finance of the Jindal School of Government and Public Policy in India, who led the development of the Human Rights Indicators Guide, elaborated by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

On the first day, the 25th of August, a “Joint Policy Dialogue Meeting on Human Rights Based-Approach and Right to Food in Nepal” took place in Kathmandu. The main objective of the meeting was to commit to jointly implement a common framework on monitoring the right to food to ensure its progressive realization in Nepal. During the Dialogue, Mr. Sunil Pokharel, General Secretary of the NBA, remarked the need to promote legislative frameworks to realize the right to food in Nepal, building on the opportunity created by the inclusion of specific provisions related to the right to food and food sovereignty in the draft constitution. Additionally, Mr. Umesh Chandra Jha, Chairman of the Nepal Law Commission remarked the urgency to address the needs and rights of the most vulnerable in Nepal (historically discriminated people like the Dalit, people with disabilities, women, rural workers among others) and to move beyond the recognition on paper of such rights, to a progressive and concrete realization of the right to food. To achieve that, a framework on monitoring the right to food in Nepal will greatly help.

On the second day, a “Consultation Workshop on Human Rights Based Approach in Post-disaster Recovery Phase and Right to Food in Nepal” was held in joint collaboration with National Planning Commission. During the workshop, high-level officials Dr. Gobinda Raj Pokheral and Dr Swanim Wagle, Vice Chairman and Member of the National Planning Commission respectively, publicly acknowledged the efforts made by FAO to promote a coordinated and cross-cutting framework on monitoring the right to food in Nepal during such a crucial time. They also spoke about the challenges currently being faced by Nepal (referring to the post-disaster recovery phase and the constitution-making process) and highlighted the importance, now more than ever, of a HRBA in policy processes. Such an approach is essential to ensure in a coordinated manner the respect, protection and fulfilment of fundamental human rights, with a special attention towards the most vulnerable of Nepal. Finally, Mr. Ramesh Dhakal, Joint Secretary of the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers spoke to all participants of, in his view, the most remarkable step taken forth by the country notably the provision on the right to food in the draft of the new Constitution. Such a provision is included in the Article 36 (1) which ensures the right to food for every citizen. Echoing previous interventions, he remarked the need for a coordinated national roadmap to ensure socio-economic transformation and social justice for all. The National Human Rights Action Plan 2014-2019 of his Office, he mentioned, contributes to this objective but will benefit greatly from an alignment to the future framework on monitoring the right to food in Nepal.

The Consultation was followed the day after by a “Sharing Workshop on Operationalization of the Draft Guideline on Monitoring the Human Right to Adequate Food”. The objective of the workshop was to gather constructive comments and feedback on the framework on monitoring the right to food from all concerned stakeholders involved during the drafting process. These comments and feedback will be helpful to finalize the document by the end of October 2015.

Finally, on the last day, a “Briefing Meeting on HRBA and Right to Food” was jointly organized by FAO in collaboration with Women Act Nepal. The aim of the meeting was to brief about 50 members of the Constituent Assembly on the various issues discussed in the previous days namely, the main elements of a HRBA in post-disaster recovery phase, the implementation of the right to food post-approval of the new Constitution, and the usefulness and need of a common framework on monitoring the right to food in Nepal.

These events are part of FAO’s ongoing efforts to support countries with the implementation of the Right to Food Guidelines and were financially supported by the Government of Norway through the project “GCP/GLO/324/NOR - Integrating the Right to Adequate Food and Good Governance in National Policies, Legislation and Institutions”.

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