From Principles to Practice

Governments should take action at the national level to build an enabling environment for people to feed themselves in dignity and to establish appropriate safety nets for those who are unable to do so. Civil society should, in a joint effort with Governments, work towards advancing the right to food and building the capacity of right holders and duty bearers alike.

Seven Practical Steps

The Right to Food Guidelines contains the seven practical steps and ways in which human rights principles should be put into practice. It is recommended that the seven human rights principles are applied in all fields related to food and agriculture.

The Right to Food Team recommends these seven practical steps, which governments should take. The steps could be applied in this sequence, but of course, in reality, most countries have already undertaken some if not all of the steps.

The seven steps approach for implementation:

  1. Identify the hungry and the poor, whose right to food is not realized
  2. Conduct a thorough assessment of the existing policies, institutions, laws and programmes
  3. Develop right-based food security strategies for an enabling environment and assistance measures
  4. Improve institutional coordination and functioning (assign roles and responsibilities)
  5. Review and strengthen the legal framework
  6. Monitor the progressive realization of the right to food
  7. Ensure effective recourse for violations of the right to food 

The seven steps described focus on the government. Civil society and NGOs should also play an active part, especially with regard to advocacy and information. Many and diverse actors need capacity development for the steps to be effectively undertaken. These include members of the executive, legislative and judicial branch of the state, nutritionists, agronomists, lawyers, professionals working in food security as well as civil society and individuals.

Capacity Development: A Driver of Change

Capacity development is considered an essential core element for all stakeholders as it can influence the realization of the right to food. Trained government officials will be able to understand their own roles in implementing the right to food, and their obligations. An improved public understanding of human rights in general and the right to food in particular helps individuals and communities to participate in making decisions that affect their food security situation. Thus, capacity development can be described as a driver of change.

Capacity development at individual level can lead to changes in skills, behaviours and attitudes among a wide range of actors in the agriculture and rural development sector. Training, knowledge sharing, partnering and networking are ways of strengthening capacities at individual level. Strengthening capacities within organizations, institutions, governments and states level can improve the overall functioning and performance and this can have a direct impact on how individuals within organizations develop their competencies and use their capabilities.

However, many other factors can influence capacity development and the possibilities for change. Political commitment and vision, policy, legal and economic frameworks, budget allocations and processes, governance and power structures, social norms and culture are all factors that can influence the realization for the right to food.  


Human Rights principles