18.06.2012

The right to food and global strategic frameworks: a window of opportunity

We are pleased to announce that FAO has published a study entitled “The right to food and global strategic frameworks: The Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition (GSF) and the UN Comprehensive Framework for Action (CFA)”, developed jointly with the Geneva academy of humanitarian law and human rights.

As an integral part of the reformed Committee on World Food Security, the GSF is an indispensable strategic tool to achieve the CFS vision of “… a world free from hunger where countries implement the voluntary guidelines for the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security”. As for the updated CFA, which aims to propose measures and solutions to be implemented to respond to the food crisis, it provides the platform to deliver on the recommendation of the Secretary General on the addition of the right to adequate food as the third track – with food aid and food security – to respond to the global crisis.

In light of recent developments, this study aims to provide guidance on how the right to adequate food can best be integrated into these two frameworks. Seen both as an analytical and practical tool, it is divided into four main sections: the evolution of the right to adequate food and the rights-based approach to the fight against hunger; an introduction to the CFA/UCFA as well as the GSF; possible ways to introduce the right to adequate food into the CFA/UCFA; and recommendations for the integration of the right to adequate food into the GSF. While the CFA/UCFA has already been adopted, the GSF is still being debated, thus offering a possibility for further right to food implementations, which are detailed in this study.

In the final part of the study, two sets of recommendations are presented for the GSF. As for the first set of recommendations, it aims to present possible ways to improve future versions of the framework. Among others, it recommends to consolidate the importance given to the right to adequate food, with the Right to Food Guidelines being both amongst the foundations and of the overarching framework of the GSF; to include human rights principles of participation, accountability, non-discrimination, transparency, human dignity, empowerment and the rule of law (PANTHER); to clearly define monitoring responsibilities of the different stakeholders and accountability mechanisms,  including the application of right to food indicators and the strengthening people’s access to justice for victims of violations.

As for the second set of recommendations, it aims to integrate the right to adequate food in the implementation of the GSF notably by arguing that it should largely promote a right to food-based approach as well as the following of the PANTHER human rights principles in the elaboration and implementation of food security policies and programmes; it should encourage awareness raising campaigns, the empowerment of people to claim their right to adequate food and the promotion of gender-equality.

In sum, while the adoption of the GSF will represent a great opportunity to convince states and other stakeholders to improve the implementation of the Right to Food Guidelines and rights-based food security and nutrition strategies, this study reminds us of the necessity to seize such an opportunity. Indeed, “these measures will help to reduce food insecurity and malnutrition in the world, by ensuring that the right to adequate food will be the main objective of food security policies and programmes, that human rights principles will guide the elaboration and implementation of these policies and programmes and that people will be empowered to claim their right to adequate food and the capacities of government authorities will be strengthened to meet their obligations”.