The 2009 World Food Summit arrived to an end after three days of discussions in which a large variety of stakeholders addressed key issues for the realization of the right to food. While the Plenary Hall witnessed the statements of delegates and international organizations, the round tables were the occasion to debate crucial issues such as climate change, fair trade rules (particularly the Doha Round) and special measures to address global food governance, including the current reform of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). In the meanwhile, a side event of a wide array of Social Movements, NGOs and CSOs also took place.
One of the most important outcomes of the Summit is the Declaration that was adopted the first day. Far from perfect, as stated by the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter, it consolidates the right to food as a sustainable objective to attain. While the States committed themselves to persist their efforts on a twin track approach based on short and long term solutions to eradicate hunger, they reaffirmed that the right to food is an overarching goal to reach in a progressive way.
“We affirm the right of everyone to have access to safe, sufficient and nutritious food, consistent with the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security. We will strive for 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” and we will support the practical application of the guidelines based on the principles of participation, transparency and accountability.”
The need for sustainable policies in all countries and at all levels, namely, at national, regional and international dimensions, was raised by a large number of speakers. During the three days of the Summit held from 16 to 18 November, we heard unanimously that the problem of hunger is not that there is scarcity of food, but rather that vulnerable people such as small farmers and rural poor do not have access to it. In that sense, accountability of all actors, but especially governments who must be responsible for the decisions and actions undertaken, was an aspect that was highly underlined. The Summit ended with important messages coming from both, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food and the Deputy-High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Kyung-wha Kang who claimed that hunger and malnutrition are severe violations of the right to food, one the most important human right recognised worldwide. In order to respond to this unacceptable situation, the right to food offers a comprehensive framework already adopted by States; the Right to Food Guidelines should guide all States in fixing the structural problems that cause hunger today.
If you are interested to read the Declaration of the World Summit on Food Security, the Statement of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food and the statement of the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, you will find the PDF documents at:
The Final Declaration from Social Movements/NGOs/CSOs is available at: