Mainstreaming refers to the conscious, systematic and concrete integration of certain values and standards into policies, plans, programmes, priorities, processes, outputs and outcomes of an organization. The integration of a human rights perspective into development work will ensure better targeting, increased efficiency of programmes and long-term sustainability. The designation of human rights as a “cross-cutting issue” that needs to be “mainstreamed” in all programmes, policies and activities of the UN system in 1997 ushered in policy and programming shift within the UN agencies, programmes and funds.
FAO has been engaged in mainstreaming, with a particular focus on the right to adequate food. The Right to Food Team in ESA backstops this endeavour. At the operational level, the approach based on the right to food centres on three key questions:
- Is the realization of the right to food an overall objective or guiding framework?
- Do the PANTHER principles (participation, accountability, non-discrimination, transparency, human dignity, empowerment and the rule of law) guide the processes of programme formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation?
- Do programmes strengthen the notion of rights and obligations, build capacity of rights holders and duty bearers, and establish accountability mechanisms?