Formulation and Implementation of Policies and Programmes

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When undertaking a policy analysis from the perspective of the right to food and good governance, four main elements should be addressed in order to fully integrate the right to food in regional and national food security and nutrition policy designs.

The four bullet points below serve as a checklist when analyzing policy documents and statements in order to examine how well they are oriented towards the protection and realization of the right to food and all human rights, and to adherence of good governance practices:

  • Food insecure and vulnerable groups are identified, their livelihood strategies and activities are described, and a causality analysis has been performed to understand the reasons why each group suffers from food insecurity and/or is vulnerable to food insecurity and malnutrition.
  • Policy priorities, policy implementation strategies and specific actions target each food insecure and vulnerable group and address the multiple underlying causes for food insecurity and malnutrition in each group.
  • Food security and nutrition goals, and time-bound targets and benchmarks have been established; protection and the realization of the right to food among food insecure, malnourished and vulnerable groups are included as part of overall policy objectives.
  • Policy implementation principles are explicitly stated in the policy, and point to a clear commitment to respect and protect the human rights of all, and to apply good governance practices when implementing the policy.

Several of the items on the checklist relate to accountability. First, the policy statement itself, and the objectives and priorities that the policy establishes, constitute the government’s commitment to reduce food insecurity and malnutrition. This commitment is further quantified when time-bound targets and benchmarks are established in the policy, against which actual progress can be measured over time. Objectives and targets need to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound (SMART). Secondly, the government can be held accountable whenever the policy’s implementation principles and strategies are not adhered to, particularly when non-adherence results in human rights violations.

Policy formulation, design and implementation at regional and national levels

The process of formulating a policy should conform to good governance practices with strong links to human rights principles, as this raises the probability that the policy in actuality will be implemented in ways that contribute to the protection and realization of human rights. Policy statements need to be transformed into concrete actions to be meaningful and to have an impact. Policy documents normally outline broad and strategic areas of action to achieve policy goals and objectives, but require complementary operational plans for the implementation of the policy. Monitoring of the policy’s implementation and impact is an instrument that provides information with which a government, its various institutions as well as other actors can be held accountable.

Programme design and implementation at national levels

Good governance practices and the right to food should be at the core of programme design implementation and monitoring. At the design level the focus should be on the relevance, responsiveness to local diversity, targeting, interventions and activities, management and programme institutional linkages. Programme implementation and monitoring should also apply good governance practices. In particular, a rights based programme should have redress mechanisms in place; ensure a wide inter-sectoral collaboration and coordination, and be sustainable in terms of human resources and financial commitments, ownership and flexibility to respond to future needs.