Conduct a Right to Food Assessment

Author: FAO Right to Food Team

"How to" Series, 2007.

This paper “Conduct a Right to Food Assessment” is a part of the “How to” series, which also includes the papers “Analyze Budgets”, “Legislate for the Right to Food” and “Monitor the Realization of the Right to Food”.

Developing a strategy to implement the right to food must begin by evaluating the current situation. The Right to Food Guidelines recommend that states start with a, “careful assessment of existing national legislation, policy and administrative measures, current programmes, systematic identification of existing constraints and availability of existing resources”. Not only the outcomes and impacts of policy and programme measures are important, but also the implementing processes; rights-based processes are transparent, participatory, non-discriminatory and empower rights-holders to hold duty-bearers accountable. Subsequent analysis will reveal what policy changes, new measures and food security priorities can best lead to realization of the right to food.

The paper addresses the elements “why”, “who” and “how” of the process of a Right to Food assessment. The core elements of the assessment are:

  • Identification and characterization of food-insecure, vulnerable and marginalized groups that do not enjoy the right to adequate food (and likely other economic, social and cultural rights);
  • Understanding underlying reasons each group is food-insecure, vulnerable, marginalized;
  • Understanding legal and institutional environment where policy/programme measures must be implemented and
    risks that could jeopardise the furthering of the right to adequate food;
  • Understanding shortcomings of existing or proposed policies/programmes and the need to re-design to
    incorporate a rights-based approach toward realizing the right to adequate food.


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