20th anniversary of the Right to Food Guidelines - Call for inputs on the realization of the Human Right to Adequate Food
2024 marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security (RTFG).
The right to food is a legally binding right, guaranteed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It is realized when everyone has physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement, as established in General Comment 12, Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR).
The Right to Food Guidelines provide practical guidance for States on how to realize the right to adequate food through the development of strategies, programmes, policies and legislation. They were endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and adopted by FAO Council in November 2004, after two years of intergovernmental negotiations and multi-stakeholder participation.
Governments have legal obligations to ensure the right to food, while everyone is entitled to enjoy it as a universal right, without discrimination. Moreover, all of us, individuals or collectives, including government officials, lawmakers, local communities, non-governmental organizations, academics, consumer organizations, youth groups, Indigenous Peoples, small holders, women’s organizations, civil society organizations as well as the private sector are crucial actors in the realization of the right to adequate food.
The RTFG anticipated the urgency of today’s most pressing global challenges to achieving sustainable development, including conflicts, inequalities, diseases, climate change, and loss of biodiversity. In our complex world with ever-growing and changing challenges, the Guidelines prove as relevant as ever. They remind us of the importance of international cooperation and collaboration towards the collective public good of ending hunger, malnutrition in all its forms, poverty and inequality. Their full implementation contributes to our efforts towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), themselves grounded in human rights.
The last 5 years have been particularly challenging with the COVID-19 pandemic, increased hunger and malnutrition in all its forms, rising inequalities, and a cost-of-living crisis. Innovative responses have been implemented by governments and other actors globally. 20 years on, it is time to take stock of progress and consider key takeaways.
Have your say where it matters!
Looking towards the 20th anniversary of the Right to Food Guidelines, the results of this call will help inform on efforts made to realize the right to adequate food at local, national, regional or global level, and provide an important stock taking opportunity for countries and their people.
The FAO Right to Food Team and the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) invite stakeholders to:
Share your experiences and good practices on the realization of the right to food for everyone, always.
Identify any gaps, constraints and challenges encountered in realizing the right to food or in implementing the Right to Food Guidelines.
Share any lessons learned and suggest recommendations for improvement in realizing the right to adequate food.
Next steps: are there any concrete plans to (further) use and apply the Guidelines?
How to take part in this Call for Submissions
Please share your experience(s) using the following template: Link to Template
Submissions can be made in any of the 6 UN languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish). Please keep the length of submissions limited to 1,000 words. You can upload the completed form here or, alternatively, send it to [email protected].
The Call for Submissions is open until 23 June 2023.
We thank you very much for your valuable contributions and look forward to learning from your experiences.
- Marie-Lara Hubert-Chartier, Right to Food Specialist
- Claire Mason, Right to Food Adviser
- Sarah Brand, Associate Professional Officer
- Chiara Cirulli, Economist (Food Security and Nutrition Policy), the CFS Secretariat
- Right to Food Guidelines
- Fifteen years implementing the RTFG
- RTF Handbooks
- RTF Methodological Toolbox
Dr. Christian Häberli
20 years, 15 years, binding, voluntary guidelines to ensure the R2F - and yet, no progress! Rather, in respect of SDG2/Indicators 2.1.1 and 2.1.2, “[t]he world is not on track to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030. If recent trends continue, the number of people affected by hunger would surpass 840 million by 2030.” (Food Coalition: A Covid-19 Response, FAO (2021).
Worse, according to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2022, "[t]he world is moving backwards in its efforts to end hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms. The distance to reach many of the SDG 2 targets is growing wider each year."
One major reason for this multilateral governance failure is that many governments support their farmers at the expense of unsubsidised farmers in poor developing countries. They do so within or outside their so-called Amber Box entitlement to distort trade, negotiated in the Uruguay Round. Regrettably, what economists call dumping is not incompatible with the rules of the WTO Subsidy Agreement (ASCM). However, it violates the "do no harm" principle under Public International Law which IS binding on all states under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (https://legal.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/conventions/1_1_1969…).
But nobody seems to care. And the WTO is unwilling and incapable of addressing the #1 problem for improving WTO Law in respect of the R2F.
WTO is a part of the problem: what we need is not MORE but BETTER trade!
Mr. Ruud Bronkhorst
Please find attached:
The Form on the experiences;
An article in Sociology and Anthropology "Fair Prices to Achieve a Living Income for Small Farmers and Its Relation to Local Food Purchase Programs";
"Fair Producer Prices", Paper to the 93rd Annual Conference of the Agricultural Economics Society (AES), University of Warwick, April 2019, and
The paper that is about a different way of calculation in the production chain and is taken from my book ‘The Economics of Human Rights: Using the Living Income/Fair Price Approach to Combat Poverty’.
Title of your submission
Country(ies)/ Region(s) covered by your submission
Name: Ruud Bronkhorst
Organization: InfoBridge Foundation www.infobridge.org
Email address: [email protected]
☐ UN organization
☒ Civil Society / NGO
☐ Private Sector
☐ Other (specify)
Awareness of the
Right to Food Guidelines and
CFS policy agreements
How did you become aware of the Right to Food Guidelines (e.g., CFS meeting or event, other UN Organizations, internet, colleagues, government, civil society organization)?
Have you taken any actions to make the Right to Food Guidelines known to your colleagues, partners or other stakeholders?
Not exactly the Right to Food Guidelines, but the Human Right to Adequate Food. This basic human right is the basis of my work and publications about ‘fair’ prices.
What would you recommend to Member States, UN Agencies and /or other stakeholders to make the Right to Food Guidelines more widely known?
All Member States, UN Agencies and/or other stakeholders should be reminded of the fact that the Right to Food is a legally binding right, following articles 23 and 25 of the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’, adopted by the United Nations, and is guaranteed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Use of the
Right to Food Guidelines
The Right to Food has been stressed during lectures and trainings.
Have your say where it matters!
(i) Experiences and good practices
(ii) Gaps, constraints and challenges
(iii) Lessons learned and suggested recommendations
- Lessons learned
- In my report of 2006 ‘Effects of structural food aid in the form of local purchase and sales of rice on rural development’ (https://infobridge.org), I mention that farmers in Burkina Faso who sold to WFP, told that they were paid much later, and the food was bought at the current market price, which was insufficient for them. Fortunately WFP has adjusted its policies since then.
(iv) Concrete plans
- In Europe the European Commission has drafted a Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence (CSDD) Directive that establishes a corporate due diligence duty. The core elements of this duty are identifying, bringing to an end, preventing, mitigating and accounting for negative human rights and environmental impacts in the company’s own operations, their subsidiaries and their value chains.
- Application of Living Income Reference Prices:
* Fairtrade Int. https://www.fairtrade.net/issue/living-income-reference-prices
* GIZ (Krain Eberhard, John Osei Gyimah, Ignatius Pumpuni, Nana Yaw Kwapong-Akuffo and Martin Kuntze-Fechner : ‘Analysis and Report of a Baseline Study for a Living Income (and Other Benchmarks) in Cashew- and Cocoa-Growing Regions of Ghana’), GIZ, 2021
* Cocoa Barometer 2022 https://cocoabarometer.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Cocoa-Barometer-2022.pdf
Link(s) to specific references
Link(s) to additional information
Prof. Hamid Ahmad
Human Right to Adequately Certified Religious Food to about quarter of the world population is jeopardized under current prevailing situation in the world. About 2 billion Muslim population spread over 57 Islamic countries (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation-OIC) and otherwise as minority migrants in other places like Europe, EU, USA ,Australia, Canada etc. require availability, continuity and affordability of certified ritual Halal food for the faithful, purified and credibly certified observance of their religion. According to UNO charter, it is a stated responsibility of all countries, nation states to provide adequate, nutritious, safe and secure food supply at affordable price to its citizens as articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and several other international instruments. These UNO conventions about right to food are not being implemented due to variety of reasons thus causing hunger, disease or even death in some cases. The issue of the provision of ritual Halal food needs to be discussed in detail and to be taken care of, by the UNO, global humanitarian, financial, commercial, regulatory and trade organisations to assess, identify, recognise and address the implications for a way out at national & international level.
I can make a full and detailed presentation on the topic / issue , if required.
The Voluntary Guidelines - a unique document in many respects with a lot of stories around its development which has enough substance for an interesting book about the functioning of international policy and with some funny parts - for example about boat trips on the river Spree.
We all knew in the moment of the final vote on the Guidelines that we all had achieved a historical step against hunger in the world. To see how national governments in the following years inspired by the Guidelines introduced the Right to Food in their constitutions, how Brazil was using the Guidelines as a blueprint for their successful FOME ZERO program, all this gives the mothers and fathers of the Guidelines the certainty that every minute they invested in its creation was worth it.
The first copy of the Guidelines was printed 5 minutes after its adoption and all important actors signed the first page.
This historic copy covers today the wall of my office in Moscow and tells me every day that agriculture and food security need peace everywhere on our planet.
Let us use the 20th anniversary of the Guidelines to renew the fight against all obstacles that are in way to the realization of the Guidelines on the Right to Food!
FYI: that was my speech in 2008
Presentation by Mr Martin Nissen Embassy of Germany, Paris, France on the opening of the Right to Food Forum Rome, 1 October 2008
Dear Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Mr. Ghanem,
Thank you very much for your nice introduction offering me the fatherhood for the Voluntary Guidelines. It is good to be back here and to see so many colleagues who became friends in the four years we were working together at the Voluntary Guidelines - a unique document in many respects with a lot of stories around its development which has enough substance for an interesting book about the functioning of international policy and with some funny parts - for example about boat trips on the river Spree. We all realized that the fight against hunger had been a failure in many parts of the world because of a lack of political will - both in industrial countries as well as in poor countries highly affected by hunger. And we were aware that other examples in some countries existed - worth to be integrated in the Guidelines. Our idea was it would be very helpful to combine an approach based on the human right to food with a manual for governments, international organizations and the civil society how to fight hunger in a multi-dimensional way. With other words: we had to describe the instruments and the necessary interaction with others tools. At that time I think every one of us had the experience being asked by head-shaking colleagues and friends: so what you want is that every hungry person can go to court to sue his government for food. My answer was always: I want that governments can be sued for necessary action to use internationally proven tools to prevent hunger in their country. Most times the reaction was interesting, the shaking head turned to one side indicating: that sounds reasonable. The necessity to create a comprehensive approach to fight hunger with the integration of actors from many other sectors - this necessity was simply proven by the fact that single-targeted development cooperation projects to tackle the hunger problem mainly resulted in failures. When we started the deliberations there was a good description by the former World Bank director of agriculture who said: when I look at the agricultural projects in the last decades I see a big cemetery. The deliberations on the Guidelines became very fruitful because of the special way to integrate the contributions of civil society and the other international organizations. I remember a lot of rather sharp discussions even in between the group of supporters of the Voluntary Guidelines about the question how pragmatic or dogmatic we should follow the elaborations written by human rights experts for the WFS 1996. The nature of FAO as a body which is based on common ground between the member states made it of course finally necessary to find a lot of compromises. But in the end of the deliberations most of us were impressed that we agreed upon a text which really can serve as a manual for those governments who want to fight hunger and malnutrition. And as such it gives a strong instrument against political excuses from those who want to hide the fact that they don’t have the necessary political will to improve the nutritional situation in countries suffering from hunger. We needed a lot of people with a clear vision, with a high profile of credibility and ability to convince others to manage this process. I see that many in the audience understood this remark as a compliment in their direction. This is exactly what I wanted to express. There were political coincidences within the time of discussing the Guidelines, which had nothing to do with this process, but which had a very important impact how the deliberations changed their direction at a certain time. As I already mentioned enough stuff for a good book… Another precondition for the Guidelines was the existence of a substantial financial funding. We needed a lot of money to organize the work on the Guidelines. The meetings here in Rome, the national studies to support the elaborations, the coordination of the work of the NGOs and the secretariat based here in Rome wouldn’t have been possible without the funding from several governments like those of Switzerland, Norway and Germany. Our objective to create the Guidelines as a manual of the successful tools to eradicate hunger and malnutrition was never to create a paper, but a tool which should be used in many countries in the world. And I am very interested to hear from you about the usefulness of this tool. Thank you for your attention
Head of the of the Food and agriculture department
German Embassy in Moscow
Bonjour, voici notre modèle de présentation remplie et notre proposition de projet
bonne lecture et en cas d'autres question relatives à l'organisation FACHA asbl nous sommes pret a vous repondre à temps voulue
ALIMASI NGWENA, Coordinateur
Dr. Ndubuisi Idejiora-Kalu
In line with the 20th anniversary of the Right to Food Guidelines and Call for inputs on the realization of the Human Right to Adequate Food encompassed by the adoption of the Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security (RTFG), please find attached, our contribution from Nigeria.
Kindly acknowledge receipt.
With best regards
Dr. Ndubuisi Idejiora-Kalu
Director-General, Assistant Professor
International Law, Diplomacy and Economy Research Center (ILDERC)
Multiplexed Consulting Limited
Mr. Dieudonné KEBA
Veuillez trouvez ci-joint ma proposition. A l'attente d'accuser de réception.
Mr Dieudonné KEBA