FAO in Geneva

FAO welcomes UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur work on the right to food

02/03/2021

The impact of COVID-19 in the implementation of the right to food was one of the issues discussed today at the interactive debate held on virtual format with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Mr. Michael Fakhri. During the meeting, Mr. Fakhri also presented his first annual report to the Council. The report focuses on the following three main thematic areas: i) COVID-19 and the hunger crisis; ii) food systems and global governance, seeds and farmers’rights; iii) the right to food in armed conflicts and protracted crises.

Mr. Celso de Carvalho, Policy Officer at the FAO Liaison Office with the United Nations in Geneva, participating in the interactive debate, welcomed the first report presented by Mr. Fakhri, which has also made references to FAO's figures and research. FAO also expressed its appreciation for the openness and transparency of the UN Special Rapporteur since he took office in May 2020. 

During the meeting, FAO highlighted that the number of people that were undernourished in 2019 reached almost 690 million, up by nearly 60 million from 2014. With food insecurity on the rise, achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 ‘Zero Hunger’ by 2030 is unrealistic.  

According to FAO estimates, COVID-19 and its secondary impacts may add another 132 million to the alarming figure. “For more than 3 billion people, even if they had access to the minimal calorie intake, healthy diets would be unaffordable”, said Mr. Carvalho. 

Ensuring that every woman, man and child has access to adequate food lies at the core of FAO’s mandate and this is highlighted in the “Voluntary Guidelines to support the progressive realization of the right to food in the context of national food security”. The UN Food Systems Summit to be held later this year will give strong impetus to these efforts, emphasized Mr. Carvalho during the meeting. 

FAO has also set up a Comprehensive COVID-19 Response and Recovery Umbrella Program to address the pandemic’s immediate and long-term impacts with particular attention to the poorest and most vulnerable groups, he concluded.

More information:

Learn more on FAO’s work on the Right to Food 

UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

A/HRC/46/33 - Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food