Nepal enshrines the Right to Food in new constitution

FAO says it will strengthen moves to achieve Zero Hunger in the country

1 October 2015, Kathmandu - The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization welcomes the promulgation of Nepal's new constitution which has enshrined the Right to Food as a fundamental right for its citizens, FAO's Representative in Nepal said today.

President Ram Baran Yadav unveiled the long-awaited new constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal on 20 September 2015, which recognizes the Right to Food as a fundamental right of the citizens of Nepal. The promulgation of the new constitution represents a milestone of paramount importance for the country, affected in recent years by political instability and most recently by a devastating earthquake. It was approved by 507 of 601 lawmakers in the assembly.

FAO has supported the dialogue on food security, right to food and other related matters in Nepal for years. These contributions have been instrumental in order to facilitate consensus and the explicit recognition of the right to food, and other related provisions in articles 36 and 42:

  • Article 36 (1) ensures right to food for every citizen,
  • Article 36 (2) ensures that every citizen have right to be protected against food scarcity that may cause threat to life,
  • Article 36 (3) ensures that every citizen have right to food sovereignty as provided by law,
  • Article 42 - right to social justice - includes provision on food.

The explicit constitutional recognition of the right to food will also be instrumental in the implementation of Zero Hunger Challenge Initiatives in the country, with the objective of addressing food insecurity in 30 districts situated in the mid-hill and mountain areas of Nepal.

"Enshrining the right to food in the new constitution of Nepal is a moment of paradigm importance", said Somsak Pipoppinyo, FAO Representative in Nepal.

"I would like to congratulate all the stakeholders whose tireless efforts have paid off. In particular, the National Human Rights Commission, members of the Constitution Assembly, Nepal Bar Association, farmers groups and human rights activists for their collective advocacy in favor of the constitutional status for the human right to adequate food," said Somsak, adding that he was hopeful that food insecurity would be tackled in every district in the country, in keeping with the spirit of the new charter.

FAO Nepal has been supporting the Government of Nepal to promote, protect and monitor human rights in programmes, policies and legislation on food security and right to food in Nepal since 2012.

Photo: ©FAO/Sailendra Kharel
A Nepalese vegetable farmer.