Civil Society

Right to Food: Right to a Future

© Benedicte Kurzen/NOOR for FAO

31/05/2024 - 

In commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Voluntary Guidelines for the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food within National Food Security contexts, FAO, along with Deutsche Welthungerhilfe e.V., Right to Food Coalition Kenya and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), hosted on 9 May a virtual panel discussion entitled "Right to Food: Right to a Future", part of a series of workshops held during the 2024 UN Civil Society Conference and in lead up to the Summit of the Future later in 2024.

The discussion centered on the crucial significance of the right to food for future generations and explored strategies for its realization, with input from three youth representatives who attended as panelists.

The right to food ensures everyone's freedom from hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition, for a dignified life. To ensure access to healthy diets amidst rapid urbanization, climate change and inequalities, we need multifaceted solutions. With 735 million people facing chronic hunger in 2022, transforming agrifood systems is vital for the sustainable nourishment of future generations. While the Right to Food Guidelines offer practical guidance for governments and other key stakeholders, current food systems still fail to provide healthy, culturally appropriate food produced sustainably, threatening the future of younger generations.

As highlighted by H.E. Ambassador Nosipho Nausca-Jean Jezile, Chair of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in her welcoming remarks, many countries have already made use of the Guidelines, such as by incorporating the Right to Food into national legislation. However, “we must keep promoting their use to continue to support countries in adopting constitutional amendments and in developing laws, strategies, policies and programmes to further realize the right to adequate food at the national level.”

The obstacles encountered by young people in the realization of the right to food have similarities across different nations. In discussions about the primary hurdles faced by youth in Kenya, Nepal, and Peru, all three panelists highlighted access to decent and formal employment as well as access to education; and the unequal distribution of resources, such as land and water, which are essential for food production.

In conclusion, Dr. Christophe Golay, a Senior Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, delivered a thorough summary of the evolution of the right to food, spanning from its inception to the present moment.

A recording of the full session is accessible here.