The Right to Food around the Globe


The Constitution of the Republic of Malawi explicitly guarantees the right to adequate food.

The Republic of Malawi has become a State party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in 1993 by way of accession.


Explicit protection of the right to adequate food

Article 30: Right to development.
2. "The State shall take all necessary measures for the realization of the right to development. Such measures shall include, amongst other things, equality of opportunity for all in their access to basic resources, education, health services, food, shelter, employment and infrastructure."

Article 42.1: "Every person who is detained, including every sentenced prisoner, shall have the right - (b) to be detained under conditions consistent with human dignity, which shall include at least the provision of reading and writing materials, adequate nutrition and medical treatment at the expense of the State."

Directive principles of state policy

Article 13: “The State shall actively promote the welfare and development of  the people of Malawi by progressively adopting and implementing policies and legislation aimed at achieving the following goals:
(b) Nutrition: To achieve adequate nutrition for all in order to promote good health and self-sufficiency.”

National status of international obligations

Article 211.1: “Any international agreement ratified by an Act of Parliament shall form part of the law of the Republic if so provided for in the Act of Parliament ratifying the agreement."

Article 211.2: "International agreements entered into before the commencement of this Constitution and binding on the Republic shall form part of the law of the Republic, unless Parliament subsequently provides otherwise or the agreement otherwise lapses."

Article 211.3: "Customary international law, unless inconsistent with this Constitution or an Act of Parliament, shall have continued application."


Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) – 1948

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) – 1966

Status: Accession (1993)

Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) – 1979

Status: Accession (1987)

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) – 1989

Status: Accession (1991)

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) – 2006

Status: Ratification (2009)

Legislation and policies recognizing the right to adequate food

Guidance on how to progressively realise the human right to adequate food in contexts of national food security has been provided by the Right to Food Guidelines, adopted by the FAO Council and endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security.

Considering that the human right to adequate food can be implemented through a variety of legal and policy actions, we invite you to visit the FAOLEX Country Profile database for a wide-ranging collection of measures that have been taken at national level. Some of the documents you may find are legislation and policies that touch on a number of relevant Guidelines, such as those on Access to resources and assets (Guideline 8), Food safety and consumer protection (Guideline 9), Support for vulnerable groups (Guideline 13) and Natural and human-made disasters (Guideline 16).

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