The Right to Food

Parliamentarians in Africa set right to food as priority

News - 03.06.2019

3 June 2019, RomeStrengthening the capacities of members of the Pan African Parliamentary Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (PAPA-FSN) to foster an enabling environment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 2 was the goal of a two-day multisectoral training in South Africa. It was held at the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) on March 1 and 2, ahead of the March Sittings of the Permanent Committees of the PAP.  

With over 30 parliamentarians from various African countries participating in the training, experts from a wide range of FAO expertise detailed how those areas are conducive to realizing the right to adequate food and how parliamentarians have a prominent role in addressing them. Hence, sessions focused on areas that included nutrition and sustainable food systems for healthy diets, the crosscutting nature of gender and social policies, access to and ownership of productive resources, the role of responsible investments in food systems, and budgeting to achieve zero hunger, while they each looked into parliamentarians’ key role as legislators.  

The training fell under the current work with parliamentarians in Africa, especially under a joint technical cooperation project between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the PAP.  In particular, through the work with legislators of PAPA-FSN, it aims to strengthen their capacity to advocate for and support the implementation of framework laws on the right to adequate food while promoting its inclusion in national legal frameworks.  

The work with parliamentarians in Africa is a continuation of the commitment displayed at global level in October 2018 during the first Global Parliamentary Summit against Hunger and Malnutrition and as expressed in its Final Declaration, where the Right to Food Team was heavily involved in the lead up to, during as well as in the follow-up to the global event.

Working with parliamentarians to realize the right to adequate food

As promoted throughout the Right to Food Guidelines and indicated more specifically in Guideline 6, various stakeholders have critical roles to play and their contributions are pivotal in order to progressively realize the right to adequate food. In recent years, a stronger emphasis has been placed on working with one such key stakeholder: parliamentarians.

Parliamentarians have a crucial role to play in making sure that people are able to feed themselves in dignity given their legislative, budgetary and oversight roles, combined with their critical influence within their constituencies. In addition, while the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights explicitly calls for enacting legislation to realize the rights guaranteed therein, including the right to adequate food and the fundamental right to freedom against hunger, evidence has shown that the improvement in food and nutrition security is principally due to policies, programs and frameworks that are anchored in legislation.

Food insecurity and malnutrition in Africa

Hunger in Africa continues to rise after, derailing the gains made in the past years and threatening the continent's hunger eradication efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda. New data presented in the Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition indicates that 257 million people are suffering from chronic undernutrition, and 59 million children under five are affected by stunting.

Difficult global economic and worsening environmental conditions and, in many countries, conflict and adverse climatic conditions, are important factors underlying the recent rise in food insecurity and severe food crises on the continent.



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