The Right to Food

Togo: New School Feeding Law advances the fulfilment of the human right to adequate food

On the ground - 02.09.2020

2 September 2020, Rome/Lome- The National Assembly of Togo has recently approved unanimously a school feeding law that is based on the right to food and the importance of healthy diets for every child.

This regulation is framed within the national strategy to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty, rooted in the National Plan of Development 2018-2022.

The development of the law received technical support overal several years by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) 

It enables the collaboration of different stakeholders and seeks to empower the most vulnerable, as family farmers and girls. It recognizes the importance of nutrition, gender equality and food safety at all stages of the food chain, in line of the principle of human rights interdependence. It also aims to boost economic development and agriculture, as well as improving the livelihoods of rural farmers through public purchases from local producers.

A cornerstone in the process: developing skills

This school feeding law comes along efforts the country made in the past to integrate the right to adequate food and good governance in national policies and legislation.

FAO helped national authorities and Togolese key people to achieve this goal from 2015 to 2018. The Organization strengthen their capacities and raise awareness on food security through training and education.

Actors involved in policy-making processes met in several occasions to discuss about specific ways towards the realization of the right to food. Mainly, recognizing it in constitutions, adopting framework or national laws and ensuring the coherence of sectoral legislation in school food and nutrition. Technical experts from national Food Security Councils from Senegal and Bolivia travelled to Togo to participate in the debates and to share their experiences.

On the other side, journalists were encouraged to create the National Network of Journalists on the Right to Food, so that individuals can raise their voices in food-related policy decisions that may affect them, as the Right to Food Guideline 11 recommends. University students also had the opportunity to learn how the right to adequate food can turn into a reality.

Why is important a school feeding law?

Children are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity, as they are dependent on adults for access to education, health services and adequate food to meet their dietary requirements.

Adequate food in schools and good nutrition contribute to children’s well-being and community development.

On the other side, legislation can ensure institutional mechanisms for implementation, coordination and accountability of states, regardless of political change. Since school feeding laws target specific issues, they define more precisely the right to food, guide public policy and provide the means to enforce its implementation.

Status of the right to food in Togo

Despite the progress in the past, the overall poverty rate in Togo is almost 54% (in 2017) and 5% of the population suffers acute malnutrition. Close to a third of young children are stunted, with low height for their age due to malnourishment.

The Constitution of the Togolese Republic implicitly guarantees the human right to food through broader human rights. Togo became a State party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in 1984 by way of accession, and signed the Optional Protocol in 2009.

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