The Right to Food

Briefing on the 13th session of the Human Rights Council and the right to food

News - 16.03.2010

The 13th session of the Human Rights Council is currently taking place in Geneva from the 1st to the 26th of March 2010. Following the High Level Segment on the economic and financial crisis, the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right to food was the opportunity to present the reports of the countries he visited on 2009 as well as a thematic analysis on the Agribusiness and the right to food and an addendum on a set of minimum principles to adopt regarding large scale land acquisitions. These reports are of great importance to see the advances and the challenges faced by Benin, Brazil, Guatemala and Nicaragua in the implementation of the right to food. They constitute a main basis for monitoring the progressive realization of this human right since they provide accurate analysis on the main steps for implementing the right to food at national level. The final recommendations that the Special Rapporteur provides at the end of the country-visit reports are a useful basis for states to improve their efforts towards the achievement of this human right. Public policies and programs, legislation and institutional settings are assessed in order to evaluate their consistency with human rights standards and obligations.

FAO has been supporting the process in different manners. In Guatemala, it conducted a comprehensive capacity development and sensibilisation program. The support undertaken in Brazil led to the adoption of the National Food and Nutritional Security Framework Law (LOSAN) in 2006 that is considered as a model for many countries, as well as the school feeding law and most recently the inclusion of the right to food in the constitution. It also strengthened the work of the National Food and Nutritional Security Council (CONSEA) trough capacity building, policy dialogue and technical advice. FAO also provided technical expertise for the development of the Law on Food and Nutritional Sovereignty and Security adopted in July 2009 and held a workshop on right to food legislation in Managua in 2008.
In addition to the country visit reports, specific analysis was provided on the current organization of the agro-food chain and its impact on the realization of the right to food. An important message of the report is the need for reinforcing labour rights of farmers in rural areas. In addition, their access to food is being seriously compromised by high food prices they cannot afford. A main message of the report stresses the fact that the current food chain system requires being more inclusive and equitable in order to guarantee everyone’s access to food.

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