Droit à l'alimentation

The right to food at the heart of the UN Food Systems Summit 2021

News - 24.09.2020

24 September 2020, Rome- Preparations for the Food Systems Summit 2021 are in motion. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been chosen to drive the first of five priority areas (Action Tracks), the one related to ensuring access to safe and nutritious food for all. This refers explicitly to the progressive realization of the right to food by enabling all people at all times to have access to sufficient quantities of food and healthy diets. 

FAO’s Director- General, QU Dongyu, stated: “we need our food systems to deliver food security and nutrition for all, to be economically sustainable, to be inclusive and to have a positive impact on climate and environment.”

Agnes Kalibata, the UN Special Envoy for the Food Systems Summit 2021, underlined: "Today’s food systems do not respond to what we need as people”. But we have the technology and knowledge to do things differently, and better. “This isn’t rocket science: it’s mostly a question of mobilizing energy, and securing political commitment for change”.

Together with other UN selected agencies and experts, FAO will guide the organization of the Summit, by providing technical assistance and overseeing follow-up activities.

The Summit is the latest of a series of unprecedented events that in the past have provided the world with similar opportunities to look at hunger and food insecurity in a more holistic way. For instance, the World Food Summit for Food Security 2002, marked the beginning of the negotiations for a set of Right to Food Guidelines to be adopted in 2004. Since then, FAO has supported their implementation.

The Guidelines offer a set of policy measures to put into actions for the progressive realization of the right to food, through a human rights’ lens. They are still very contemporary and key to informing important international dialogues taking place at the Summit.

“When it comes down to food systems transformation, let us not put aside human rights”, pointed out Juan Carlos García y Cebolla, FAO Right to Food Team Leader. “The human rights-based approach helps to reorganize national food and nutrition policies in a more inclusive way. It can facilitate a change in the conversation to incorporate a social transformation perspective”, he added.

Accelerating progress towards the 2030 Agenda

Although enough food is produced to feed the global population, 690 million people do not have enough to eat. The world is off -track in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are grounded in human rights.

The UN Food Systems Summit will be convened by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, as part of the Decade of Action to deliver the Global Goals.

The Summit will be held at extraordinary times because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The realization of the human right to adequate food is at stake in all countries of the world, 89 to 117 million people could be pushed to extreme poverty. But the pandemic is also a gateway to find alternative options to business as usual, reinforcing coherence across all policy measures put in place, such as those related to employment or social protection.