Droit à l'alimentation

The Committee of World Food Security pledges towards renewed commitment to the right to food across the world

News - 09.02.2021

9 February 2021, Rome- Ensuring the human right to adequate food is crucial to build less vulnerable, more inclusive and sustainable food systems. This was the main message conveyed today at a side event during the 47th session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS).

Hans Hoogeveen, Ambassador of the Netherlands, and Gabriel Ferrero, Director General for Sustainable Development Cooperation Policies of Spain, called in their opening remarks for urgent action and to implement the right to food as the “compass” to address the effects of the pandemic and beyond, so to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speakers noted that COVID-19 led to a health emergency that is putting the right to food at risk, and underlined the importance of multisectoral and multistakeholder approaches as the way ahead, such as the human rights-based and One Health.

“Governments are only as strong as its people, and people are only as strong as the biosphere”, said Michael Fakhri, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.

Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation of Pakistan, explained how a variety of policy domains and layers have come together to guarantee people remain at the core of the solutions to the crisis. Pakistan has put in practice innovative social protection measures to reach out to 15 million breadwinners through a mobile-based monetary transfer scheme. First, people send a text message to the government with their national identity cards; second, the government analyses the data and writes back to inform who is being granted; finally, the payment is made using commercial banks biometric payment systems.

Climate change and plant health have a great impact on the ability of people to feed themselves in dignity, particularly in small island states. Elsa Simões, Deputy Permanent Representative to FAO, IFAD and WFP of Cabo Verde, underscored that CFS Policy Tools like the Right to Food Guidelines, and the standards of the International Plant Protection Convention may help detect and eradicate invasive alien species that undermine their productivity.

Policies and technology should serve people, as Hem Mulders, Head Global for Food and Agriculture Strategy and Positioning at Rabobank, emphasized during his intervention. He shared good practices for businesses to take into consideration the needs of small farmers and offer them appropriate technology, and to act upon the interests of consumers. “Private sector can, should and will contribute, but cannot do it on its own”.

As with many crises, the most vulnerable are always the most affected. But at the same time, social movements have been very active in putting in place actions that guarantee access to sufficient safe, affordable nutritious food for everyone, through initiatives like food banks and local purchases. Together with local governments, they have been at the forefront in responding to the pandemic, highlighted Elisabetta Recine, professor at the University of Brasilia. 

The side-event benefitted from the support of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the Kingdom of Spain. Both representing the broader informal Friends of the Right to Food Group of Member Countries in Rome (made of Norway, Switzerland, South Africa, Czech Republic, Germany, Brazil, France, Cuba, Italy, Hungary, Portugal, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Spain, Thailand, Mexico, Netherlands, Indonesia and Burkina Faso). It was organized with the support of the FAO and the IPPC Secretariat.