Right to Food Guidelines

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Voluntary Guidelines to support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security  (2004) 
by Food and Agriculture Organisation

Text[edit]

GUIDELINE 1: DEMOCRACY, GOOD GOVERNANCE, HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE RULE OF LAW[edit]

1.1 States should promote and safeguard a free, democratic and just society in order to provide a peaceful, stable and enabling economic, social, political and cultural environment in which individuals can feed themselves and their families in freedom and dignity.

1.2 States should promote democracy, the rule of law, sustainable development and good governance, and promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in order to empower individuals and civil society to make demands on their governments, devise policies that address their specific needs and ensure the accountability and transparency of governments and state decision-making processes in implementing such policies. States should, in particular, promote freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of information, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly and association, which enhances the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security. Food should not be used as a tool for political and economic pressure.

1.3 States should also promote good governance as an essential factor for sustained economic growth, sustainable development, poverty and hunger eradication and for the realization of all human rights including the progressive realization of the right to adequate food.

1.4 States should ensure, in accordance with their international human rights obligations, that all individuals, including human rights defenders of the progressive realization of the right to adequate food, are accorded equal protection under the law and that due process is guaranteed in all legal proceedings.

1.5 Where appropriate and consistent with domestic law, States may assist individuals and groups of individuals to have access to legal assistance to better assert the progressive realization of the right to adequate food.

GUIDELINE 2: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT POLICIES[edit]

2.1 In order to achieve the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security, States should promote broad-based economic development that is supportive of their food security policies. States should establish policy goals and benchmarks based on the food security needs of their population.

2.2 States should assess, in consultation with key stakeholders, the economic and social situation, including the degree of food insecurity and its causes, the nutrition situation and food safety.

2.3 States should promote adequate and stable supplies of safe food through a combination of domestic production, trade, storage and distribution.

2.4 States should consider adopting a holistic and comprehensive approach to hunger and poverty reduction. Such an approach entails, inter alia, direct and immediate measures to ensure access to adequate food as part of a social safety net; investment in productive activities and projects to improve the livelihoods of the poor and hungry in a sustainable manner; the development of appropriate institutions, functioning markets, a conducive legal and regulatory framework; and access to employment, productive resources and appropriate services.

2.5 States should pursue inclusive, non-discriminatory and sound economic, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, land use, and, as appropriate, land reform policies, all of which will permit farmers, fishers, foresters and other food producers, particularly women, to earn a fair return from their labour, capital and management, and encourage conservation and sustainable management of natural resources, including in marginal areas.

2.6 Where poverty and hunger are predominantly rural, States should focus on sustainable agricultural and rural development through measures to improve access to land, water, appropriate and affordable technologies, productive and financial resources, enhance the productivity of poor rural communities, promote the participation of the poor in economic policy decisions, share the benefits of productivity gains, conserve and protect natural resources, and invest in rural infrastructure, education and research. In particular, States should adopt policies that create conditions that encourage stable employment, especially in rural areas, including off-farm jobs.

2.7 In response to the growing problem of urban hunger and poverty, States should promote investments aimed at enhancing the livelihoods of the urban poor.

GUIDELINE 3: STRATEGIES[edit]

3.1 States, as appropriate and in consultation with relevant stakeholders and pursuant to their national laws, should consider adopting a national human-rights based strategy for the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security as part of an overarching national development strategy, including poverty reduction strategies, where they exist.

3.2 The elaboration of these strategies should begin with a careful assessment of existing national legislation, policy and administrative measures, current programmes, systematic identification of existing constraints and availability of existing resources. States should formulate the measures necessary to remedy any weakness, and propose an agenda for change and the means for its implementation and evaluation.

3.3 These strategies could include objectives, targets, benchmarks and time frames; and actions to formulate policies, identify and mobilize resources, define institutional mechanisms, allocate responsibilities, coordinate the activities of different actors, and provide for monitoring mechanisms. As appropriate, such strategies could address all aspects of the food system, including the production, processing, distribution, marketing and consumption of safe food. It could also address access to resources and to markets as well as parallel measures in other fields. These strategies should, in particular, address the needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, as well as special situations such as natural disasters and emergencies.

3.4 Where necessary, States should consider adopting and, as appropriate, reviewing a national poverty reduction strategy that specifically addresses access to adequate food.

3.5 States, individually or in cooperation with relevant international organizations, should consider integrating into their poverty reduction strategy a human rights perspective based on the principle of non-discrimination. In raising the standard of living of those below the poverty line, due regard should be given to the need to ensure equality in practice to those who are traditionally disadvantaged and between women and men.

3.6 In their poverty reduction strategies, States should also give priority to providing basic services for the poorest, and investing in human resources by ensuring access to primary education for all, basic health care, capacity building in good practices, clean drinking water, adequate sanitation and justice and by supporting programmes in basic literacy, numeracy and good hygiene practices.

3.7 States are encouraged, inter alia and in a sustainable manner, to increase productivity and to revitalize the agricultural sector including livestock, forestry and fisheries through special policies and strategies targeted at small-scale and traditional fishers, and farmers in rural areas, and the creation of enabling conditions for private sector participation, with emphasis on human capacity development and the removal of constraints to agricultural production, marketing and distribution.

3.8 In developing these strategies, States are encouraged to consult with civil society organizations and other key stakeholders at national and regional levels, including small-scale and traditional farmers, private sector, women, and youth associations, with the aim of promoting their active participation in all aspects of agricultural and food production strategies.

3.9 These strategies should be transparent, inclusive and comprehensive, cut across national policies, programmes and projects, take into account the special needs of girls and women, combine short-term and long-term objectives, and be prepared and implemented in a participatory and accountable manner.

States should support, including through regional cooperation, the implementation of national strategies for development, in particular for the reduction of poverty and hunger as well as for the progressive realization of the right to adequate food.

GUIDELINE 4: MARKET SYSTEMS[edit]

4.1 States should, in accordance with their national law and priorities, as well as their international commitments, improve the functioning of their markets, in particular their agricultural and food markets, in order to promote both economic growth and sustainable development, inter alia, by mobilizing domestic savings, both public and private, by developing appropriate credit policies, by generating sustainable adequate levels of national productive investment through credits in concessional terms and by increasing human capacity.

4.2 States should put legislation, policies, procedures and regulatory and other institutions in place to ensure non-discriminatory access to markets and to prevent uncompetitive practices in markets.

4.3 States should encourage the development of corporate social responsibility and the commitment of all market players and civil society towards the progressive realization of the right of individuals to adequate food in the context of national food security.

4.4 States should provide adequate protection to consumers against fraudulent market practices, misinformation and unsafe food. The measures toward this objective should not constitute unjustified barriers to international trade and should be in conformity with the WTO agreements.

4.5 States should, as appropriate, promote the development of small-scale local and regional markets and border trade to reduce poverty and increase food security, particularly in poor rural and urban areas.

4.6 States may wish to adopt measures to ensure that the widest number of individuals and communities, especially disadvantaged groups, can benefit from opportunities created by competitive agricultural trade.

4.7 States should strive to ensure that food, agricultural trade and overall trade policies are conducive to fostering food security for all through a non-discriminatory and market-oriented local, regional, national and world trade system.

4.8 States should endeavour to establish well functioning internal marketing, storage, transportation, communication and distribution systems, inter alia, to facilitate diversified trade and better links within and between domestic, regional and world markets, as well as to take advantage of new market opportunities.

4.9 States will take into account that markets do not automatically result in everybody achieving a sufficient income at all times to meet basic needs, and should therefore seek to provide adequate social safety nets and, where appropriate, the assistance of the international community for this purpose.

4.10 States should take into account the shortcomings of market mechanisms in protecting the environment and public goods.

GUIDELINE 5: INSTITUTIONS[edit]

5.1 States, where appropriate, should assess the mandate and performance of relevant public institutions and, where necessary, establish, reform or improve their organization and structure to contribute to the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security.

5.2 To this end, States may wish to ensure the coordinated efforts of relevant government ministries, agencies and offices. They could establish national intersectoral coordination mechanisms to ensure the concerted implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies, plans and programmes. States are encouraged to involve relevant communities in all aspects of planning and execution of activities in these areas.

5.3 States may also wish to entrust a specific institution with overall responsibility for overseeing and coordinating the application of these guidelines, bearing in mind the Declaration and Programme of Action of the 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights and taking due account of existing agriculture conventions and protocols. In order to ensure transparency and accountability, the functions and tasks of this institution would need to be clearly defined, regularly reviewed and provision made for adequate monitoring mechanisms.

5.4 States should ensure that relevant institutions provide for full and transparent participation of the private sector and of civil society, in particular representatives of the groups most affected by food insecurity.

5.5 States should take measures, where and if necessary, to develop, strengthen, implement and maintain effective anticorruption legislation and policies, including in the food sector and in the management of emergency food aid.

GUIDELINE 6: STAKEHOLDERS[edit]

6.1 Recognizing the primary responsibility of States for the progressive realization of the right to adequate food, States are encouraged to apply a multi-stakeholder approach to national food security to identify the roles of and involve all relevant stakeholders, encompassing civil society and the private sector, drawing together their know-how with a view to facilitating the efficient use of resources.

GUIDELINE 7: LEGAL FRAMEWORK[edit]

7.1 States are invited to consider, in accordance with their domestic legal and policy frameworks, whether to include provisions in their domestic law, possibly including constitutional or legislative review that facilitates the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security.

7.2 States are invited to consider, in accordance with their domestic legal and policy frameworks, whether to include provisions in their domestic law, which may include their constitutions, bills of rights or legislation, to directly implement the progressive realization of the right to adequate food. Administrative, quasi-judicial and judicial mechanisms to provide adequate, effective and prompt remedies accessible, in particular, to members of vulnerable groups may be envisaged.

7.3 States that have established a right to adequate food under their legal system should inform the general public of all available rights and remedies to which they are entitled.

7.4 States should consider strengthening their domestic law and policies to accord access by women heads of households to poverty reduction and nutrition security programmes and projects.

GUIDELINE 8: ACCESS TO RESOURCES AND ASSETS

8.1 States should facilitate sustainable, non-discriminatory and secure access and utilization of resources consistent with their national law and with international law and protect the assets that are important for people's livelihoods. States should respect and protect the rights of individuals with respect to resources such as land, water, forests, fisheries and livestock without any discrimination. Where necessary and appropriate, States should carry out land reforms and other policy reforms consistent with their human rights obligations and in accordance with the rule of law in order to secure efficient and equitable access to land and to strengthen pro-poor growth. Special attention may be given to groups such as pastoralists and indigenous people and their relation to natural resources.

8.2 States should take steps so that members of vulnerable groups can have access to opportunities and economic resources in order to participate fully and equally in the economy.

8.3 States should pay particular attention to the specific access problems of women and of vulnerable, marginalized and traditionally disadvantaged groups, including all persons affected by HIV/AIDS. States should take measures to protect all people affected by HIV/AIDS from losing their access to resources and assets.

8.4 States should promote agricultural research and development, in particular to promote basic food production with its positive effects on basic incomes and its benefits to small and women farmers, as well as poor consumers.

8.5 States should, within the framework of relevant international agreements, including those on intellectual property, promote access by medium and small-scale farmers to research results enhancing food security.

8.6 States should promote women's full and equal participation in the economy and, for this purpose, introduce, where it does not exist, and implement gender-sensitive legislation providing women with the right to inherit and possess land and other property. States should also provide women with secure and equal access to, control over, and benefits from productive resources, including credit, land, water and appropriate technologies.

8.7 States should design and implement programmes that include different mechanisms of access and appropriate use of agricultural land directed to the poorest populations.

Guideline 8a: Labour[edit]

8.8 States should take measures to encourage sustainable development in order to provide opportunities for work that provides remuneration allowing for an adequate standard of living for rural and urban wage earners and their families, and to promote and protect self-employment. For States that have ratified the relevant instruments, working conditions should be consistent with the obligations they have assumed under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, relevant ILO Conventions and other treaties including human rights conventions.

8.9 In order to improve access to the labour market, States should enhance human capital through education programmes, adult literacy and additional training programmes, as required, regardless of race, colour, gender, language, religion, political opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Guideline 8b: Land[edit]

8.10 States should take measures to promote and protect the security of land tenure, especially with respect to women, poor and disadvantaged segments of society, through legislation that protects the full and equal right to own land and other property, including the right to inherit. As appropriate, States should consider establishing legal and other policy mechanisms, consistent with their international human rights obligations and in accordance with the rule of law, that advance land reform to enhance access for the poor and women. Such mechanisms should also promote conservation and sustainable use of land. Special consideration should be given to the situation of indigenous communities.

Guideline 8c: Water[edit]

8.11 Bearing in mind that access to water in sufficient quantity and quality for all is fundamental for life and health, States should strive to improve access to, and promote sustainable use of, water resources and their allocation among users giving due regard to efficiency and the satisfaction of basic human needs in an equitable manner and that balances the requirement of preserving or restoring the functioning of ecosystems with domestic, industrial and agricultural needs, including safeguarding drinking water quality.

Guideline 8d: Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture[edit]

8.12 States, taking into account the importance of biodiversity, and consistent with their obligations under relevant international agreements, should consider specific national policies, legal instruments and supporting mechanisms to prevent the erosion of and ensure the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources for food and agriculture, including, as appropriate, for the protection of relevant traditional knowledge and equitable participation in sharing benefits arising from the use of these resources, and by encouraging, as appropriate, the participation of local and indigenous communities and farmers in making national decisions on matters related to the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources for food and agriculture.

Guideline 8e: Sustainability[edit]

8.13 States should consider specific national policies, legal instruments and supporting mechanisms to protect ecological sustainability and the carrying capacity of ecosystems to ensure the possibility for increased, sustainable food production for present and future generations, prevent water pollution, protect the fertility of the soil, and promote the sustainable management of fisheries and forestry.

Guideline 8f: Services[edit]

8.14 States should create an enabling environment and strategies to facilitate and support the development of private and public sector initiatives to promote appropriate tools, technologies and mechanization in the provision of relevant services, including research, extension, marketing, rural finance and microcredit, to enable more efficient food production by all farmers, in particular poor farmers, and to address local constraints such as shortage of land, water and farm power.

GUIDELINE 9: FOOD SAFETY AND CONSUMER PROTECTION[edit]

9.1 States should take measures to ensure that all food, whether locally produced or imported, freely available or sold on markets, is safe and consistent with national food safety standards.

9.2 States should establish comprehensive and rational food-control systems that reduce risk of food borne disease using risk analysis and supervisory mechanisms to ensure food safety in the entire food chain including animal feed.

9.3 States are encouraged to take action to streamline institutional procedures for food control and food safety at national level and eliminate gaps and overlaps in inspection systems and in the legislative and regulatory framework for food. States are encouraged to adopt scientifically based food safety standards, including standards for additives, contaminants, residues of veterinary drugs and pesticides, and microbiological hazards, and to establish standards for the packaging, labelling and advertising of food. These standards should take into consideration internationally accepted food standards (Codex Alimentarius) in accordance with the WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement (SPS). States should take action to prevent contamination from industrial and other pollutants in the production, processing, storage, transport, distribution, handling and sale of food.

9.4 States may wish to establish a national coordinating committee for food to bring together both governmental and non-governmental actors involved in the food system and to act as liaison with the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission. States should consider collaborating with private stakeholders in the food system, both by assisting them in exercising controls on their own production and handling practices, and by auditing those controls.

9.5 Where necessary, States should assist farmers and other primary producers to follow good agricultural practices, food processors to follow good manufacturing practices, and food handlers to follow good hygiene practices. States are encouraged to consider establishing food safety systems and supervisory mechanisms to ensure the provision of safe food to consumers.

9.6 States should ensure that education on safe practices is available for food business operators so that their activities neither lead to harmful residues in food nor cause harm to the environment. States should also take measures to educate consumers about the safe storage, handling and utilization of food within the household. States should collect and disseminate information to the public regarding food-borne diseases and food safety matters, and should cooperate with regional and international organizations addressing food safety issues.

9.7 States should adopt measures to protect consumers from deception and misrepresentation in the packaging, labelling, advertising and sale of food and facilitate consumers' choice by ensuring appropriate information on marketed food, and provide recourse for any harm caused by unsafe or adulterated food, including food offered by street sellers. Such measures should not be used as unjustified barriers to trade; they should be in conformity with the WTO agreements (in particular SPS and TBT).

9.8 Developed countries are encouraged to provide technical assistance to developing countries through advice, credits, donations and grants for capacity building and training in food safety. When possible and appropriate, developing countries with more advanced capabilities in food safety-related areas are encouraged to lend assistance to less advanced developing countries.

9.9 States are encouraged to cooperate with all stakeholders, including regional and international consumer organizations, in addressing food safety issues, and consider their participation in national and international fora where policies with impact on food production, processing, distribution, storage and marketing are discussed.

GUIDELINE 10: NUTRITION[edit]

10.1 If necessary, States should take measures to maintain, adapt or strengthen dietary diversity and healthy eating habits and food preparation, as well as feeding patterns, including breastfeeding, while ensuring that changes in availability and access to food supply do not negatively affect dietary composition and intake.

10.2 States are encouraged to take steps, in particular through education, information and labelling regulations, to prevent overconsumption and unbalanced diets that may lead to malnutrition, obesity and degenerative diseases.

10.3 States are encouraged to involve all relevant stakeholders, in particular communities and local government, in the design, implementation, management, monitoring and evaluation of programmes to increase the production and consumption of healthy and nutritious foods, especially those that are rich in micronutrients. States may wish to promote gardens both at home and at school as a key element in combating micronutrient deficiencies and promoting healthy eating. States may also consider adopting regulations for fortifying foods to prevent and cure micronutrient deficiencies, in particular of iodine, iron and Vitamin A.

10.4 States should address the specific food and nutritional needs of people living with HIV/AIDS or suffering from other epidemics.

10.5 States should take appropriate measures to promote and encourage breastfeeding, in line with their cultures, the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent resolutions of the World Health Assembly, in accordance with the WHO/UNICEF recommendations.

10.6 States may wish to disseminate information on the feeding of infants and young children that is consistent and in line with current scientific knowledge and internationally accepted practices and to take steps to counteract misinformation on infant feeding. States should consider with utmost care issues regarding breastfeeding and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection on the basis of the most up-to-date, authoritative scientific advice and referring to the latest WHO/UNICEF guidelines.

10.7 States are invited to take parallel action in the areas of health, education and sanitary infrastructure and promote intersectoral collaboration, so that necessary services and goods become available to people to enable them to make full use of the dietary value in the food they eat and thus achieve nutritional well-being.

10.8 States should adopt measures to eradicate any kind of discriminatory practices, especially with respect to gender, in order to achieve adequate levels of nutrition within the household.

10.9 States should recognize that food is a vital part of an individual's culture, and they are encouraged to take into account individuals' practices, customs and traditions on matters related to food.

10.10 States are reminded of the cultural values of dietary and eating habits in different cultures and should establish methods for promoting food safety, positive nutritional intake including fair distribution of food within communities and households with special emphasis on the needs and rights of both girls and boys, as well as pregnant women and lactating mothers, in all cultures.

GUIDELINE 11: EDUCATION AND AWARENESS RAISING[edit]

11.1 States should support investment in human resource development such as health, education, literacy and other skills training, which are essential to sustainable development, including agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural development.

11.2 States should strengthen and broaden primary education opportunities, especially for girls, women and other under-served populations.

11.3 States should encourage agricultural and environmental education at the primary and secondary levels in order to create a better awareness in new generations about the importance of conserving and making sustainable use of natural resources.

11.4 States should support higher education by strengthening developing country university and technical faculties of agriculture related disciplines and business to carry out both education and research functions, and by engaging universities throughout the world in training developing country agriculturalists, scientists and businessmen at the graduate and post-graduate levels.

11.5 States should provide information to individuals to strengthen their ability to participate in food related policy decisions that may affect them, and to challenge decisions that threaten their rights.

11.6 States should implement measures to make people improve their housing conditions and their means for food preparation, because they are related to food safety. Such measures should be made in the educative and infrastructure fields, especially in rural households.

11.7 States should promote and/or integrate, into school curricula, human rights education, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, which includes the progressive realization of the right to adequate food.

11.8 States are encouraged to promote awareness of the importance of human rights, including the progressive realization of the right to adequate food.

11.9 States should provide proper training to officials responsible for the implementation of the progressive realization of the right to adequate food.

11.10 States should raise public awareness of these guidelines and continously provide and improve access to them and to relevant human rights laws and regulations, particularly in rural and remote areas.

11.11 States may wish to empower civil society to participate in the implementation of these guidelines, for instance through capacity building.

GUIDELINE 12: NATIONAL FINANCIAL RESOURCES[edit]

12.1 Regional and local authorities are encouraged to allocate resources for anti-hunger and food security purposes in their respective budgets.

12.2 States should ensure transparency and accountability in the use of public resources, particularly in the area of food security.

12.3 States are encouraged to promote basic social programmes and expenditures, in particular those affecting the poor and the vulnerable segments of society, and protect them from budget reductions, while increasing the quality and effectiveness of social expenditures. States should strive to ensure that budget cuts do not negatively affect access to adequate food among the poorest sections of society.

12.4 States are encouraged to establish an enabling legal and economic environment to promote and mobilize domestic savings and attract external resources for productive investment, and seek innovative sources of funding, both public and private at national and international levels, for social programmes.

12.5 States are invited to take appropriate steps and suggest strategies to contribute to raise awareness of the families of migrants in order to promote efficient use of the remittances of migrants for investments that could improve their livelihoods, including the food security of their families.

GUIDELINE 13: SUPPORT FOR VULNERABLE GROUPS[edit]

13.1 Consistent with the World Food Summit commitment, States should establish Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems (FIVIMS), in order to identify groups and households particularly vulnerable to food insecurity along with the reasons for their food insecurity. States should develop and identify corrective measures to be implemented both immediately and progressively to provide access to adequate food.

13.2 States are invited to systematically undertake disaggregated analysis on the food insecurity, vulnerability and nutritional status of different groups in society, with particular attention to assessing any form of discrimination that may manifest itself in greater food insecurity and vulnerability to food insecurity, or in a higher prevalence of malnutrition among specific population groups, or both, with a view to removing and preventing such causes of food insecurity or malnutrition.

13.3 States should establish transparent, non-discriminatory eligibility criteria in order to ensure effective targeting of assistance, so that no one who is in need is excluded, or that those not in need of assistance are included. Effective accountability and administrative systems are essential to prevent leakages and corruption. Factors to take into account include household and individual assets and income, nutrition and health status, as well as existing coping mechanisms.

13.4 States may wish to give priority to channelling food assistance via women as a means of enhancing their decision-making role and ensuring that the food is used to meet the household's food requirements.

GUIDELINE 14: SAFETY NETS[edit]

14.1 States should consider, to the extent that resources permit, establishing and maintaining social safety and food safety nets to protect those who are unable to provide for themselves. As far as possible, and with due regard to effectiveness and coverage, States should consider building on existing capacities within communities at risk to provide the necessary resources for social safety and food safety nets to fulfil the progressive realization of the right to adequate food. States may wish to consider the benefits of procuring locally.

14.2 States and international organizations should consider the benefits of local procurement for food assistance that could integrate the nutritional needs of those affected by food insecurity and the commercial interests of local producers.

14.3 Although the design of social and food safety nets will depend on the nature of food insecurity, objectives, budget, existing administrative capacity and local circumstances such as levels of food supply and local food markets, States should nonetheless ensure that they adequately target those in need and respect the principle of non-discrimination in the establishment of eligibility criteria.

14.4 States should take steps, to the extent that resources permit, so that any measure of an economic or financial nature, likely to have a negative impact on existing levels of food consumption of vulnerable groups be accompanied by provision for effective food safety nets. Safety nets should be linked to other complementary interventions that promote food security in the longer term.

14.5 In situations where it has been determined that food plays an appropriate role in safety nets, food assistance should bridge the gap between the nutritional needs of the affected population and their ability to meet those needs themselves. Food assistance should be provided with the fullest possible participation of those affected, and such food should be nutritionally adequate and safe, bearing in mind local circumstances, dietary traditions and cultures.

14.6 States should consider accompanying food assistance in safety net schemes with complementary activities to maximize benefits towards ensuring people's access to and utilization of adequate food. Essential complementary activities include access to clean water and sanitation, health care interventions and nutrition education activities.

14.7 States, in the design of safety nets, should consider the important role of international organizations such as FAO, IFAD and WFP, and other relevant international, regional and civil society organizations that can assist them in fighting rural poverty and promoting food security and agricultural development.

GUIDELINE 15: INTERNATIONAL FOOD AID[edit]

15.1 Donor States should ensure that their food aid policies support national efforts by recipient States to achieve food security, and base their food aid provisions on sound needs assessment, targeting especially food insecure and vulnerable groups. In this context, donor States should provide assistance in a manner that takes into account food safety, the importance of not disrupting local food production and the nutritional and dietary needs and culture of recipient populations. Food aid should be provided with a clear exit strategy and avoid the creation of dependency. Donors should promote increased use of local and regional commercial markets to meet food needs in famine-prone countries and reduce dependence on food aid.

15.2 International food-aid transactions, including bilateral food aid that is monetized, should be carried out in a manner consistent with the FAO Principles of Surplus Disposal and Consultative Obligations, the Food Aid Convention and the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, and should meet the internationally agreed food safety standards, bearing in mind local circumstances, dietary traditions and cultures.

15.3 States and relevant non-state actors should ensure, in accordance with international law, safe and unimpeded access to the populations in need, as well as for international needs assessments, and by humanitarian agencies involved in the distribution of international food assistance.

15.4 The provision of international food aid in emergency situations should take particular account of longer term rehabilitation and development objectives in the recipient countries, and should respect universally recognized humanitarian principles.

15.5 The assessment of needs and the planning, monitoring and evaluation of the provision of food aid should, as far as possible, be made in a participatory manner, and whenever possible, in close collaboration with recipient governments at the national and local level.

GUIDELINE 16: NATURAL AND HUMAN-MADE DISASTERS[edit]

16.1 Food should never be used as a means of political and economic pressure.

16.2 States reaffirm the obligations they have assumed under international humanitarian law and, in particular, as parties to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and/or the 1977 Additional Protocols thereto with respect to the humanitarian needs of the civilian population, including their access to food in situations of armed conflict and occupation, inter alia,

-Additional Protocol I provides, inter alia, that "[t]he starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited" and that "[i]t is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them, for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive", and that "these objects shall not be made the object of reprisals".

16.3 In situations of occupation, international humanitarian law provides, inter alia: that to the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; that it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the Occupied Territory are inadequate; and that if the whole or part of the population of an Occupied Territory is inadequately supplied, the Occupying Power shall agree to relief schemes on behalf of the said population, and shall facilitate them by all the means at its disposal.[1]

16.4 States reaffirm the obligations they have assumed regarding the protection, safety and security of humanitarian personnel.

16.5 States should make every effort to ensure that refugees and internally displaced persons have access at all times to adequate food. In this respect, States and other relevant stakeholders should be encouraged to make use of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement when dealing with situations of internal displacement.

16.6 In the case of natural or human-made disasters, States should provide food assistance to those in need, may request international assistance if their own resources do not suffice, and should facilitate safe and unimpeded access for international assistance in accordance with international law and universally recognized humanitarian principles, bearing in mind local circumstances, dietary traditions and cultures.

16.7 States should put in place adequate and functioning mechanisms of early warning to prevent or mitigate the effects of natural or human-made disasters. Early warning systems should be based on international standards and cooperation, on reliable, disaggregated data and should be constantly monitored. States should take appropriate emergency preparedness measures, such as keeping food stocks for the acquisition of food and take steps to put in place adequate systems for distribution.

16.8 States are invited to consider establishing mechanisms to assess nutritional impact and to gain understanding of the coping strategies of affected households in the event of natural or human made disasters. This should inform the targeting, design, implementation and evaluation of relief, rehabilitation and resilience building programmes.

GUIDELINE 17: MONITORING, INDICATORS AND BENCHMARKS[edit]

17.1 States may wish to establish mechanisms to monitor and evaluate the implementation of these Guidelines towards the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security, in accordance with their capacity and by building on existing information systems and addressing information gaps.

17.2 States may wish to consider conducting "Right to Food Impact Assessments" in order to identify the impact of domestic policies, programmes and projects on the progressive realization of the right to adequate food of the population at large and vulnerable groups in particular, and as a basis for the adoption of the necessary corrective measures.

17.3 States may also wish to develop a set of process, impact and outcome indicators, relying on indicators already in use and monitoring systems such as FIVIMS, so as to assess the implementation of the progressive realization of the right to adequate food. They may wish to establish appropriate benchmarks to be achieved in the short, medium and long term, which relate directly to meeting poverty and hunger reduction targets as a minimum, as well as other national and international goals including those adopted at the World Food Summit and the Millennium Summit.

17.4 In this evaluation process, process indicators could be so identified or designed that they explicitly relate and reflect the use of specific policy instruments and interventions with outcomes consistent with the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security. Such indicators could enable States to implement legal, policy and administrative measures, detect discriminatory practices and outcomes, and ascertain the extent of political and social participation in the process of realizing that right.

17.5 States should, in particular, monitor the food-security situation of vulnerable groups, especially women, children and the elderly, and their nutritional status, including the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies.

17.6 In this evaluation process, States should ensure a participatory approach to information gathering, management, analysis, interpretation and dissemination.

GUIDELINE 18: NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTIONS[edit]

18.1 States that have as a matter of national law or policy adopted a rights-based approach, and national human rights institutions or ombudspersons, may wish to include the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security in their mandates. States that do not have national human rights institutions or ombudspersons are encouraged to establish them. Human rights institutions should be independent and autonomous from the government, in accordance with the Paris Principles. States should encourage civil society organizations and individuals to contribute to monitoring activities undertaken by national human rights institutions with respect to the progressive realization of the right to adequate food.

18.2 States are invited to encourage efforts by national institutions to establish partnerships and increase cooperation with civil society.

GUIDELINE 19: INTERNATIONAL DIMENSION[edit]

19.1 States should fulfil those measures, actions and commitments on the international dimension, as described in Section III below, in support of the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines, which assist States in their national efforts in the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security as set forth by the World Food Summit and the World Food Summit: five years later within the context of the Millennium Declaration

References[edit]

  1. 1949 Geneva Convention IV Relative to the Protection of Civilians Persons in Time of War, Articles 55, 59