Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter (A/HRC/12/31)

Report
from UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council
Published on 21 Jul 2009 View Original
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Twelfth session
Agenda item 3

PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF ALL HUMAN RIGHTS, CIVIL, POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS, INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT

Crisis into opportunity: reinforcing multilateralism

Summary

Since the global food crisis has put hunger at the top of the political agenda, important efforts have been put, at both international and national levels, into increasing the supply of food. Producing more food will not, however, reduce hunger if we neglect to think about the political economy of the food systems and if we do not produce and consume in ways that are both more equitable and more sustainable. Nor will increased production suffice if we do not ground our policies on the right to food as a means to ensure adequate targeting, monitoring, accountability and participation, all of which can improve the effectiveness of the strategies put in place.

In the present report the Special Rapporteur on the right to food seeks to explain why. He describes the current state of the global food price crisis and what the right to food has to contribute at the operational level. He goes on to argue that States should ensure that the reinvestment in agriculture will effectively contribute to combating hunger and malnutrition by assessing the contribution to the realization of the right to food of different modes of agricultural development. He also explains why we need to accelerate progress towards an international consensus on the production and use of agrofuels, and on large-scale land acquisitions or leases.

He emphasizes the need to guarantee the right to social security and the role the international community could play in enabling countries to strengthen social protection. He discusses how countries may cope with increased volatility of prices on the international markets, and how international cooperation could combat the sources of such volatility. The Special Rapporteur ends the report with a plea to improve the global governance of food security. In times of crisis, more than ever, only by strengthening multilateralism can we hope to effectively realize the right to food. If we achieve this, the crisis can be made into an opportunity.