UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier De Schutter has submitted his final report, drawing conclusions from his mandate and focusing on the transformative potential of realizing the right to food.
The Special Rapporteur's report was issued ahead of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) session, taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 3-28 March 2014.
3 March 2014: UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier De Schutter has submitted his final report, drawing conclusions from his mandate and focusing on the transformative potential of realizing the right to food. The Special Rapporteur’s report was issued ahead of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) session, taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 3-28 March 2014.
De Schutter’s report notes the potential for agro-ecological systems to be scaled up, and for greater attention to demand-side issues, for example, discouraging meat consumption where the level consumed is already adequate for dietary needs; constraining demand for liquid biofuels in the transport sector of high-income countries; and reducing waste and loss in food systems. The Rapporteur calls for addressing distributional issues in developing countries, including improving support to smallholders as a way of achieving local food security.
De Schutter also calls for action to: reinvest in local food production, focusing on poor small-scale producers and promoting the resilience of cities; establish social protection schemes to ensure that all individuals have access to nutritious food; and achieve greater coordination between actions launched at the multilateral, regional and national levels. Based on the example of Brazil, he notes that small-scale food production can co-exist with industrial-scale farming, as long as governments recognize that these have different purposes. He concludes that ‘democracy in food systems’ is a desirable outcome, implying the possibility for communities to choose which food systems they will depend on. He argues that food sovereignty is a condition for the full realization of the right to food, which paradoxically will require deepening multilateral cooperation.
The Special Rapporteur’s report in 2013 focused on gender issues in relation to the right to food.
Addressing the high-level segment of the HRC, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that Member States are deepening their discussion on the post-2015 development agenda, and that this is a “critical time” to promote the full integration of international human rights standards and principles in the new development framework. [Publication: The transformative potential of the right to food] [Statement of UN Secretary-General] [HRC Session Website] [IISD RS Story on Special Rapporteur’s 2013 Report] [Website of Special Rapporteur] [UN Press Release on Presentation to HRC, 10 March]