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Publication | 2009

Guide on Legislating for the Right to Food

The statement that the continuation of widespread global hunger is unacceptable and that individuals have a right not to suffer from hunger and malnutrition has been accepted and proclaimed in many international instruments and by several intergovernmental institutions, among them the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP). While global efforts since the Second World War targeted eradicating hunger and guaranteeing world food security, these activities were not taken within the framework of human rights principles. The 1996 World Food Summit and its follow up changed this profoundly. The content of the right to food was clarified through the work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) and FAO. Better ways of implementing the right were developed, notably through the Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security (Right to Food Guidelines). Today, striving to ensure that every person enjoys adequate food is seen not only as a moral imperative and an investment with enormous economic returns, but also as the realization of a basic human right.