In 2014, on the 10 year anniversary of the adoption of the Voluntary Guidelines to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security (hereinafter Right to Food Guidelines), CSOs and social movements issued a report to take stock of national implementation of the right to food and, more importantly, to call for renewed commitment by governments, UN agencies, civil society and other stakeholders, for the full realization of the right to adequate food and nutrition.
However, rather than renewed commitments, since 2014 we have witnessed regression in human rights commitments across international, regional and national levels, and a failure of governments to fully address issues of accountability. The right to food is the right of people to feed themselves, their families and their communities in dignity, today and in the future. The right to food requires laws and policies that support this and improve peoples’ ability to meet their food needs, to grow food and to make a living sustainably.
Holding governments accountable to their legal human rights obligations, as well as ensuring that the commitments made and negotiated in international policy fora are implemented, has been a consistent challenge for CSOs. However, we have a new opportunity to raise our voices about right to food realization and to hold our governments accountable.
With the development of the CFS monitoring mechanism, major policy instruments will be reviewed at the CFS on a biennial basis. In 2016 the Tenure Guidelines were reviewed, and CSOs provided an independent CSO report to contribute to the process. After some difficult negotiations, it has been agreed that the Right to Food Guidelines will be monitored, with results presented during the 45th session of the CFS in October 2018.
As part of this process, the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) for the CFS will coordinate its own independent process and report. The objectives of this exercise include:
- Document progress on actual implementation of the Right to Food, looking beyond the existence of laws and policy frameworks;
- Make visible the policies and practices of governments, third parties and international organizations which give rise to violations, or prevent the realization of the Right to Food;
- Create an updated normative framework of the Right to Food, which has developed from and since the Right to Food Guidelines.
We need your help! In order to put forward a full picture of the reality of the implementation of the Right to Food Guidelines, we need you to share experiences with the Right to Food! There are a few ways that you can share your input and participate:
1. Share your experiences
There are two questionnaires that were designed to collect inputs. One version is a more in-depth version, while the other is simpler and shorter. You can (a) complete the questionnaire yourself, (b) administer it to and submit it on behalf of others or (c) complete it together with others, and submit through an online form (long or short version) or by filling out the questionnaire (long or short version) and sending it back to [email protected] . Please send the questionnaires by 30 March
2. Facilitate a consultation
Another great way to gather firsthand experiences with the right to food and to generate a dialogue more broadly, is to organize a conversation directly with those who are seeking the realization of their right to food.
A number of initiatives are already in the planning process. We are working with many organizations to host discussions and exchanges on the right to food and on what kind of policy responses are not occurring but are needed – but more conversations are needed! Currently, there are also plans by various groups to coordinate regional consultations linked to the preparations for the FAO regional conferences, and a potential global consultation in early 2018. More information on these various events will be shared when it is available!
You can join the initiatives above or start your own. If you are able to also host a consultation with your community and/or organization, please let us know at [email protected]. See also information below regarding national monitoring events.
For any questions, comments, etc. please do not hesitate to contact [email protected]!
Official process: How to support National Monitoring Events
The CFS is also collecting information about implementation of the Right to Food Guidelines. It is important for States to host national monitoring events in collaboration with CSOs as part of the official CFS process. These events can provide an important opportunity for States to learn from those who experience violations of the right to food and to hold governments accountable to their Right to Food commitments. If you would like to work with your government to organize a national event, there are a number of resources which may assist you:
If you have questions on this, or will organize such an event, please contact [email protected]
- Guiding Questions for CSOs Synthesis (Full Length)
- Guiding Questions for CSOs Synthesis (Short version)
- Voluntary Guidelines to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security
- How to begin organizing a national monitoring event
- How to use and interpret the CFS Monitoring Terms of Reference.
- Brief on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Right to Food (2015)
- CSOs report on the Right to Food Guidelines (2014)