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Chapter of the book “New Challenges to the Right to Food”, edited by Miguel Angel Martin and Jose Luis Vivero (2011).CEHAP, Cordoba and Huygens Editorial, Barcelona The Governance of Hunger Innovative proposals to make the right to be free from hunger a reality1 Andrew MacMillan2 & Jose Luis Vivero3 Summary This paper argues that the starting point for a renewed and functional architecture of the global food system should be a definition of the goals to be achieved and of the main instruments of international law required to attain those goals. We propose concentration on a single goal: the eradication of hunger throughout the world no later than 2025 while retaining the intermediate target of halving hunger by 2015.. It is now feasible for the first time in history to eradicate hunger and malnutrition but the persistent failure of most nations to take action on the scale required is needlessly killing millions of our fellow humans, including 5 million young children, every year. The achievement of this goal requires well orchestrated actions on an unprecedented scale by many actors, governmental and non-governmental, in the context of an unambiguous commitment, sustained over a long period. To achieve this, we propose two possible instruments, namely a legally binding Convention on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition and, if the world is not ready for this, a morally binding Public Register of Commitments. By subscribing to either of these instruments, those countries that are genuinely determined to end hunger can commit themselves to mutually agreed but binding time-bound goals, strategies and actions that would be sustained until their aims are achieved. In addition, the paper presents the idea of a global campaign, involving a high level of civil society participation, to build a strong constituency of public support for hunger eradication that would embolden governments to make the necessary commitments. It suggests how this global campaign could lead to the incubation, approval, ratification and implementation of an international Convention. Finally, it notes that the arrangements for its management could respond to the call for a Global Partnership for Agriculture and Food Security, grounded in the UN system but avoiding the creation of any new international body. 1. Hunger needlessly kills thousands each day With millions of people needlessly dying each year because of hunger in a world of ample food supplies4, nobody can dispute the need for institutional mechanisms that raise the level of attention given to food security and nutrition-related issues and lead to better coordinated action amongst the many actors that are concerned with the multiple dimensions of the problem. Indeed, in spite of remarkable success in expanding food production to keep pace with a very rapid growth in demand5 and of successive commitments at Summits to reduce the incidence of hunger, a vast number of people still suffer from food shortages and malnutrition on a daily basis – and the number is continuing to rise. Hunger is now arguably the gravest 1 This paper summarizes several documents prepared by the authors during 2009 so as to stimulate an international debate on the need of new ideas to increase food security accountability of donor and recipient governments, traceability of anti-hunger promises and commitments and transparency in the implementation of national plans. The original papers benefited from suggestions and comments from Gerald Moore, Hartwig de Haen, Chris Leather, Aksel Naerstad, Ricardo Rapallo, Frederic Mousseau, Flavio Valente, George Kent, Bo Bengtsson and Malek Khalili. We thank them all for their encouragement and practical suggestions, many of which are reflected in this paper. 2 Former Director of Field Operations, FAO Rome. Now a self-appointed campaigner for the eradication of hunger and malnutrition. E-mail 3 Acción contra el Hambre Regional Coordinator for Central America and Fellow of the Chair on Hunger and Poverty Studies, University of Cordoba, Spain. E-mail: 4 Today, 25,000 people (out of those, 18,000 children under five) have died of malnutrition and associated diseases. The same number died yesterday and will die tomorrow. FAO (2006). The State of Food Insecurity in the World. FAO Rome. 5 Much criticism is addressed at the UN agencies responsible for food and agriculture in spite of the fact that, since their creation, global food output has expanded faster than the unprecedented rate of population growth, average food consumption per person has risen, and food prices on world markets have declined overall by 55% to 65% in real terms. However, while increases in production averaged 2.8% a year until the mid-1980s, comfortably ahead of population growth (1.4% in the 1980s); subsequent growth rates have fallen to around 1% a year on average, behind growth of both population (1.2% since 2000) and consumption. See Wiggins, S. (2008). Is the global food system broken? ODI opinion 113. Overseas Development Institute, London. 1

The Governance of Hunger. Innovative proposals to make the right to food a reality

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