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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.


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

single threat to the world’s public health, as hunger and malnutrition have far greater impacts upon child health and growth than was previously thought6. With 1.02 billion people undernourished and as many as two billion suffering from micronutrient and vitamin deficiencies, the state of the world’s nutrition is woeful. At least 40% of humanity suffers from some form of malnutrition that has the potential to damage their health7. Obesity is a rapidly growing manifestation of malnutrition in both developed and developing countries, and also affects poor people disproportionately: for many sufferers, however, it is a matter of life-style choice and lack of nutrition knowledge8. While there has been progress since 1990 in reducing the percentage of children under the age of five years who are underweight, an estimated 148 million children in the developing world remain undernourished9. Paradoxically, despite years of international anti-hunger efforts and rising per caput food availability, the number of hungry people has continued to rise. This trend has been boosted by the recent 2007-2008 food price crisis, yielding a gloomy figure of 115 million of additional undernourished people10. And recent World Bank estimates suggest the spreading global economic crisis will push 200 million more people into poverty. Moreover, preliminary estimates for 2009 to 2015 forecast that an average of between 200,000 and 400,000 more children a year, a total of 1.4 to 2.8 million, may die if the crisis persists11. Although there is no clear agreement about the absolute figures12, up to 5.5 million children die every year of causes attributable to maternal and child under-nutrition, which represents over half of the 9.2 million underfive deaths worldwide. In round numbers, this means that 1,000,000 pneumonia deaths, 800,000 diarrhea deaths, 500,000 malaria deaths, and 250,000 measles deaths could be prevented by eradication of child undernutrition. On top of that, nearly two million children die each year because they lack clean water and toilet facilities. These numbers place prevention of undernutrition among children as one of the top priorities for action in efforts to reduce child mortality13. Undernutrition (wasting or acute malnutrition) is a phenomenon that at any given moment impacts 55 million children, with about 19 million of them suffering from the most deadly form, Contrary to common 6

PLoS Medicine Editors (2008) Scaling up international food aid: Food delivery alone cannot solve the malnutrition crisis. PLoS Med 5(11): e235. The Economist (2008). The starvelings. January 24. 7 Figures on the incidence of malnutrition are hard to come by, partly because it has so many manifestations. But it is also significant that malnutrition is not identified by WHO as a specific cause of death in the Organization’s statistics, nor is it included by the UN in the compilation of the Human Development Index. Moreover, in most countries, the forensic services do not consider severe acute malnutrition as a cause of death, which represents a problem when a right to food case is to be presented before any judicial authority. Medically speaking, hunger does not kill. Interesting proposals for addressing these gaps and creating a Food Security and Nutrition Index are set out in Afonso, Ana, Incidencia de la Seguridad Alimentaria en el Desarrollo. Analisis y Sintesis de Indicadores, PhD Thesis, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid 8 Yet now, it seems more is being spent on obesity prevention than ending hunger. Obesity is classified as an “epidemic”, yet hunger is not even formally recognized internationally as a specific cause of mortality. 9 Reena Borwankar et al., “What Is the Extent of Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies? Magnitude of the Problem,” Food and Nutrition Bulletin 28, no. 1 supplement (2007): S174-81. UNICEF Press Release (2008). Releasing Declining Numbers for Child Mortality, UNICEF Calls for Increased Efforts to Save Children’s Lives, UNICEF, 12 September 10 FAO Newsroom (15/12/2008): 11 World Bank (2009). The Global Economic Crisis: Assessing Vulnerability with a Poverty Lens. Policy note prepared for the G-7 Group meeting. 12 February 2009. 12 There are various estimates of levels of mortality attributable to hunger. Probably the most authoritative summary can be found at Detailed country-specific figures on food consumption and the incidence of hunger are published by FAO in The State of Food Insecurity in the World 13 The data presented in this paragraph are based on the following documents: Black RE, Allen LH, Bhutta ZA, Caulfield LE, de OM, Ezzati M, Mathers C, Rivera J & Maternal and Child Undernutrition Study Group (2008). Maternal and child undernutrition: global and regional exposures and health consequences. Lancet 371, 243-260. Caulfield, L.E., M. de Onis, M. Blössner and R.E. Black (2004). Undernutrition as an underlying cause of child deaths associated with diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria. and measles. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 80: 193-198. Pelletier DL, Frongilio EA Jr, Schroeder DG, Habicht J-P. (1995). The effects of malnutrition on child mortality in developing countries. Bull WHO 73; 443-8. UNICEF (2007). Progress for Children: A world fit for children, statistical review. UNICEF, New York. WHO (2005). The World Health Report 2005: make every mother and children count. World Health Organization, Geneva


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

perceptions, wasting is by no means a simple by-product of conflict or famine: its cause is usually the failure of long-term development processes, and not simply their sudden and dramatic collapse. Most deaths do not happen in acute emergencies, but occur on a daily basis in relatively stable countries14. What we are facing is a new-style famine, causing death on a vast scale throughout the world - a famine that goes largely unheeded because it is so widely dispersed and is played out, hidden from camera lenses behind millions of closed doors. However, today less than 10% of the 19 million severely malnourished children get the treatment they need. Nine out of ten children remain untreated15. Ironically, the international community has become much more adept at saving the lives of wasted children in the context of catastrophes than in a development context. It is in the governments’ own interests to act, because the persistence of wasting is not only a moral scandal, it also represents a drag on economic and political progress. The cost of undernutrition to national economic development is estimated at US$20-30 billion per annum16. Reducing malnutrition is central to reducing poverty. As long as malnutrition persists, development goals for the coming decade will not be reached. It would cost about $US8 billion a year to assist 100 million families to protect their children from hunger and malnutrition17, and $US30 billion a year to attain food security for all. Eliminating moderate and severe acute malnutrition has been estimated to cost only 2.76 billion Euros18. Yet current donor spending on programmes to reduce undernutrition is only about $US250 – $US300 million annually19. Currently, rates of undernutrition among children are declining in most countries at 1% per year or less, a very low figure that is totally unacceptable20. The fact that millions of people are still dying each year prematurely because of a lack of adequate food when the world is able to produce enough for all to eat is a true scandal21 . It demands urgent, sustained and massive attention, within global and national institutional frameworks that are properly equipped to address the issues on the scale required and in ways that respect national sovereignty and the dignity of individuals.

2. The Role of Inter-Governmental Institutions in world food governance The food crisis that has sparked interest in new institutional arrangements has illustrated the extraordinary degree of interconnectedness that now exists within the world’s food management systems. Thus, for example, the policies adopted by one country (e.g. to subsidise grain-based biofuel production for vehicles, using farm products that might otherwise have been available to feed people or farm animals) can drive up the cost of staple cereals all around the world. This, in turn, inadvertently forces millions more of our fellow humans into a situation of chronic undernourishment and the most abject poverty. Similarly, competition in international markets may lead countries to perpetuate labour policies that deliberately restrict wages for manual or unskilled workers, creating situations in which their earnings are too low to permit their adequate nutrition. The implication of these and many other possible examples is that, if only on ethical grounds, issues to do with production technologies 22, food supply, trade, distribution and environmental policy that 14

Gross, R. and P. Webb (2006). Wasting time for wasted children: severe child undernutrition must be resolved in non-emergency settings. Lancet 2006; 367: 1209–1211. 15 ACF-MSF (2009). One crisis may hide another: food price crisis masked deadly child malnutrition. Time to refocus at Madrid Food Summit. Briefing paper. Action Contre la Faim International Network and Médecins Sans Frontieres. 16 UNICEF (2006). Progress for children. A report card on nutrition. UNICEF, New York. 17 UNICEF (2006) Ending Child Hunger and Undernutrition Initiative: Oral report. 18 ACF-MSF (2009). op.cit. 19 Macdonald B (2008) Why have donors committed so few direct investments to eliminate child undernutrition? Id21 insights. 20 De Onis M, Frongilo E A, Blössner M. (2000). Is malnutrition declining? An analysis of changes in levels of child malnutrition since 1980. Bull WHO 78:122-33. Jones G, Steketee RW, Black RE, Bhutta ZA, Morris SS. (2003).Bellagio Child Survival Study Group. How many child deaths can we prevent this year? Lancet 362:65-71. 21 Trueba I. (2009) El Escándalo del Hambre: La verguenza de nuestra era. Diario El Mundo, Madrid 22 There is clearly a shared responsibility between nations for ensuring the adequacy of global food supplies for future generations. One important dimension of this is the generation of technologies for intensive food production systems that do not damage the natural resources – especially soils, surface and underground water supplies, and plant and animal genetic resources – that are needed


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

can significantly affect the number of people who are either well fed or hungry, have to be considered in a global context rather than simply from the perspective of a single country or group of countries. It is the recognition of this growing global interdependence and the complexity of food security issues that justifies the call for institutions that can facilitate better coordination between countries as well as between the many other actors, including those from within civil society, now increasingly involved in the various dimensions of food system management. Improving food security and nutrition is not simply a matter of increasing food supplies but also of addressing the other important factors that determine whether or not people are able to exercise their right to adequate food. Important considerations relate to where and how food is produced, equitable trade arrangements and prices, income distribution and social protection, access to land, population, knowledge of nutrition, public health and hygiene, and environmental management23 that can only be addressed by stronger partnerships between institutions that have until now tended to work largely independently from each other. Box 1: 2009 - food security year? Spurred by the recent food price crisis, action is being taken to strengthen the international institutions responsible for food security and nutrition, and some governments are showing that fast progress in reducing hunger and malnutrition can be achieved through well designed multi-component food and nutrition security programmes, especially when these include targeted social protection components. These efforts deserve the fullest support but, unless backed by a stronger, sustained and unambiguous commitment by more countries to address the underlying problems, will make little difference for most of those now suffering from hunger and malnutrition, or even for their children. In less than one year, we have seen three high-level international meetings end without significant commitments for which any country or institution is accountable. In June 2008, the G-8 Leaders proposed the creation of a “Global Partnership for Agriculture and Food Security” (GPAFS)24 and it has been developed by G-8 and then G-20 member states in the course of 2008 and 2009. In 2009, the revamping of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and creation of a Multilateral Trust Fund, administered by the World Bank and supported by the G-20, have been two major steps towards the materialization of the GPAFS into concrete actions. This same year has also witnessed the High-level Meeting on Food Security for All in Madrid in January, the G-8 L´Aquila Summit, with food security at the centre stage, and the World Summit on Food Security in November in Rome, hosted by FAO. The underlying goal of all these events was to find a suitable and sustainable financial and institutional arrangement to combat and prevent future food crises and better address hunger at global level. However, after this flurry of international action, the level of attention being given by governments to addressing food insecurity and malnutrition is in danger of diminishing as food prices fall and countries re-focus their attention on the consequences of the global recession, the current recovery process and the challenges posed by the processes of climate change. There is a real danger that 2009 will be seen as the year of talk and no action on the food security front.

Recent history suggests that, even if the level of government representation is more elevated than at present25, existing inter-governmental bodies are unlikely to be successful in ensuring the level of commitment required to trigger action on the scale needed to bring about a massive reduction in hunger and malnutrition. There are three main reasons for this:  First, in spite of the commitments that they have repeatedly made, only a few governments are strongly motivated to address food security and nutrition issues directly: most prefer to assume that the problems will disappear as a consequence of economic growth – a view that has been

to support expanded output. But there is also the need for production systems that are resilient to expected changes in climate. As emphasised in the recent International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) , it is essential to reverse the gross under-investment in a new generation of sustainable environmentally friendly food production methods that has been occurring in recent years, and to focus on directions of technology change that are determined more by the interests of farmers and consumers rather than those of input manufacturers. 23 See the IAASTD, and Nelleman, C., M. MacDevette, T. Manders, B. Eickhout, B. Svihus, A.G. Prins, B.P. Kaltenborn, eds. (2009). The Environmental Food Crisis: the environment’s role in averting future food crises. E UNEP rapid response assessment. UNEP, Nairobi – GRID Arendal, Norway. 24 Available at 25 Proposals have been developed by FAO, and recently approved, for raising the level of government representation on the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in the expectation that this could heighten its effectiveness; and by the ETC Group to rearrange the existing UN agencies dealing with food and agriculture. ETC Group (2009). All road maps lead to Rome. Message for Madrid High-level Conference. ETC Communique no. 101, Ottawa.


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

fashionable until recently also in international financing agencies26 and amongst the managers of bilateral aid programmes27. Clearly, national governments and the international community together are not doing enough to address the largest single cause of premature death in the world.28. 

Secondly, many governments, though they would not admit it, have a vested interest in keeping people poor and, by implication, hungry. For example, maintaining low wages for unskilled workers and turning a blind eye to employment malpractices, may increase the competiveness of a country in international markets for goods produced using labour-intensive manufacturing methods.

Thirdly, unfortunately, the general pattern in existing multilateral institutions responsible for dealing with issues of global concern is for national delegates to assume positions that respond to the short-term interests of their domestic constituencies rather than ones which ensure the greatest good to mankind as a whole – one of the unfortunate downsides of democratic systems of government! The need within these institutions, even when meeting at Summit level, to arrive at consensual agreements and declarations acceptable to all – or almost all – nations makes it virtually impossible for them to reach a point at which members engage themselves in binding commitments.

One consequence has been a general under-investment in the provision of global public goods. In the case of food management, it is significant that the declarations of successive World Food Summits, including the 2009 meeting, and high-level meetings, while establishing or reiterating global targets, do not commit individual countries to any specific goals or actions for reducing hunger at a national level or for providing funds towards the costs of hunger eradication29. Nobody can, therefore, be held accountable for success or failure towards reducing hunger. To a certain extent the same is true of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). This has been ratified by 159 countries that recognise “the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger” amongst many other rights, but the time-scale within which these rights are to be assured is not defined. In the last few years, however, there has been encouraging progress towards the wider recognition of the right to food, as countries adopt the “Voluntary Guidelines”30, including through incorporating the principles in constitutional changes. The untiring work of successive UN Special Rapporteurs on the Right to Food has also served to highlight gross violations 31 and to awaken public opinion to the injustice of hunger. Finally an Optional Protocol to the ICESCR was approved by the UN in 2008 and adopted by 29 countries in 200932, opening the way for citizens of signatory nations to submit 26

In April 2008, World Bank President Robert Zoellick, however, made the point the “Hunger and malnutrition are a cause, not just an effect of poverty”. This echoed the position set out in FAO’s technical papers for the World Food Summit- five years later in 2002. FAO Director-General stated: “...hunger is as much a cause as an effect of poverty and getting rid of hunger is, therefore, an essential first step in the quest for poverty alleviation and sustainable economic growth. 27 See paper by Sumner, A., J. Lindstrom and L. Haddad (2007). Greater DFID and EC Leadership on Chronic Malnutrition: Opportunities and Constraints. Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. It concludes that “whilst DFID and EC recognize chronic undernutrition to be important they do not see investments in reducing it as fundamental to development.” See also a related note by Barbara Macdonald of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). Macdonald B (2008) Why have donors committed so few direct investments to eliminate child undernutrition? Id21 insights. 28 Gross, R. and P. Webb (2006). Wasting time for wasted children: severe child undernutrition must be resolved in non-emergency settings. Lancet 2006; 367: 1209–1211 29 The Food Aid Convention, managed until very recently by the International Grains Council, however sets binding annual targets for provision of food aid by its few signatory member countries. 30 The Voluntary Guidelines to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security, approved by all countries that are FAO member states in 2004 31 See the websites of the former Rapporteur Dr. Jean Ziegler and of the the current one, Dr. Olivier de Schutter. 32 Subject to its ratification by more than 10 countries, starting in March 2009, the Optional Protocol of the ICESR will allow complaints to be received and considered by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on grave or systematic violations of the Covenant by countries ratifying the Protocol (


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

complaints on violations of their rights to the ICESCR Committee. In spite of this progress, however, the ICESCR remains a “blunt instrument” that is unlikely, alone, to bring about a rapid drop in deaths caused by hunger and malnutrition, though it provides an extremely important element in the arsenal of weapons with which to address the problem. This implies a need to look for a set of instruments and institutions that are empowered with greater effectiveness than is inherent in those that currently manage global food systems. Above all, these have to be set up in such a way that they act in the long-term global interest even when this may have negative shortterm side-effects on some of the individual countries that champion them. They must also involve the selfimposition by all those governments that are motivated to participate of binding and monitorable long-term commitments. And, while respecting the decision-making responsibilities of governments and the convening responsibilities of the UN system, they must provide for the full engagement of civil society33, including the representatives of all those engaged in food production, distribution and consumption34. Recent experience in other fields of global endeavour suggests that it is through treaties and conventions, involving “coalitions of the willing” that it is possible to raise the level, reliability and sustainability of commitments for achieving important global goals and correcting injustices. A convention or treaty to end deaths related to hunger and malnutrition would strengthen the hand of existing intergovernmental institutions to fulfil their mandates in addressing the various dimensions of food security, defining their obligations with greater clarity and encouraging a fuller integration of their programmes, especially at national levels within developing countries. We propose, therefore, that in parallel to adjustments to the existing institutions35, priority should also be given to creating a new binding framework within which they can operate with greater effectiveness36, as a result of sharpened time-bound goals, an agreed plan of action and more predictable funding The latter would be conditional, of course, on an end to their rivalrous behaviour which is, in the authors’ opinion, a main cause of their diminished effectiveness in tackling hunger37. We, therefore, propose three linked sets of action: 1. Retain the WFS halving target for 2015, but, in addition, set a clear goal to eradicate hunger and malnutrition as rapidly as is humanly possible but no later than 2025. 2. Develop innovative International Instruments (i.e. preferably a legally binding International Convention to Eradicate Hunger and Malnutrition or, failing this, an International Public Register of Commitments, that would be morally binding for participating countries) to enable those governments and institutions that subscribe to the goal of eradicating hunger to register their financial, technical and institutional commitments to time-bound actions and to be held accountable for delivery and results. 3. Mount an International Campaign to embolden people throughout the world to demand action by their governments to ensure that every man, woman and child can have physical and economic access at all times to sufficient and adequate food, and that the underlying causes of hunger and malnutrition are effectively addressed, through getting their governments to formally commit themselves to eradicating hunger and malnutrition through one or other of the above instruments.


This is not to imply that some CSOs, although proclaiming themselves as altruistic, might appear to devote more energy to using international fora to gather resources for their own programmes than to pressing for action in the interests of the hungry. 34 Vivero, J.L. (2009). 18,000 children died today from hunger: Long live the Madrid Process! Comment prepared for FRIDE (Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior), Madrid. 35 Most of the international institutions concerned with food and agriculture issues are currently engaged in processes of institutional renewal and policy reform. Some observers suggest that still more radical reforms need to be considered if they are to become as effective as they need to be: for instance, see ETC Group (2009). All road maps lead to Rome. Message for Madrid High-level Conference. ETC Communique no. 101, Ottawa. 36 There would seem to be obvious advantages in focusing the combined expertise of FAO (expansion of small-scale farm production), WFP (social protection), WHO (nutrition/health), UNICEF (children), UNFPA (population), UNEP (environment) and IFAD (finance) on assisting countries in developing and implementing national programmes to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, but there are very few examples of such collaboration. 37 As was made evident during the High-level meeting in Madrid. Sanchez-Montero, M. (2009). The political dimension of hunger. FRIDE comment.


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

3. Setting a Goal: halving hunger is not fair, ending hunger is possible by 2025 The starting point for any consideration of the shape of a new framework for the global food system must be agreement on the goal that it is intended to achieve38. We propose one immediate, unambiguous and readily monitorable goal: To ensure that all people now living on earth and their children can enjoy the food that they need to be free from hunger within the shortest time that is humanly possible, but no later than 202539. The currently accepted intermediate target of halving the proportion (or number) of people who are hungry by 2015, retained in the MDG and World Food Summit follow-up processes, and reaffirmed by governments at the 2009 Summit, has distracted attention from the already agreed ultimate goal of eradicating hunger, to the extent that this tends to be forgotten. It is vital to do everything possible to achieve the 2015 target on the road to eradication. The 2015 target, alone, however, has all the weaknesses of any half-measure – it fails to inspire a sense of urgency and unity and, even if achieved, it effectively condemns the “other half” to continued hunger and premature death. It also fails to address forms of malnutrition other than undernourishment that are also hugely debilitating and life-threatening for millions of people and require similar interventions but are not yet covered by any explicit international goal40. Nothing short of an absolute goal of permanently eradicating hunger and malnutrition throughout the world (and reflecting this in national goals) within a relatively short period will galvanize the necessary public support, political commitment, creativity and action41. There are enormously powerful moral, human rights, economic and security justifications to turn the focus towards that ultimate goal, but the strongest argument is that is now technically possible and affordable42, and that not to adopt it implies the needless condemnation of millions of humans to premature death and to exposure to ill health and suffering throughout their shortened span of life on our shared earth. Malnourished children suffer from impaired immunity, which increases the likelihood of infection, disease, and death. Disease, in turn, can cause poor nutrient absorption, altered metabolism, and lack of appetite, leading to inadequate nutritional intake. As noted earlier, undernutrition is a major contributing factor to more than half of all child deaths43; and eliminating malnutrition would remove one-third of the global burden of disease and increase child survival44. Thus, the rationale for the proposed framework that could be tentatively called a Convention on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition45 is based on the following principles:


De Schutter, O. (2009). The Global Partnership on Agriculture and Food: a response grounded in the human right to food. Note prepared by the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. 39 Several commentators have questioned the feasibility of this goal, but there is no obvious reason why it cannot be achieved if there is a real determination to do so and if the world remains largely at peace. 40 Significantly in most countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, national food security programmes address both chronic and severe malnutrition simultaneously and embrace both emergency and structural dimensions of the problems. At their regional meeting in Salvador, Brazil, in December 2008, leaders confirmed their commitment to work towards the eradication of hunger and their full support to the Hunger-free Latin America and the Caribbean Initiative ( An English version can be downloaded in this site: 41 In this connection it is relevant that President Lula mobilized Brazil by adopting a “zero hunger” goal for his national food security programme, and thereby imbued it with a sense of urgency that caught popular imagination and led to the rapid creation of institutions and laws for its implementation. 42 About 40 developing countries are on course to meet the World Food Summit goal of halving the number of hungry by 2015, demonstrating that this is possible. For details see table 1 in FAO (2008). The State of Food Insecurity in the World. FAO Rome. 43 Pelletier, D.L. and E.A. Frongillo (2003). Changes in Child Survival Are Strongly Associated With Changes in Malnutrition in Developing Countries, Journal of Nutrition 133, no. 1 (2003): 107-19; Caulfield, L.E et al. (2004). Undernutrition as an Underlying Cause of Child Deaths Associated With Diarrhea, Pneumonia, Malaria, and Measles. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 80, no. 1: 193-98; 44 Mason. J.B. et al., “At Least One-Third of Poor Countries’ Disease Burden Is Due to Malnutrition,” Disease Control Priorities Project Working Paper (2003). 45 In earlier versions of this paper, it was suggested that the Convention should also cover actions required to safeguard food supplies to meet the needs of future generations. It was observed that “There is also a growing recognition that many of the technologies on which intensive agriculture is now based are unsustainable from an environmental perspective in many parts of the world and cannot be relied upon to produce the food needs of future generations or provide an adequate living for the 450 million small-scale farmers who supply the majority of the world’s food.” Recognizing that focusing on this issue at this stage could distract attention from the immediate aim of ending hunger-related deaths, the proposed second goal was dropped, but this could eventually be picked up again at a later date and brought into the Convention.


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 public conscience that, in furthering the principles of humanity, the nations of the world must jointly and individually do everything possible to bring to a rapid end the vast but needless suffering and premature death now being caused by acute and chronic hunger and other forms of malnutrition. Eating enough and adequate food and being free from hunger are fundamental human rights, directly linked to the right to life. The recognition that the global food system is deeply interconnected in that the actions of one country or group of countries can impact on the capacity of people living in other countries to access adequate food and also affect the planet’s future ability to meet humanity’s food needs. The recognised need to motivate and engage governments and institutions responsible for all the various dimensions of food security and nutrition in the joint development and implementation of common strategies.

4. Elements of a Convention on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition In fields other than food security, especially in relation to the conduct of war and the protection of the environment46, international conventions and protocols have been used as instruments within which genuinely interested nations can come together to commit themselves in an explicit and binding manner to work jointly towards the attainment of agreed global goals. These agreements are normally reflected in national legislation designed to enable each signatory nation to fulfil its commitment on a sustainable and predictable basis until the goal is achieved. The Geneva Convention that sets out the rules on the conduct of war is the best known. However, more recently in the weapons area, there has been successful experience towards the banning of anti-personnel mines. In the environmental area, amongst the most outstanding conventions and protocols are those that relate to maintaining biological diversity, the banning of ozone-depleting substances, and reduction in the release of green-house gases. The only specific agreement in the food security area is the already expired Food Aid Convention (FAC), a post-WWII agreement between food aid supplying countries to guarantee an agreed minimum amount of food assistance each year47. Recipient countries were not included in this convention. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) - that includes recognition of the right to food - has many of the characteristics of an international convention. It does not, however, include time-bound goals or any provision for funding commitments that can be monitored. As already noted, the approval of an Operational Protocol, creating a mechanism for handling complaints of violations, will, however, greatly strengthen the effectiveness of the ICESCR. The history of the processes leading to the approval of recent conventions and protocols shows that:  The process itself raises the level of public knowledge of the issues being addressed;  Related campaigning, especially when led by NGOs and faith-based groups, can be successful in increasing the extent to which citizens demand action by their governments, especially to end obvious injustices;  This, in turn, induces governments to participate in the negotiation process and to raise the level of their commitments, often before the convention is formally approved;  Citizen engagement also contributes to effective monitoring and helps ensure that governments are held accountable for fulfilment of their commitments and goals;


Amongst the best known are the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, the Ottawa Convention on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and on their destruction, the Rio Convention on Biological Diversity, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and the Kyoto Protocol of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. 47 Currently a number of international NGOs are pressing for a revision of the FAC, including the transfer of its secretariat from the London-based International Grains Council to a UN agency. The FAC could easily be covered by a Protocol to the proposed Convention.


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

 

Initially only a relatively small number of governments may sign up to a convention, but once it has been ratified by the required number, progressively more nations become signatories until eventually almost all governments become parties; The fact that the governance of each convention is provided only by signatories (i.e. by governments that are seriously committed to its goals, or a “coalition of the willing”) means that the types of actions for which commitments are made are on a higher plane than if they were defined through negotiations involving all governments in a decision-making role; Successive revisions of conventions and the addition of protocols usually lead to a progressive broadening of their reach and effectiveness48.

Box 2: Main Differences between a Summit Declaration and a Convention A Summit Declaration is a statement of good intent approved by general consensus amongst all countries represented at a Summit: the prior process of negotiating a draft text is open to all governments and inevitably results in conclusions that are painless even for the most recalcitrant government (i.e it is a “least common denominator” agreement). In the case of the 1996, 2002 and 2009 World Food Summit declarations, goals are set at global level, and no country commits itself to a nation-specific goal or to undertake or engage in any specific action. A Convention is a legal instrument, recognised under international law, which establishes binding obligations for all signatory states parties, including the obligation to reflect the terms of the agreement in national legislation. In the case of a Convention, signatory countries “internalize” the goal within their own country and make a binding commitment to take the measures necessary to achieve it. The dominant players in the negotiating process are those countries that have the strongest level of commitment to the goal, and they will tend to avoid diluting the goal and related obligations even if this means that, initially, the Convention is ratified by only a relatively small number of countries. As an enlightening example, the Rio Summit, was successful in having a lasting impact not so much because of its general declaration but because it spawned two major Conventions – the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity, placing very specific obligations on signatory countries: these obligations were subsequently made more specific by the subsequent protocols (e.g. Kyoto Protocol).

We believe that:  The application of a convention-based approach to the issue of hunger and malnutrition could be successful not only in translating “soft” into “hard” (i.e. accountable) commitments by individual governments, but also in raising the level and predictability of commitments, and hence lead to a marked acceleration in relevant actions and achievement of results.  A convention should cover both hunger (including both acute and chronic incidence of undernutrition) as well as other manifestations of malnutrition that are contributing to premature death, illness and misery on a vast scale – because they frequently affect the same people and many of the “cures” are similar. 49 This would also exploit the huge efficiency gains that can be achieved by creating a framework that brings together around a single unambiguous goal, institutions concerned with humanitarian and development assistance, and with food security, nutrition and social protection, that have tended to operate on separate paths.  The focus of any convention should be on “eradication” rather than “halving” hunger50, because the adoption of an absolute goal is more ethical and now entirely feasible, and it induces a much greater sense of urgency. The goal of halving hunger also implicitly raises the issue of what happens to the excluded half of the target population.  The goal should be achieved no later than 2025 – simply because, with the right commitment, there is no reason not to achieve it by then.


For instance, in the case of the proposed Convention, additional protocols could address food aid,, inter-governmental cooperation, and interactions with other legally-binding international agreements such as the ICESCR. 49 One issue is whether, in addressing malnutrition, the Convention should cover both under-nutrition and the food consumption and life-style habits that are leading to a rapidly growing incidence of obesity and related life-threatening diseases in both developed and developing countries. 50 It must be recalled that the both the World Food Summit goal and the Millennium Development Goal are for the eradication of hunger. The focus to date, however, has been on the immediate target of halving hunger by 2015, with little attention being given to the ultimate goal.


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

It is in this setting that we are proposing to governments of both developing and developed countries that are committed to eradicating hunger and malnutrition that they consider coming together to design and ratify an international Convention that would provide a legally binding framework for inter-country cooperation and for real mutual accountability for agreed actions at national and international levels, involving defined roles and responsibilities for governments, UN agencies and civil society. The International Convention on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition would:  Enable seriously committed governments to translate their existing “soft” global commitments into “hard” time-bound national commitments (for which they would be held accountable), that would be reflected in their national legislation, policies, plans and budget;  Link the commitments of developing country parties to embark on defined comprehensive long-term programmes to end hunger and malnutrition no later than 2025 with commitments by donor country parties to assist in funding their programmes and in providing technical cooperation services in a predictable manner over a long term;  Provide a framework for South-South cooperation between developing countries for sharing experience, providing reciprocal assistance and assessing each other’s plans and programmes;  Oblige signatory countries to avoid actions which could damage the efforts of other participating countries towards the eradication of hunger and malnutrition, and put in place procedures for handling disputes;  Offer a forum within which ratifying countries could agree on mutually acceptable strategies to be adopted in international negotiations that have a potentially significant effect on the incidence of hunger and malnutrition, especially those related to food trading, regulation of extreme instances of market speculation and monopolistic behaviour, non-conversion of prime farm land to nonagricultural use, safe global food stock levels, population, small-scale farming oriented agricultural research and the sustainability of natural resource use;  Support the creation and implementation at national and global levels of real-time systems for monitoring delivery on commitments51 and progress towards the goal adopted by the Convention;  Recognize and reward institutions for outstanding contributions towards achieving the goal, and bring the failure by any state party to honour its commitments to the attention of the Conference of the Parties, and put in place procedures requiring them to remedy the situation. All signatory countries would be expected to commit themselves to implementing programmes and policies through which to attain the goal of the Convention. Countries wishing to support the process as donors, particularly through partially funding other countries’ national programmes, would commit themselves to contributing resources on a predictable basis. Funds could be channelled directly to requesting countries or through a multilateral fund operated by an existing multilateral financing institution. While the signatories of the Convention and decision makers would be the representatives of nations or groups of nations, the governance arrangements would engage the relevant agencies of the UN system and civil society organizations (including farmers’ organizations, NGOs, the private sector, philanthropic foundations, academia and faith-based groups) in various supportive roles, including planning and strategy formulation, advocacy and performance monitoring Box 3. Why should Governments support a Convention? 51

Monitoring progress towards the achievement of this goal could be based on the following indicators, eventually using data gathered in “real time” by using modern technologies and a non-traditional approach (i.e. mobile phones interviews or coloured questionnaires):  Undernourishment (FAO monitors)  Stunting, also known as ggrowth retardation or child chronic undernutrition, indicated by low height for age (<2 SD of mean height for age) according to WHO 2005 Growth Standards. (WHO monitors)  Wasting, also known as emaciation or thinness as measured by low weight for height (<2 SD of mean weight-for-height), according to WHO 2005 Growth Standards. (WHO monitors)  Underweight (<2 SD of mean weight for age), measured in children under five. It can imply stunting or wasting (UNICEF monitors)  Anaemia (indicative of critical nutrient deficiencies)  Mortality related to hunger and malnutrition (as available)


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

1.- The food price crisis has made governments increasingly conscious of the huge perils of inaction about food issues. 2.- Growing public consciousness of human rights and especially of the fundamental right to be free from hunger – and of the totally unacceptable scale of premature death and illness attributable to hunger and malnutrition. 3.- Growing realisation of the huge economic and social benefits to be gained from reducing hunger and malnutrition. 4.- The evident failure of business-as-usual approaches to hunger reduction 5.- Increasing evidence that well designed national programmes anchored in appropriate legal and institutional frameworks can work. 6.- Advantages of a consistent framework for action at both international and national levels. 7.- Recognition of benefits of shifting from “soft” to “hard” legally binding reciprocal commitments for the achievement of major global objectives.

The secretariat for the Convention would be hosted by an existing UN agency or, better still, by a consortium of UN agencies. Meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention would be timed to coincide with meetings of the apex body that is expected to emerge within the new global institutional architecture for food and agriculture. Judging from the experience of recent conventions, the above process could be accomplished within 3 years, but might take as long as 7 to 10 years. The process itself, however, will from the outset generate awareness, commitment and institutional links that will be reflected in the actions of all those involved and that will grow in momentum as an agreement becomes closer. A preliminary draft of a possible Convention is attached as Annex 1 at the end of this paper. This draft, however, should be considered essentially as an academic exercise so as to help countries launch the necessary debate.

5.- An International Public Register of Commitments Because of valid concerns over the many years that might be required to negotiate a legally binding International Convention for the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition and the risk that this could delay urgently needed action, an interim solution could be the creation of an International Public Register of Commitments in which interested governments could formally deposit unilateral standard Declarations of Commitment to the goal of eradicating hunger and malnutrition no later than 2025. As part of their commitments, parties would agree to submit, within a given lapse of time following registration, a Strategy and Action Plan for achieving the agreed goal. Participating governments could also submit updates of their Plans and progress reports to the Register, which could also receive shadow reports on progress, prepared by CSOs. Thus, through their Declarations, governments could commit themselves to the Goal and agree to: • Submit a comprehensive national food and nutrition security strategy and action plan, developed through participatory processes, within 18 months of registration, to be annexed to their Declaration; and periodically update this plan. • Help other committed countries through predictable financial and technical cooperation, including both south-south and north-south cooperation. • Seek common positions on international issues affecting food security and nutrition. • Avoid unilateral actions that could be damaging to other countries’ progress to achieving the goal • Report on progress and accept and contribute to periodic peer-to-peer assessments of performance and the publication of results • Encourage other states to register Declarations of Commitment. The Register should be ideally created and managed by the secretariat of the revamped CFS that would assume responsibility for monitoring compliance with commitments and drawing attention to any shortfalls.52 52

There seems to be some movement in this direction, steered by the G-8 under the L´Aquila Food Security Initiative (AFSI) 52. AFSI has requested the CFS to design a “mapping tool” to (a) monitor the delivery of public and private financial investments by donors, in partnership with OECD; (b) monitor the implementation of food security policies, strategies and programmes; and (c) monitor trends in food security and the extent to which funds and actions are contributing to this trend.


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

Although clearly weaker than the proposed International Convention for the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition, this approach has several practical advantages, at least in the short-term:  As a non-legally binding instrument and one that does not impose any reciprocal obligations on other states, it need not be subject to inter-governmental approval, but only approval by the individual governments that declare commitments: this greatly reduces the time needed for negotiation.  It allows those states that are genuinely committed to decisive action towards “eradication” to publicly declare this commitment and, in so doing, set an example that other states will hopefully emulate.  The public knowledge of where commitment is strongest will serve as a catalyst for expanded financial and technical cooperation between committed countries.  In compliance with the right to food and human rights-based approaches to development, the register will provide for increased accountability, participation and monitoring.  Each country’s Declaration of Commitment will provide a point of reference for the design of national legislation aimed at assuring the sustainability of the commitments made.  To the extent that nations deposit commitments, this would strengthen the hand of the CFS in ensuring accountability.  The size of the response to the invitation would be an indicator of the extent of genuine commitment to address hunger seriously.  The creation of an opportunity for governments to publicly declare their commitment provides an immediate goal for popular campaigning for more determined and sustained action in both foodinsecure and food-secure countries, as well as in those providing and receiving funds.  By opening a window for civil society also to register their commitments, this raises the level of assurance of their long-term and consistent engagement. A draft proposal of this Declaration of Commitment is presented in Annex 2. As for the previous instrument, it is meant to present some elements to trigger international debate on the issue.

6.- A Global Campaign to promote accountability in the eradication of hunger and malnutrition The world is now faced with multifaceted crises, including a hunger pandemic of vast proportions. But there also appears to be an emerging, though sadly still weak, consensus that this is the time to get to grips not just with the better management of the world’s financial systems, but also with the more fundamental problems now facing humanity. Amongst the most serious of these – and one that is ripe for solution - is the persistence of hunger and malnutrition on a horrendous scale, in spite of the fact that the means exist to overcome the problem. The need now is to create a broad-based consensus on strategies for improving food system management in the interests of those who face food deprivation and malnutrition and to create a strong constituency of support for determined action. Whether it is decided to aim to create an International Convention or to adopt the concept of the International Public Register of Commitment, the process should ideally go hand in hand with strengthening of the institutions responsible internationally for all aspects of food security. The process leading to the creation of a Convention or Public Register, however, must also be accompanied by a well-orchestrated national and international campaign, led by NGOs/CSOs, aimed at reinforcing citizen support for urgent large-scale action against hunger and malnutrition. The immediate objective of the campaign would be to ensure that governments deliver on their World Food Summit commitment, reaffirmed in 2009, to halve the number of hungry people between 1990 and 2015. But it would also call on governments to sign up to the Convention or declare their commitment to eradicating hunger and malnutrition. The ultimate goal would be to eradicate hunger and severe malnutrition as soon as is humanly possible, but no later than 2025.


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

In that sense, a campaign53 has to be designed to rally people across the world around this goal and engage them in processes that will lead to its achievement. The campaign would raise public awareness and understanding of the hunger problem and of solutions, engage policy-makers and bring an increasingly large number of institutions into the consensus. It would appeal to peoples’ sense of justice in order to mobilize widespread popular support for hunger eradication and thereby induce higher levels of government commitment.

There continue to be a lot of misconceptions and myths about hunger and malnutrition, and the lack of public awareness is a major cause for government inaction. The idea that it is entirely possible to end hunger in the world, and that this will bring huge benefits for mankind, is still off the radar screen. This can only be addressed through a massive, world-wide education-based campaign, orchestrated by the full range of concerned civil society organizations, working together. The campaign will build support for strong national and global action towards its goals through:  Raising public awareness in order to sensitise and engage people from all walks of life, foster leadership at all levels and turn individuals and groups into agents of change;  Building the campaign on existing movements/campaigns, networks and initiatives, fostering partnerships, based on a common commitment to eradication, while respecting their autonomy and special interests;  Developing country-specific campaigns and national advocacy plans that feed and underpin all global campaigning efforts. The campaign will be implemented by a broad group of CSOs and NGOs, with support from media and other stakeholders such as parliamentarians and schools, working together towards a shared goal. In each country, a programme involving 3 overlapping phases of action will set in motion the emergence of a well-informed informal social movement: Phase 1. Raising awareness to generate understanding, engagement, leadership and action The aim will be to enable large numbers of people, in both developed and developing countries, to become “hunger eradication advocates”. The first phase will focus on civil society actors and other groups involved in social issues – especially women’s groups, youth groups, scout and guide groups, sporting clubs, trade unions, farmers’ groups, religious groups etc, as well as schools. The approach will be to build advocacy capacity on the issues, to distribute simple informational materials and to facilitate learning through discussions and local visits. The focus will be on looking at the extent to which there is hunger and malnutrition within their communities and country, what is being done about it, what more needs to be done and what they themselves can do. In this way members of the groups will be able to arrive at their own decisions on what they can do individually and collectively to eradicate hunger in their community, country and across the world. Phase 2. Spreading the word, deepening commitment, building solidarity Facilitators will encourage networking/exchanges between groups, especially in the same geographical areas, to build a consensus on what has to be done and to feed ideas into a national campaign headquarters; build up local media coverage of small-scale events, and start to engage local leaders. The result would be the emergence of an informal social movement to end hunger. Phase 3. Campaigning National and international campaign headquarters will orchestrate popular mobilisation around local and national events, and selected global occasions, with an immediate focus on getting countries to 53

We use the term “campaign” to mean a sustained, time-framed and coordinated effort by a group of stakeholders to raise public awareness of specific goals and to make a change happen.


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

formally declare their commitment to eradication and to develop plans for achieving this goal. Advocacy work will be targeted on national legislatures and on major international events.

7. Conclusion: We know we can and must end hunger now There has been an inordinately expensive amount of discussion over the past decade about food security and various institutions have emerged with the aim of reducing hunger. Practical action, however, has been modest, except in a few outstanding countries. The international community that is now calling for a Global Partnership has been progressively decreasing its own aid budget allocations for agricultural development and food security, and multi-lateral financing for these purposes has also declined. While there have often been substantial governmental and private responses to food emergencies, UN-sponsored programmes to reduce chronic hunger and malnutrition have remained seriously under-funded54. The world now has the opportunity to move fast towards the eradication of hunger and malnutrition if it really wants to. Success in this could become one of the greatest and most lasting achievements of our generation. Preventing death from hunger and malnutrition through enabling all human beings to eat adequately would be a huge moral victory for those who believe in a more just and equitable global society. It would add credibility to the processes of globalization. And it would also release a huge amount of latent human energy and creativity for the benefit of mankind that has been stifled by hunger and malnutrition, contributing to faster and fairer economic growth, enhanced social inclusion and a reduction in the tensions and envy that now fuel insecurity. The food price crisis of 2008, coming after many years of abundant food production, has been a sharp reminder of the fragile balance between food supplies and demand and of the fact that one in seven humans faces hunger on a daily basis. There is a growing consensus on the need to improve food system management and an increasing number of countries are adopting the principles of the human right to food in their domestic policies. Now is the time to seize the opportunity to correct the greatest failure in the global food system - its failure, even when food is in ample supply, to ensure that all people can eat well. The success of the campaigns on banning of anti-personnel mines or on reducing international debt, suggests that many of the world’s citizens have an innate sense of justice and that, once they know the facts, are prepared to stand up for those who suffer extreme hardship from flaws in the way the world is managed. Nothing could be more unjust than to condemn over 1 billion people to the threat of premature death and life-long exposure to sickness because they are unable to access the most basic of mankind’s needs – the need for daily food – even when the world has shown that it can produce enough to meet everyone’s needs. The proposal for a Convention on the Eradication of Hunger is based on the assumption that, amongst the many governments that have subscribed to the declarations of successive Summits, there are some that are willing to enter into binding long-term commitments to do all they can to bring a lasting end to the scourge of hunger and malnutrition. By coming together with shared goals, these governments and partners from the UN system and civil society would form the nucleus of a truly accountable, transparent and participatory Global Partnership for Agriculture and Food Security.


Macdonald B (2008) Why have donors committed so few direct investments to eliminate child undernutrition? Id21 insights.


Chapter of the book â&#x20AC;&#x153;New Challenges to the Right to Foodâ&#x20AC;?, edited by Miguel Angel Martin and Jose Luis Vivero (2011).CEHAP, Cordoba and Huygens Editorial, Barcelona

ANNEX 1: Preliminary Draft of the Convention for the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition Preamble The Parties to this Convention: Bearing in mind that the peoples of the United Nations, in the Charter, reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, and in the dignity and worth of the individual person; Affirming that the assurance that all people can have access to adequate food throughout their lives is a common concern of humankind; Recalling the recognition under article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger; Conscious that, in spite of repeated commitments by governments to eradicate hunger, the number of people who suffer from chronic hunger continues to rise, and that it is most unlikely that the intermediate global targets for halving hunger by 2015 will be attained; Concerned that, even when global food production has been sufficient to meet the needs of all the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s people, hunger and malnutrition continue to kill millions of people, including many children, every year; expose many others to disease and ill health and to impaired mental and physical growth; hold back economic and social development; predispose people to extreme vulnerability to shocks, and rob large numbers of fellow humans throughout their lifetime of all dignity and opportunities for self-enhancement; Believing that it is now possible, with existing knowledge, institutions and resources, for humanity to bring about a rapid and permanent end to hunger and malnutrition; Mindful that some States have been successful in making fast progress in improving the food security and nutrition of their citizens, showing that this is feasible; Recognizing the vast potential benefits to mankind as a whole from the eradication of hunger and severe malnutrition; Are determined to eradicate hunger and malnutrition and thereby prevent massive needless human suffering, ill health and premature mortality especially of children; Welcoming the adoption by the governments present at the World Food Summit of 1996 of the goal of eradicating hunger and their reiteration of their commitment to this goal at the World Food Summit five years later in 2002 and at the Summit on World Food Security in 2009; Noting that the first Millennium Development Goal is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; Acknowledging the practical guidance on the means by which States can assure that all their citizens can enjoy the human right to adequate food contained in the Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security; Acknowledging that, since the highest concentrations of hunger and severe malnutrition are in low-income food deficit countries and least developed countries, these will require special attention including provision of financial resources and access to relevant technologies and knowledge: HAVE AGREED AS FOLLOWS:

ARTICLE 1. Objectives The objective of this Convention is to enable governments that are committed to eradicating hunger and malnutrition to work together with greater effectiveness to attain the intermediate target of halving the number of hungry within their


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

own territory by 2015 (in relation to a base period of 1990-92) and to achievement of the eradication goal in the shortest time that is humanly possible and no later than 2025.

ARTICLE 2. Use of Terms Food Security is a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. The four pillars of food security are availability, stability of supply, access and utilization. Food Insecurity is the absence of food security. The distinction is often made between transitory, seasonal and chronic manifestations of food insecurity. Hunger is a condition in which people lack the basic food intake to provide them with the energy and nutrients required for fully productive, healthy lives. Undernourishment is an inadequate consumption of food, usually measured by the availability of dietary energy supply being less than that required for any significant physical activity. Malnutrition results from inadequate, unbalanced or excessive food consumption, often combined with infection. Severe Malnutrition When malnutrition is sufficiently serious to result in reduced life expectancy and hence in premature death. ARTICLE 3. Principles States have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and according to the principles of international law, the sovereign right to determine what actions they shall take within their own territories pursuant to their own food security policies, and the responsibility to ensure that actions that they undertake within their jurisdiction do not have negative repercussions on the food security of other States. In addition, States signatories to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights have the obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the fundamental right to be free from hunger of all their citizens.

ARTICLE 4. Cooperation Each Party shall cooperate with other Parties, directly or through international organizations, to contribute to the extent possible to the achievement of the common goal of eradication of hunger and malnutrition. Parties will also ensure that any decisions on the design and arrangements for implementation of programmes under the Convention shall be taken with the full engagement and participation of people who, themselves, suffer from hunger and malnutrition and of those who contribute, through their work, to their eradication.

ARTICLE 5. General Measures Each Party shall, in accordance with its particular conditions and institutional and financial capabilities:  Develop and implement national strategies, programmes or plans for the eradication of hunger and malnutrition within a time frame that it considers feasible but no later than 2025, or adjust existing programmes to achieve this goal;  Define the ways in which it intends to assist other countries in fulfilling their commitment to the eradication of hunger and severe malnutrition;  Participate in, and contribute financially to, international governance and decision-making processes aimed at creating a favourable global policy environment for the permanent eradication of hunger and malnutrition. ARTICLE 6. National Programmes


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

Each Party, in developing national programmes for the eradication of hunger and malnutrition, shall, with the full participation of those most affected and those who can contribute to solutions:  Identify the extent, location, nature and underlying causes of hunger and malnutrition amongst the population living within their territory of jurisdiction;  Examine options to overcome the problems, especially through enabling affected families to improve their nutrition, including through strengthening food production, storage, marketing and distribution systems; enabling universal access to adequate food in terms of both quantity and quality, and raising the level of knowledge amongst citizens of how best to utilize food for healthy living;  Identify complementary measures, especially those related to the supply of clean water and provision of sanitation and access to basic health services, that can contribute to better nutrition and health;  On this basis, define policies, programmes and institutional arrangements to achieve the goal to which the government has committed itself and to monitor and report on progress, using formats and indicators established by the Conference of Parties under Article 12;  Submit for approval by the country’s legislature, draft food and nutrition security legislation reflecting the commitments made by the government through its participation as a Party to the Convention. This legislation shall endorse the national programme; create or strengthen institutions responsible for its implementation; assure an appropriate and predictable level of resource allocation, to be sustained over the number of years required to attain the goal, and put in place arrangements for monitoring and reporting on progress.

ARTICLE 7. Mutual Assistance between Countries Each Party shall, within its means, assist other Parties, as requested by them, in the design and implementation of their national programmes through:  Sharing of experience and knowledge, including the findings of research;  Training and technical cooperation;  Provision of financial resources and aid-in-kind including food assistance, either bilaterally or through multilateral channels. All assistance will be provided in ways that conform to the principles set out in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, the Accra Agenda for Action and the Marrakech Declaration on South-South Cooperation.

ARTICLE 8. Cooperation on Global and Regional Policies Each Party, through its participation in the governing bodies of the Convention, its membership of the United Nations and of Specialised Agencies and Funds of the UN, multilateral financing institutions, regional organizations, and other groupings, commits itself to participate actively in the development of policies, agreements, institutions and instruments that create a supportive environment for the rapid and sustained eradication of hunger and malnutrition at national and household level. Such global and regional policies will relate, in particular, to international trade in food commodities, safe global food stock levels, the sustainable use of natural resources for food production, public investment in agricultural research, and adjustments to global and regional institutions responsible for food system management.

ARTICLE 9. Public Awareness and Education The Parties, individually, jointly, through international bodies or through the engagement of civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations, and through the media, shall cooperate in promoting public awareness and understanding of the scale of human suffering caused by hunger and malnutrition, of the available solutions and of the ways in which individuals, groups of people and nations can contribute to the Convention’s goal of eradicating hunger and malnutrition.

ARTICLE 10. Financial Resources Each Party shall make an annual payment towards the costs of the Convention’s Secretariat and related operational expenditure, assessed according to standard rates of contributions adopted by the UN system, adjusted appropriately. Voluntary contributions towards the operating costs of the Convention may also be made by international organizations and by civil society organizations, provided that these are made without conditions that could compromise the independence and integrity of the Secretariat or its subsidiary bodies.


Chapter of the book â&#x20AC;&#x153;New Challenges to the Right to Foodâ&#x20AC;?, edited by Miguel Angel Martin and Jose Luis Vivero (2011).CEHAP, Cordoba and Huygens Editorial, Barcelona

Each Party undertakes to provide, in accordance with its capabilities and the magnitude of the food insecurity situation within its borders, financial support towards the implementation of its national policies, programmes and plans, intended to achieve the goal of the Convention. The level of financial commitment shall be defined for a rolling period of at least 4 years. All Parties may voluntarily commit resources, both financial and as aid-in-kind, to support the implementation of other Partiesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; national programmes, as requested by them. However, developed countries shall commit and provide new and additional resources, on a predictable basis for a rolling period of at least 4 years, towards the costs of the implementation by other Parties of national programmes, as set out in Article 11. Voluntary contributions may also be made under the Convention by international organizations and by civil society organizations in support of national programmes, at the request of the concerned Party. Should such resources be committed to the multilateral fund set up or recognized by the Convention (as defined in Article 11) these would be accepted only if, in the judgment of the Secretariat (applying criteria approved by the Conference of Parties), they were free from conditions that could compromise the independent management of the fund in line with the objectives of the Convention. In the allocation of financial resources, particular attention shall be given to the needs of low-income food deficit countries and least developed countries. In becoming Parties to this Convention, developed countries recognise that the extent of progress by developing countries, especially low-income food-deficit countries and least developed countries, towards the achievement of the goal will be highly dependent on the extent to which they meet their agreed share of the costs of implementing endorsed national programmes.

ARTICLE 11. Financing Mechanisms Financial resources in support of national programmes may be provided by the concerned Party, by other Parties or by other institutions, including civil society organizations. Externally provided funds may be transferred, as a result of agreements between recipient governments and donors, through bilateral channels, specialised agencies of the United Nations, existing regional organizations, civil society organizations, or a multilateral fund to be established under or recognized by the Convention. In all cases, the amounts of funds (and the value of aid in kind, including of technical cooperation as defined in Article 7) committed and transferred to the recipient Parties and the relevant terms and conditions applying to these transfers, will be communicated annually, within 3 months of the end of each calendar year, by donors to the Secretariat, with explanations given for any discrepancy between commitments and transfers. The Conference of Parties shall select either an existing international financing institution or fund to manage the multilateral fund on behalf of the Convention, and enter into an agreement with it for this purpose. The selected international financing institution or fund may enter into subsidiary agreements with Implementing Agencies for the provision of technical or monitoring services in support of programme implementation. The Conference of Parties shall decide on the criteria to be applied in the appraisal of requests to the multilateral fund in support of national programmes, submitted for approval by States Parties. Appraisals shall be conducted according to these criteria by peer review teams including expertise from both developing and developed country Parties as well as staff of the institution responsible for the management of the multilateral fund. Appraisal reports shall be available for consultation by all Parties. The Conference of Parties shall also decide on the conditions to be applied to the acceptance of funds contributed to the Multilateral Fund, in order to ensure that no restrictions or conditions are applied that could interfere with the independence of its management or infringe the sovereignty of Parties applying for use of the funds.

ARTICLE 12. Reporting, Monitoring and Evaluation Each Party shall report every two years to the Conference of Parties on its progress in relation to the goal of the Convention, using formats and indicators to be approved by the Conference of Parties.


Chapter of the book â&#x20AC;&#x153;New Challenges to the Right to Foodâ&#x20AC;?, edited by Miguel Angel Martin and Jose Luis Vivero (2011).CEHAP, Cordoba and Huygens Editorial, Barcelona

Under the guidance of the Conference of Parties, the Secretariat shall establish a monitoring system designed to measure progress at national, regional and global levels in terms of both inputs, and impact, and enter into agreements with appropriate institutions for the collection, analysis and interpretation of the relevant data. The Secretariat, drawing on information provided under Article 11 and on further enquiries as needed to ensure accuracy of the information, shall issue biannual reports detailing the progress made globally and by each Party in relation to the commitments and transfers made under the Convention and towards the achievement of the goal of the Convention. Upon the request of concerned Parties, the Secretariat will facilitate the occasional deployment of peer review teams to assess the progress of national programmes and to engage in the review of options for their improvement. Under the guidance of the Conference of Parties, the Secretariat will design and implement a programme designed to evaluate progress at national, regional and global levels within two years of the entry into force of the Convention and subsequently at intervals of no more than 5 years. Responsibility for the implementing the evaluation programme will be contracted to an independent institution selected through international tendering.

ARTICLE 13. Relationship with Other International Conventions and Treaties The provisions of this Convention shall not affect the rights and obligations of any Party deriving from any international agreement, except in such cases where the exercise of such rights and obligations could be detrimental to the achievement of the goal of the Convention.

ARTICLE 14. Conference of the Parties The Conference of the Parties consists of the representatives of countries that have signed and ratified the Convention. A first meeting of the Conference of the Parties shall be convened by the (title, name of institution) not later than one year after entry into force of the Convention. Thereafter, ordinary meetings of the Conference of the Parties shall be held at regular intervals, to be determined by the Conference at its first meeting, taking account of the practical advantages of arranging for the timing of meetings to be close to meetings of the Committee on World Food Security. Extraordinary meetings of the Conference of the Parties shall be held at such other times as may be deemed necessary by the Conference, or at the written request of any Party, provided that, within six months of the request being communicated to them by the Secretariat, it is supported by at least one third of the Parties. The Conference of the Parties shall by consensus agree upon and adopt rules of procedure and financial rules for itself and for any subsidiary body that it may establish, as well as financial rules governing funding of the Secretariat and the Multilateral Fund. At each ordinary meeting it shall adopt a budget for the financial period until the next ordinary meeting. The Conference of the Parties shall keep under review the implementation of this Convention and, for this purpose, shall: a. Establish the form and intervals for transmitting the information to be submitted in accordance with Article 12, and consider such information as well as the reports submitted by any subsidiary body or contracted institution; b. Establish procedures for recognizing and rewarding outstanding performance in relation to the achievement of the Conventionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s goal by any Parties, institutions or individuals; c. Establish procedures for drawing to the attention of Parties any failures to meet commitments that they have made under the provisions of the Convention, especially under Article 10, and to ensure that, to the extent possible, any shortfalls are remedied within agreed time periods; d. Promote the harmonization of appropriate policies, strategies and measures at global and regional levels that are supportive of national efforts and programmes to attain the goal of the Convention, and make recommendations on any other measures relating to the Convention; e. Consider and adopt, as required, protocols to the Convention; f. Consider and adopt amendments to this Convention, its annexes and protocols; g. Establish such subsidiary bodies as are deemed necessary for the implementation of this Convention, especially for the provision of scientific and technical advice, or establish partnership arrangements with any such groups or panels as may already exist;


Chapter of the book â&#x20AC;&#x153;New Challenges to the Right to Foodâ&#x20AC;?, edited by Miguel Angel Martin and Jose Luis Vivero (2011).CEHAP, Cordoba and Huygens Editorial, Barcelona



Contact, through the Secretariat, the executive bodies of conventions and covenants dealing with matters related to or covered by the Convention with a view to establishing appropriate forms of cooperation with them; Consider and undertake any additional action that may be required for the achievement of the purposes of this Convention in the light of experience gained in its operation.

The United Nations, its specialised agencies and funds, as well as any State not party to this Convention, may be represented as observers at meetings of the Conference of the Parties. Any other body or agency, whether governmental or non-governmental, qualified and active in fields related to food and nutrition security, which has informed the Secretariat of its wish to be represented as an observer at a meeting of the Conference of the Parties, may be admitted unless at least one third of the Parties present object. The admission and participation of observers shall be subject to the rules of procedure adopted by the Conference of the Parties.

ARTICLE 15. Secretariat The functions of secretariat shall be: a. b.

c. d. e.

To arrange for and service meetings of the Conference of the Parties and of any subsidiary bodies; To prepare and transmit to the Conference of the Parties reports on its own activities as well as those based on information received from Parties under Article 12 and upon information and recommendations received from any subsidiary bodies; To ensure the necessary coordination with other relevant international and regional bodies and to enter into agreements and partnerships as required for the effective discharge of its functions; To facilitate, through the provision of relevant reports and analyses, the effective engagement of Parties in international and regional meetings on issues affecting food security and nutrition; To perform other such functions as may be determined by the Conference of the Parties.

The secretariat function will be provided on an interim basis by the (name of institution), until the first ordinary meeting of the Conference of the Parties. At its first ordinary meeting, the Parties shall designate the secretariat from amongst those existing competent international organizations, operating either individually or jointly, which have signified their willingness to carry out the functions of the secretariat under this Convention ARTICLE 16. UN/CSO Forum The Secretariat shall, on or near the occasion of ordinary meetings of the Conference of Parties, facilitate meetings of a Forum, consisting of interested UN agencies and other bodies and agencies, whether governmental or nongovernmental, that are engaged in activities relevant to the Convention and have applied, at least 6 months prior to a meeting, for membership of the Forum. The function of the Forum is to serve as a gateway between the Conference of the Parties and non-State parties that share a commitment to the goal of the Convention. The Forum may advise the Conference of Parties on strategies and priority actions from the perspective of its members, and, in particular, indicate how its members shall contribute to and participate in actions supported by the Convention. In turn, the Conference of Parties may seek to engage Forum members in the design and implementation of its programmes and related activities. Forum members shall be responsible for creating a committee and relevant secretariat for the management and administration of each meeting, including the definition of rules of procedure, preparation of agendas, calls for papers, drafting of declarations and submission of applications for voluntary contributions towards the costs of meetings, including the costs of delegate travel from developing countries. Declarations and recommendations emerging from the meetings of the Forum shall be presented to the corresponding meetings of the Conference of Parties.

ARTICLE 17. Subsidiary Bodies The functions, terms of reference, membership and reporting procedures of subsidiary bodies shall be determined by the Conference of Parties.


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

ARTICLE 18. Adoption of Amendments, Protocols and Annexes Amendments to the Convention and the creation of new protocols and annexes may be proposed by any Party. Amendments, protocols and annexes shall be adopted at an ordinary meeting of the Conference of Parties. The text of any proposed amendment, protocol or annex shall be communicated to the Parties by the secretariat at least six months prior to the meeting at which it is proposed for adoption. The Parties shall make every effort to reach agreement on proposals by consensus, but if this is not possible, the proposal shall be adopted by a two-thirds majority vote of Parties present and voting at the meeting. It shall be submitted by the Depositary to all Parties for ratification or approval, which shall be given to the Depositary in writing. Amendments to the Convention and new protocols and annexes, approved as above, shall enter into force amongst Parties having accepted them on the ninetieth day after the deposit of instruments of ratification or approval by at least two thirds of the Parties. ARTICLE 19. Procedures for Complaints and Settlement of Disputes Parties shall settle any dispute between them concerning the interpretation or application of the Convention through negotiation or other peaceful means of their choice. ARTICLE 20. Signature, Ratification and Entry into Force The Convention and any protocol shall be open for signature by States or by regional organizations acting on behalf of their member states at (place) from (date) to (date). Instruments of ratification or approval shall be deposited with the Depositary. The Convention or protocol shall remain open for accession by States or by regional organizations acting on behalf of their member states, following the closure of the period during which it is open for signature. The Convention shall enter into force on the ninetieth day after the deposit of the tenth instrument of ratification, approval or accession. Any protocol shall enter into force on the ninetieth day after the date of the deposit of the number of instruments of ratification or approval, specified in the protocol, has been deposited.

ARTICLE 21. Withdrawal At any time after two years from the date on which this Convention has entered into force for a Party, the Party may withdraw from the Convention by giving written notice to the Depositary. Any such withdrawal shall take place upon expiry of one year after the date of the receipt by the Depositary of the notification of withdrawal. Subject to a majority of two-thirds, the Conference of Parties may request any Party that has persistently failed to deliver on its commitments or has conducted itself in ways that severely damage the capacity of other Parties to meet the goal of the Convention to withdraw from its membership of the Convention.

ARTICLE 22. Depositary The (title, name of institution) shall serve as the Depositary for this Convention and its protocols. Authentic versions of the Conventions and any protocols shall be deposited in the following languages……… IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned, being duly authorized to that effect, have signed the present Convention, Done at (place), on (date)


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

ANNEX 2: National Declaration of Commitment to Eradicate Hunger and Malnutrition by 2025 A. Preamble 1. Humanity has been plagued by hunger and malnutrition throughout its history. For several decades there has been enough food available for everyone on earth to eat adequately. Yet, of the world’s 6.7 billion inhabitants, over one billion are now chronically hungry and at least 2 billion more are affected by “hidden malnutrition” (i.e .micronutrient and vitamin deficiencies). Malnutrition is the leading cause of child death, killing up to 5.5 million children each year. This highly inequitable situation of widespread hunger and malnutrition amidst plentiful food demands that all countries take urgent action to ensure that everyone on earth is able to fulfil the most fundamental of human needs and eat adequately, now and in the future. 2. The consequences of widespread hunger and malnutrition are devastating for individuals, families, countries and all humanity:  Hunger locks people in a trap from which escape by their own means alone is almost impossible. Prolonged lack of adequate and nutritious foods lowers people’s work capacity and productivity, and, for children, their ability to learn and grow to their full potential. It heightens their vulnerability and their capacity to cope with shocks, such as wars or natural disasters, and exposes them to frequent illness and premature death.  The costs of poor nutrition are staggering. Total annual losses due to hundreds of millions of people being unable to study or to work to their full potential have been estimated at US$120 billion.  Hunger threatens peace and security. It heightens the risk of violent conflict by worsening existing tensions, including as a result of migration and displacement. 3. Eradicating hunger and malnutrition is entirely possible. The solutions will be country-specific but will usually involve a combination of short and long term policies and programmes for sustainable smallholder agriculture, food stock management, social protection, trade, employment, population, disaster risk reduction, emergency response, and wide-ranging nutrition and primary health-care interventions. Macro-economic and fiscal management policy adjustments may also be required. 4. An adequate response will enable hundreds of millions of now marginalised people to enjoy their most basic human rights and freedoms. It will also enhance national and global economic growth and reduce poverty, and enable nations and peoples to coexist in greater peace and security. 5. The increasingly inter-connected nature of the global food system, however, also demands robust institutions, responsible actions and effective coordination at the international and regional levels. Areas requiring special attention include trade in food commodities, global food stock levels and management, food safety standards, agricultural research, climate change mitigation and adaptation, protection of non-replaceable natural resources for food production, and early warning and disaster preparedness and response. 7. Under human rights law, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), governments have legal obligations to respect, fulfil and protect the right to adequate food1 (Art 11, ICESCR)) which is inextricably linked and is indispensable to the realisation of other fundamental rights and freedoms including the right to life. In addition, through the Millennium Development Goals, the world’s leaders have committed to halving hunger and poverty, reducing child mortality and improving maternal health by 2015. Finally, through approving the World Food Summit Declaration (1996), governments have endorsed the goal of eradicating hunger.

B. Declaration By signing and depositing this voluntary Declaration of Commitment in the International Public Register of Commitment (IPRC), the Government of ……………………………. pledges to take all necessary actions to end hunger and malnutrition by 2025, within our country and worldwide. Specifically, we shall: I. Offer leadership by example in the fight against hunger and malnutrition nationally, regionally and internationally, including by fostering greater coordination and cooperation between committed nations. II. Meet our legal obligations to protect, respect and fulfil the right of everyone to adequate food – which includes freedom from hunger and malnutrition.


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


IV. V.



Engage in compacts with other nations to share knowledge and experience ensure greater predictable financial and technical cooperation, as requested by them and proportionate to their own contributions, in order to help achieve the goals set by them for their own territory. Avoid unilateral actions and policies that could significantly damage the achievement of the agreed goal by other countries. Consult with all other committed countries in addressing global issues that affect food availability and accessibility, quality, trade, distribution and access, with the aim of reaching international agreements that are supportive to the goal of ending hunger and malnutrition. Contribute to safeguarding the adequacy and sustainability of global food supplies to meet the needs of future generations. Submit to the IPRC, within 24 months of the date of registration, a detailed and specific Action Plan 55, prepared with the full involvement of all stakeholders, covering the actions that we shall undertake nationally and internationally to fulfil each of the above commitments, including time-bound intermediate goals and indicators to be used in assessing progress. Propose, within 24 months of the date of registration, the passage of national legislation that embodies the above commitments. Submit periodic reports on progress in implementing the Action Plan to the IPRC, as requested by them, and facilitate the preparation of shadow reports by UN agencies and by relevant international and national Civil Society Organizations56.

Signed on behalf of the Government of …………………………………………… By……………………………….. (name and title)

……………………………… (signature)

Date: …………………………………. Received and Registered, on behalf of ….…………………………………(UN body) By…………………………………… (name and title)

…………………………….. (signature)



The framework of our Action Plan will: Follow international guidelines, particularly the UN Voluntary Guidelines to support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food, or other guidelines proposed by the IPRC. - Address immediate and longer-term needs on a cross-sectoral basis. - Build on existing relevant plans, programmes and initiatives, where these are available, seeking to scale up successful experiences as well as to add further components. - Be developed through an inclusive process with the full participation of those affected by hunger and malnutrition and in consultation with all stakeholders that share our commitments. - Cover both what we shall do to eradicate hunger and malnutrition by 2025 within our own territory, as well as our responses to requests for assistance from other countries. - Include resource allocation targets both for national programmes and for assistance to other countries.. - Specify institutional arrangements for implementation, monitoring and reporting. 56 Following the precedent set by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) for the consideration of such “alternative” or “shadow” reports. -


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