WOMEN & THE FOOD CRISIS,
United Nations World Food Programme
and malnutrition are still the number one risks to health worldwide.
are the world's primary food producers, yet cultural traditions and social
structures often mean women are much more affected by hunger and poverty than
men. Around 50 per cent of pregnant women in developing countries are iron
deficient (source: ). Lack of iron means 315 million women
die during childbirth every day. As a result, women, in particular, expectant
and nursing mothers, often need special or increased intake of food. Maternal
stunting and underweight are also among the most prevalent causes of giving
birth to a low birthweight child.
UN Special Rapporteur on the Right
Part 2 of this WUNRN release gives
the Link to the Full Report
Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.
A human rights strategy with concerted efforts from the international and national levels is required to address the global food crisis caused by soaring food prices, Oliver De Schutter, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, told the ninth session of the Human Rights Council.
“The poor are hungry and malnourished not because there is no food but because they cannot buy the food that is available”, the Special Rapporteur said, adding that “what matters in human rights terms is not that more food is produced, but who will produce it and for the benefit of whom.”
Before the current food crisis, 854 million were already hungry and over two billion were malnourished. The World Bank estimates that over 100 million additional people may have been driven into poverty as a result of the food price crisis.
The Special Rapporteur’s report is a follow-up to the 22 May special session of the Human Rights Council on the impact of the world food crisis, which urged measures be taken to “ensure the realization of the right to food as an essential human rights objective.”
“Solutions to the food crisis will only be sustainable if our strategies are grounded on human rights,” De Schutter said, and urged all actors to take human rights into account in their efforts to tackle the impact of the increase in food prices.
“If we seek to protect food security only in terms of supply and demand or against climate change, without focusing on those whose right to food is denied, we will fail to address the human suffering caused by growing food prices,” he said.
The report, entitled “Building Resilience: A Human Rights Framework for World Food and Nutrition Security”, recommends a range of national and international measures to redress the negative effects of the food crisis on the enjoyment of the right to food.
At the national level, the report suggests that States develop strategies to ensure that particular attention is given to the needs and rights of the most vulnerable sectors of the population when addressing food issues.
It further says that States have human rights obligations to take a number of actions to realize the right to food, such as putting in place adequate monitoring mechanisms to identify the emerging threats to the right to food, protecting land users from the risk of eviction, and addressing the equal rights of rural women to enjoy access to land and other productive resources.
At the international level, the Special Rapporteur emphasizes that international human rights law requires international assistance and cooperation to achieve the enjoyment of the right to food for all. This includes providing an enabling environment for national efforts to improve adequate access to food particularly through international agreements concerning trade and intellectual property rights.
The report also touches on the impact of agrofuels on the right to food, stating that “an urgent consensus that is firmly anchored in human rights considerations” is required on the issue.
“The Human Rights Council must make it clear that there is no clash of priorities between the need to combat climate change and protect the environment and that to increase food production and protect human rights,” said the Special Rapporteur.
He urged the Human Rights Council to call for prompt adoption of international agreements and guidelines that would ensure investment in, and development of, agrofuels is closely scrutinized.
“This is essential to ensure national and international policies on agrofuels do not have a negative impact on food availability and on human rights, as is too often the case today,” De Schutter said.
Direct Link to FULL REPORT:
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