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Final diagnosis from Olivier De Schutter, Special Rapporteur for the UN Human Rights Council : democracy and diversity can mend broken food systems

In his final report to the UN Human Rights Council after a six-year term as Special Rapporteur, Olivier De Schutter today called for the world’s food systems to be radically and democratically redesigned.

“Objectives such as supplying diverse, culturally-acceptable foods to communities, supporting smallholders, sustaining soil and water resources, and raising food security within particularly vulnerable areas, must not be crowded out by the one-dimensional quest to produce more food,” he urged.

At the local level, the Special Rapporteur called on regions to build their food security around smallholder-led, poverty-reducing forms of agriculture, while urging cities to take food security into their own hands by identifying pressure points and developing a variety of channels to procure their food – not least by reconnecting with local food producers.

This must be complemented by democratically-designed right to food strategies at the national level.

An enabling international environment is also essential, the Special Rapporteur stated, recalling the promising efforts of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) to foster inclusive decision-making, and urging other global governance bodies to follow suit.

The Special Rapporteur added: “Attempts by developing countries to improve their food security will only be successful if there are parallel reforms in the global north. Wealthy countries must restrain their expanding claims on global farmland by reining in the demand for animal feed and agrofuels, and by reducing food waste.”

The report included a summary of recommendations issued over the course of his mandate as Special Rapporteur (2008-2014), covering food price volatility, trade and investment in agriculture, regulating agribusiness, agrofuels, food aid and development cooperation, nutrition, social protection, women’s rights, Human Rights Impact Assessments, national strategies, agricultural workers, contract farming, small-holder farmers, agroecology, and the reinvestment in agriculture.

Read the press release.
Read the report.

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20140310_finalreport_en.pdf432.58 KB