Today, about 800 million people around the world suffer from hunger, and about 2 billion lack the essential micronutrients they need to live healthy and active lives.
The reflexive response to a growing demand for food and higher prices is to increase the productivity of food systems. However, there is a rising consensus among agricultural scientists, economists, policy-makers and civil society groups that this approach is not the solution to food crises.
Building on this reflexion, our new Research Brief Human Rights and Food Sustainability identifies a number of international human rights standards that should be taken into account by law and policy makers when developing normative and policy frameworks governing food systems.
‘While there is a growing consensus about the need to change our food policies and related laws and to rethink food systems to achieve food sustainability, international human rights law provides both concrete guidance for these changes, as well as binding standards which should be reflected in national laws, policies and programmes’ underlines Dr Adriana Bessa, Senior Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy and author of the publication.
The Research Brief highlights that food systems should contribute to the realization of the most fundamental rights of the individuals and communities living in the territories they operate, without discrimination.
‘We formulate, on this basis, a series of recommendations to governments and the private sector to ensure that food systems contribute to improving food availability, accessibility and adequacy’ explains Dr Adriana Bessa.
‘Protection of workers’ rights, the elimination of child labour, gender equality, environmental protection or the democratic governance of natural resources also constitute key elements to ensure food sustainability’ adds Dr Adriana Bessa.
This Research Brief has been developed in the context of our six-year research project on food sustainability. It aims, on the basis of research carried out in Bolivia and Kenya, to provide evidence-based knowledge for the formulation and promotion of innovative strategies and policy options to improve food sustainability.
The project now is going to apply the food systems assessment framework (FoodSAF) designed in the first three years of the project in other countries in South America and Africa. In addition to Bolivia, transformative pilot actions aiming at fostering more sustainable food systems will be applied in Brazil and Peru. In Africa, our team will also work in Ghana and Zambia.
Olivier Chamard / Geneva Academy
In 2017, the Platform enabled experts from the various treaty bodies to discuss a range of issues among themselves as well as with external experts and practitioners, including the rights of indigenous women, business and human rights, non-refoulement, individual complaint mechanisms and the relationship between treaty bodies and national human rights institutions.
Olivier Chamard / Geneva Academy
Our 2017 Annual Report is out! It provides a look into our research and educational activities.
This short course focuses on the specific issues that arise in times of armed conflict regarding the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights. It addresses key issues like the applicability of human rights in times of armed conflict; the possibilities of restricting human rights under systems of limitations and derogations; and the extraterritorial application of human rights law.
Sandra Pointet / Geneva Academy
The digital age offers unique opportunities to strengthen human rights implementation and monitoring and has transformed the means through which human rights are exercised. Equally, the digital age poses unique challenges in ensuring that states and businesses respect and protect our rights in the digital forum. The full extent of the human rights implications of the digital age remain unknown.
We are a partner of the Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project, housed at the University of Essex’s Human Rights Centre, which aims to map and analyse the human rights challenges and opportunities presented by the use of big data and associated technologies. It notably examines whether fundamental human rights concepts and approaches need to be updated and adapted to meet the new realities of the digital age.