UN Special Rapporteur on the “Right to Food”, Mr. Olivier de Schutte was interviewed by Caritas Europa.

A video interview with Mr. Olivier de Schutter will be screened at a High Level Panel at the European Development Days, organised by Caritas Europa, Caritas Belgium, CIDSE and Cyprus NGO Development Platform (CYNDEP), on 17 October 2012 from 14:00 to 15:30.

Panellists will debate how to effectively integrate the Right to Food into the new post-2015 policy framework in light of the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015, and the Rio+20 mandate for Sustainable Development Goals. The debate will include EU and UN experiences and advices, as well as good practices from the field by FIAN and Caritas Rwanda. The event’s aim is to generate recommendations and concrete solutions to improve the respect, the protection and the fulfilment of the Right to Food.

Right to food means governments must keep their promises towards sustainable development and reduction of poverty

“Since the World Food Summit in 1996, the Right to Food has been making tremendous progress in a number of regions, particularly in Latin America but now increasingly in Africa and Asia. and that is very encouraging, because the Right to food can effectively contribute to fight against food insecurity and poverty,  says Mr. de Schutter in his video message with Caritas Europa.

“First, the Right to food means that government’s promises shall move towards sustainable development and reduction of poverty and should be kept. Why? Because the Right to food establishes accountability mechanisms, mechanisms in which civil society organisations can ask from governments to  justify their choices, and that the Right to food requires that whichever progress is made is monitored by independent bodies, on the basis of indicators that track progress and increase pressure on governments, so that they keep their promises,” he says.

For this reason, the Millennium Development Goals adopted in 2000 were not sufficient, Mr de Schutter considers the Right to Food and its implementation at national level involves locally-led monitoring as indispensable in reinforcing accountability mechanisms and ownership by the population. The right to food is about participation. It is about seeking the views of those who must benefit from whichever initiatives are adopted. It provides a means both to empower people in the development process to articulate their priorities while taking greater decision-making control over their lives, as well as enabling them to hold duty-bearers, more to account for delivery and performance.

Right to food is much more than just a symbol

Mr. De Schutter points out that the “the Right to food is a tool that helps to accelerate collective learning, helps us to learn about our mistakes, to better focus our strategies and to succeed in the fight against poverty. The Right to food is much more today than just a symbol. It is much more than just a legal commitment. It is an operational tool that can improve significantly our work towards sustainable development and against poverty and food insecurity.”

Following the video message from de Schutter, the High Level Panel will focus on the role of the EU Institutions and its member states in building a comprehensive strategy to guarantee the Right to food in the future overarching post-2015 framework. Debates will include discussions on how to ensure an increased global sustainable food production system that eradicates hunger to attempt to influence the negotiation process of the new policy framework that will guide the next decade, including good practices from the field and experts on the Right to food that will improve the provision of daily nutritional requirements for all.