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Food: it’s a human right

A bowl of sheer khurma to round off an Eid meal. A piping hot turkey on the table at Christmas. Pan de muerto to remember loved ones who are no longer with us. Food is an integral part of many traditions, cultures and religions and, for many across the world, it is pleasure. But it’s much more than that: food is a necessity and a human right.

In 1966, the Right to Food was enshrined in international law in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Generally understood as the right to feed oneself in dignity, it is more than just freedom from hunger; it is the idea that everyone, everywhere should have access to an adequate, nutritious diet: one that is accessible without going to great lengths to obtain it, one that is affordable, meaning that families do not having to sacrifice other basic needs to buy it, and one that is both nutritious and in line with religious and cultural customs.

Over the last decades, FAO has supported nations to commit to and implement this important goal and a number of countries have developed and implemented constitutional amendments, national laws, strategies, policies and programmes that aim to ensure the right to food.

Despite the progress made over the past 25 years, today about one in every nine people in the world still suffers from hunger. The COVID-19 crisis has fuelled poverty, exacerbated inequalities and widened gaps in the application of human rights. We must ensure that the progress made in ensuring the Right to Food does not lose ground, especially during this difficult time.

FAO’s work on the Right to Food continues to be one of our top priorities to ensure that food is accessible, affordable and adequate for everyone in the world.


Publication: Voluntary guidelines to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security --

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