The right to food

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1997/8


The Commission on Human Rights,

Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food,

Recalling also the Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition,

Taking into account the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in which the fundamental right of every person to be free from hunger is recognized,

Considering the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the Plan of Action of the World Food Summit held in Rome from 13 to 17 November 1996,

Recognizing that the problems of hunger and food insecurity have global dimensions and that they are likely to persist and even to increase dramatically in some regions, unless urgent, determined and concerted action is taken, given the anticipated increase in the world's population and the stress on natural resources,

Reaffirming that a peaceful, stable and enabling political, social and economic environment is the essential foundation which will enable States to give adequate priority to food security and poverty eradication,

Reiterating, as did the Rome Declaration, that food should not be used as an instrument of political and economic pressure, and reaffirming in this regard the importance of international cooperation and solidarity as well as the necessity of refraining from unilateral measures not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations and that endanger food security,

Convinced that each State must adopt a strategy consistent with its resources and capacities to achieve its individual goals in implementing the recommendations contained in the Rome Declaration and Plan of Action and, at the same time, cooperate regionally and internationally in order to organize collective solutions to global issues of food security in a world of increasingly interlinked institutions, societies and economies, where coordinated efforts and shared responsibilities are essential,

1. Reaffirms that hunger constitutes an outrage and a violation of human dignity and, therefore, requires the adoption of urgent measures at the national, regional and international level for its elimination;

2. Also reaffirms the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food, consistent with the right to adequate food and the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger so as to be able fully to develop and maintain their physical and mental capacities;

3. Considers intolerable that more than 800 million people throughout the world, and particularly in developing countries, do not have enough food to meet their basic nutritional needs, which infringes their fundamental human rights;

4. Stresses the need to make efforts to mobilize and optimize the allocation and utilization of technical and financial resources, from all sources, including external debt relief for developing countries, to reinforce national actions to implement sustainable food security policies;

5. Encourages the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to pay further attention in its activities to those rights recognized in article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

6. Endorses the request made in the World Food Summit Plan of Action to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in consultation with relevant treaty bodies, and in collaboration with relevant specialized agencies and programmes of the United Nations system and appropriate intergovernmental mechanisms, as well as non-governmental organizations, to define better the rights related to food in article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and to propose ways to implement and realize those rights as a means of achieving the commitments and objectives of the World Food Summit, taking into account the possibility of formulating voluntary guidelines for food security for all;

7. Invites the High Commissioner for Human Rights to report on the implementation of the present resolution to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-fourth session.

36th meeting
3 April 1997

[Adopted without a vote. See chap. V.]


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