Newsletter 12 March 2012

Here is the latest news from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter. You will find more information on our website.

In the spotlight

‘Obesogenic’ food systems must be reformed

“The West is exporting diabetes and heart disease to developing countries, along with the processed foods that line the shelves of global supermarkets,” warned the Special Rapporteur, calling for an urgent response to the public health disaster of poor nutrition.

On March 6th the UN expert presented an official report, entitled ‘The right to an adequate diet: the agriculture-food-health nexus’ to the UN Human Rights Council.

Instead of medicalizing diets, we must tackle the systemic problems that generate poor nutrition in all its forms, he urged, calling for the taxation of unhealthy products, regulation of foods high in saturated fats, salt and sugar and the way they are marketed, reform of wrong-headed agricultural subsidies, and support for local food systems.

Read the press release or the report and recommendations.



“Unfinished progress”
– UN expert examines food systems in emerging countries


[8 March 2012] GENEVA – “The food systems of emerging countries are at a major crossroads. Millions of people have been lifted out of poverty, yet whole communities have been left behind,” warned Olivier De Schutter, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, after presenting his reports* on China, Mexico and South Africa to the Human Rights Council.

“As many as 19 million Mexicans and 12 million South Africans remain food insecure, and China’s rural dwellers are up to six times poorer than urban populations,” the expert said, calling on emerging countries to act now to lay the foundations for fair and sustainable food systems by implementing the following actions:

Mr. De Schutter urged emerging economies to protect the rights of land users, especially minority and vulnerable groups, and to establish in law the right to food, so it can be rapidly translated it into national strategies and institutions. He also advised supporting smallholder agriculture in the face of mega-development projects, and stopping soil and water degradation through a massive shift to agroecological practices. Likewise, the UN expert suggested the adoption of a strategy to tackle rising obesity.

Read more…

“Emerging countries face the huge task of feeding fast-growing populations whose increasing wealth is exerting new pressures on scant resources. They must secure and strengthen their food production bases as a matter of urgency; and they will only do so by working with farmers and their organizations, rather than against them,” he urged.


(*)Check the reports: China, Mexico and South Africa.