United Nations


General Assembly

Distr.: General

5 April 2019

Original: English

Human Rights Council

Fortieth session

25 February–22 March 2019

Agenda item 3

Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council on 21 March 2019

40/7.The right to food

The Human Rights Council,

Recalling all previous resolutions of the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council on the right to food, and all resolutions of the Commission on Human Rights on the issue,

Recalling also Human Rights Council resolutions 5/1, on institution-building of the Human Rights Council, and 5/2, on the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate Holders of the Council, of 18 June 2007, and stressing that all mandate holders shall discharge their duties in accordance with those resolutions and the annexes thereto,

Recalling further the seventh special session of the Human Rights Council, at which the Council analysed the negative impact of the worsening world food crisis on the realization of the right to food for all, and Council resolutions S-7/1 of 22 May 2008, 9/6 of 18 September 2008 and 12/10 of 1 October 2009,

Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for his or her health and well-being, including food, the Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition, the United Nations Millennium Declaration, in particular Millennium Development Goal 1 on eradicating extreme poverty and hunger by 2015, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular the Sustainable Development Goals on ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture and on ending poverty in all its forms everywhere,

Recalling also 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,

Bearing in mind the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action, adopted at the World Food Summit in November 1996, the Declaration of the World Food Summit: five years later, adopted on 13 June 2002, and the Declaration of the World Summit on Food Security, adopted on 16 November 2009,

Recalling the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and its Framework for Action, adopted at the second International Conference on Nutrition, held in Rome on 21 November 2014,

Acknowledging that the right to food has been recognized as the right of every individual, alone or in community with others, to have physical and economic access at all times to sufficient, adequate and nutritious food, in conformity with, inter alia, the culture, beliefs, traditions, dietary habits and preferences of individuals, and that is produced and consumed sustainably, thereby preserving access to food for future generations,

Reaffirming the Five Rome Principles for Sustainable Global Food Security contained in the Declaration of the World Summit on Food Security,

Reaffirming also that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated, and that they must be treated globally, in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing and with the same emphasis,

Reaffirming further that a peaceful, stable and enabling political, social and economic environment at both the national and international levels is the essential foundation that will enable States to give adequate priority to food security and poverty eradication,

Determined to take new steps forward in the commitment of the international community with a view to achieving substantial progress in the realization of the right to food through an increased and sustained effort of international cooperation and solidarity, with a view to building a community of shared future for humanity,

Reiterating, as in the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the Declaration of the World Food Summit: five years later, that food should not be used as an instrument of political or economic pressure, and reaffirming in this regard the importance of international cooperation and solidarity, and the necessity of refraining from unilateral measures that are not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations and that endanger food and nutrition 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 on World Food Security and the World Food Summit 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,

Reaffirming that food security is a national responsibility, and that any plan for addressing food security challenges must be nationally articulated, designed, owned and led, and built on consultation with all key stakeholders, and recognizing the commitment to strengthening the multilateral system in the channelling of resources and in the promotion of policies dedicated to fighting hunger and malnutrition,

Recognizing the complex character of food insecurity and its likely recurrence owing to a combination of several major factors, such as the effects of the global financial and economic crisis, environmental degradation, desertification and the impact of global climate change, as well as poverty, natural disasters, armed conflicts, drought, volatility in commodity prices and the lack in many countries of the appropriate technology, investment and capacity-building necessary to confront its impact, particularly in developing countries, least developed countries and small island developing States, and the need for coherence and collaboration between international institutions at the global level,

Recognizing also the need to urgently assist some African countries that are facing drought, starvation and famine threats that could affect millions of people, most of whom are women and children, who risk losing their lives,

Resolved to act to ensure that the promotion, protection and fulfilment of all human rights is taken into account at the national, regional and international levels in measures to address the realization of the right to food,

Expressing its deep concern at the number and scale of human-made and natural disasters, diseases and pest infestations, as well as the negative impact of climate change, and their increasing impact in recent years, which have, in combination with other factors, resulted in substantial loss of life and livelihood and threatened agricultural production and food and nutrition security, in particular in developing countries,

Stressing the need to increase official development assistance devoted to agriculture, both in real terms and as a share of total official development assistance, and recognizing that small and medium-sized farmers in developing countries need to receive technical, technology transfer and capacity-building support,

Stressing also the importance of the second International Conference on Nutrition, hosted by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome from 19 to 21 November 2014, at which the two main outcome documents, namely, the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and the Framework for Action, were endorsed,

Recognizing the importance of the protection and preservation of agrobiodiversity in guaranteeing food security and the right to food for all,

Recognizing also the role of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as the key United Nations agency for rural and agricultural development and its work in supporting the efforts of Member States to achieve the full realization of the right to food, including through its provision of technical assistance to developing countries in support of the implementation of national priority frameworks,

Recalling General Assembly resolution 70/1 of 25 September 2015, entitled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, in which the Assembly adopted a comprehensive far-reaching and people-centred set of universal and transformative Sustainable Development Goals and targets and expressed its commitment to working tirelessly for the full implementation of the Agenda by 2030, and recognizing that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals can help to ensure the end of hunger in all its forms by 2030 and to achieve food security,

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 levels for its elimination;

2.Also reaffirms the right of everyone to have access to safe, sufficient 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 to fully develop and maintain his or her physical and mental capacities;

3.Considers it intolerable that, as estimated by the United Nations Children’s Fund, nearly half of all deaths of children under the age of 5 are attributable to undernutrition, translating into the loss of about 3 million young lives a year, and that, as estimated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the number of people in the world affected by undernourishment or chronic food deprivation increased to nearly 821 million in 2017 – approximately one out of every nine people in the world – while, according to the Organization, the planet could produce enough food to feed everyone around the world;

4.Expresses its deep concern that, according to the publication entitled The State of Food Insecurity and Nutrition in the World 2018: Building Climate Resilience for Food Security and Nutrition, the number of hungry people in the world is unacceptably on the rise and the vast majority of hungry people live in developing countries, and that, without increased efforts, there is a risk of falling far short of achieving the target of the Sustainable Development Goals on ending hunger by 2030;

5.Expresses its great concern that, while women contribute more than 50 per cent of the food produced worldwide, they also account for 70 per cent of the world’s hungry, that women and girls are disproportionately affected by hunger, food insecurity and poverty, in part as a result of gender inequality and discrimination, that in many countries girls are twice as likely as boys to die from malnutrition and preventable childhood diseases, and that it is estimated that almost twice as many women as men suffer from malnutrition;

6.Encourages all States to mainstream a gender perspective in food security programmes and to take action to address de jure and de facto gender inequality and discrimination against women, in particular where such inequality and discrimination contribute to the malnutrition of women and girls, including by taking measures to ensure the full and equal realization of the right to food and ensuring that women and girls have equal access to social protection and resources, including income, land and water, and their ownership, and full and equal access to health care, education, science and technology, to enable them to feed themselves and their families, and in this regard stresses the need to empower women and to strengthen their role in decision-making;

7.Recognizes the importance of smallholder and subsistence farmers and peasants in developing countries, including women and local and indigenous communities, in ensuring food security, reducing poverty and preserving ecosystems, and the need to assist their development;

8.Encourages the Special Rapporteur on the right to food to continue to mainstream a gender perspective in the fulfilment of her mandate, and encourages the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and all other United Nations bodies and mechanisms that address the right to food and food insecurity to integrate and effectively implement a gender perspective in their relevant policies, programmes and activities regarding access to food;

9.Reaffirms the need to ensure that programmes delivering safe, sufficient, nutritious and culturally accepted food are inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities;

10.Encourages States to promote the conditions for everyone to be free from hunger and, as soon as possible, to enjoy fully the right to food, and, where appropriate, to consider establishing appropriate institutional mechanisms and adopting national plans to combat hunger;

11.Recognizes the advances made through South-South cooperation in developing countries and regions in connection with food security and the development of agricultural production for the full realization of the right to food;

12.Also recognizes the importance of traditional sustainable agricultural practices, inter alia, traditional seed supply systems, including for many indigenous peoples and local communities;

13.Stresses that the primary responsibility of States is to promote and protect the right to food, and that the international community should provide, through a coordinated response and upon request, international cooperation in support of national and regional efforts by providing the assistance necessary to increase food production and access to food, particularly through agricultural development assistance, the transfer of technology, food crop rehabilitation assistance and food aid, achieving food security, with special attention paid to the specific needs of women and girls, and promoting support for the development of adapted technologies, research on rural advisory services and support for access to financing services, and to ensure support for the establishment of secure land tenure systems;

14.Calls upon States, individually and through international cooperation and assistance, relevant multilateral institutions and other relevant stakeholders to take all the measures necessary to ensure the realization of the right to food as an essential human rights objective, and to consider reviewing any policy or measure that could have a negative impact on the realization of the right to food, particularly the right of everyone to be free from hunger, before instituting such a policy or measure;

15.Recalls the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and acknowledges that many indigenous organizations and representatives of indigenous peoples have expressed in different forums their deep concern over the obstacles and challenges to the full enjoyment of the right to food that indigenous peoples face, and calls upon States to take action to address those obstacles and challenges and the continuous discrimination against indigenous peoples;

16.Recognizes the contributions of peasants and other people working in rural areas in all regions of the world to development and in ensuring the right to food and food security, which are fundamental to attaining the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;

17.Welcomes the outcome document of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, held on 22 and 23 September 2014, and the commitment to developing, in conjunction with the indigenous peoples concerned and where appropriate, policies, programmes and resources to support indigenous peoples’ occupations, traditional subsistence activities, economies, livelihoods, food security and nutrition;

18.Requests all States, private actors, international organizations and agencies, within their respective mandates, to take fully into account the need to promote the effective realization of the right to food for all;

19.Recognizes the need to strengthen national commitments and international assistance, upon the request of and in cooperation with affected countries, towards the full realization and protection of the right to food, and in particular to develop national protection mechanisms for people forced to leave their homes and land because of hunger or humanitarian emergencies affecting the enjoyment of the right to food;

20.Stresses that all States should make every effort to ensure that their international policies of a political and economic nature, including international trade agreements, do not have a negative impact on the right to food in other countries;

21.Also stresses the importance of international cooperation and development assistance as an effective contribution to both the expansion and improvement of agriculture and its environmental sustainability, and the provision of humanitarian food assistance in activities relating to emergency situations for the realization of the right to food and the achievement of sustainable food security, while recognizing that each State has the primary responsibility for ensuring the implementation of national programmes and strategies in this regard;

22.Invites all relevant international organizations, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, to avoid any actions that could have a negative impact on the realization of the right to food;

23.Encourages the Special Rapporteur to continue her collaboration with relevant international organizations and United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, in order to contribute to ensuring that the right to food is promoted further within these organizations, in accordance with their respective mandates, including for the advancement of smallholders and agricultural workers in both developing and least developed countries;

24.Takes note with appreciation of the report of the Special Rapporteur;

25.Decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a period of three years to enable the mandate holder to continue to work in accordance with the mandate established by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 6/2 of 27 September 2007;

26.Requests the Special Rapporteur to participate in relevant international dialogues and policy forums relating to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, paying particular attention to Sustainable Development Goal 2 in respect of achieving zero hunger;

27.Requests the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to provide all the human and financial resources necessary for the continuation of the effective fulfilment of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur;

28.Calls upon all Governments to cooperate with and assist the Special Rapporteur in her task by supplying all necessary information requested by the mandate holder, and to give serious consideration to responding favourably to the requests of the Special Rapporteur to visit their countries to enable her to fulfil the mandate more effectively;

29.Invites Governments, relevant United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, treaty bodies, civil society actors, including non-governmental organizations, and the private sector to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur in the fulfilment of the mandate through, inter alia, the submission of comments and suggestions on ways and means of realizing the right to food;

30.Requests the Special Rapporteur to report annually on the implementation of the mandate to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly in accordance with their respective programmes of work;

31.Decides to continue its consideration of this matter under the same agenda item at its forty-third session.

52nd meeting 21 March 2019

[Adopted without a vote.]