Archive

Rural Economic Development, Volume 13 No 2/2006

Voluntary Guidelines on the Right to Food

The right to food - A new legal instrument is created

In November 2004, after a two-year drafting process, the FAO Council adopted the Voluntary Guidelines on the right to food - in effect, a new legal instrument for defending and enforcing the right to food.This article addresses the following questions:
What will this instrument be capable of achieving? Will the effort expended in creating the Guidelines prove to have been worthwhile? And, finally, will the implementation of this new approach to human rights contribute towards reducing the numbers of people suffering from hunger?
 
Michael Windfuhr
FIAN International e.V.
Heidelberg, Germany
Windfuhr(at)fian.org

The complex negotiations on the human right to food: «The birth of a zebra»

Negotiations to establish a set of Voluntary Guidelines on the human right to food, held under the auspices of FAO, were successfully completed in autumn 2004, with all 174 FAO member countries signing the final document. However, the negotiations proved to be far from straightforward, as many countries were anxious about the legally binding nature of the Guidelines. In spite of this, those involved managed to reach a compromise that was acceptable to all parties and yet retain the rights-based character of the Guidelines, thus enabling them to be adopted within a relatively short space of time.
 
Andreas von Brandt,MA, LLM
Federal Foreign Office - German Embassy Islamabad
Berlin, Germany
pr-1(at)isla.auswaertiges-amt.de

The Voluntary Guidelines on the right to food: Commitment to a human rights approach.

The Voluntary Guidelines on the human right to food provide a further instrument of international law in the fight against world hunger.The Guidelines promise to be a powerful new weapon in combating malnutrition.They forge an alliance between development policy and human rights in the struggle for the right to food. The «human rights approach» has become the new watchword in the fight against hunger.
 
Sven Söllner
University of Mannheim
Mannheim, Germany
Soellner(at)uni-mannheim.de

Putting the Right to Adequate. Food into practice - concepts and lessons.

The Voluntary Guidelines to support the Progressive Realisation of the Right to Food have served the very useful purpose of placing the right to food squarely on the international development policy agenda.To avoid practice lagging behind theory, concerted efforts are required by governments, development agencies and donors to implement these Guidelines to accelerate the realisation of the right to food at country level. Lessons learned from such learning by doing will help show how to put the right to food into practice.
 
Prof Dr Hartwig de Haen
Hartwig.DeHaen(at)fao.org
Assistant Director General

Dr Julian Thomas
Right to Food Coordinator - Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations - FAO
Rome, Italy
Julian.Thomas(at)fao.org

Strength in unity- Poverty reduction strategies and the right to food.

A lot is expected of poverty reduction strategies, and high hopes have been placed in the Voluntary Guidelines on the right to food. One question frequently raised is whether it is possible to integrate the right to food into the established instrument of poverty reduction strategies.The present article discusses to what extent the two approaches can mesh to make a significant contribution to hunger reduction.
 
Dr Hans-Joachim Preuss
Secretary General German Agro Action (Deutsche Welthungerhilfe)
Bonn, Germany
Hans-Joachim.Preuss(at)dwhh.de

Implementing the Voluntary Guidelines: challenges and options

Following unanimous approval of the Voluntary Guidelines (VGs) on the Right to Adequate Food by FAO member states, with civil society's broad support, the question of «next steps» arises. To explore how to put this important new tool to use, the German government, with support from FAO and German NGOs, organized its fourth International Workshop on «Policies Against Hunger», held in June 2005 in Berlin.
 
Marc J. Cohen
Research Fellow - International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
M.J.Cohen(at)cgiar.org

The Indian Supreme Court acknowledges the Right to Food as a Human Right

Life without liberty would result in some or the other form of slavery. Liberty cannot be there to a person having an empty stomach.The individual's right to life will have no meaning if the State fails to provide adequate food or food articles.The Indian Constitution provides «right to life» as a Fundamental
Right.That right is given a wide interpretation by the Supreme Court so as to include «right to food» so that democracy and full freedom can be achieved and slavery in any form is avoided.
 
Justice M.B. Shah
President - National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
Janpath, New Delhi, India

Fragile States

Fragile states from the perspective of rural communities

Fragile states, posing a major challenge of our times, are increasingly becoming a focus of attention in international politics and development cooperation. But very often, the viewpoint of the people affected by fragile statehood is not sufficiently heard. Parts of the international community prioritize their own security policy interests, the motto being the «war on terrorism». People in fragile states, by contrast, are primarily concerned with their own survival and the quest for development opportunities for themselves and their communities.
 
Dr Armin K. Nolting
Armin.Nolting(at)gtz.de

Dr Roman Poeschke
Roman.Poeschke(at)gtz.de
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH
Eschborn, Germany

Why do states collapse, and what exactly happens?

Interest in the notion of «state failure» has seen a dramatic upsurge in recent years. As a rule, changes in global framework conditions are held responsible for this decrease in state control and legitimacy. But the prominence of this topic in the international debate easily overlooks the fact that the phenomenon of failing states is not new, but has existed since the division of the world into nation-states. Moreover, it is almost impossible to establish a uniform pattern of state failure. Nonetheless, specific functional, institutional and territorial deficits are characteristic of failed states.
 
Dr Conrad Schetter
Senior Research Fellow
Governance and Conflict Research Group Center for Development Research
Bonn, Germany
c.schetter(at)uni-bonn.de

Country Study 1: Afghanistan - A state in upheaval.

Until 1978, the Afghan state was weak but stable. In contrast, rural regulatory structures that complemented the state have always been strong. It was only the attempt to establish a strong state on the basis of foreign ideologies and military over the heads of the rural population that ultimately led to chaos and collapse.Whereas the central state sometimes broke down, many state
institutions in the provinces demonstrated remarkable resilience, leading to a definite nation-state consciousness throughout large sections of the population.
 
Dr Bernt Glatzer
Capacity Building International, Germany (InWEnt)
Development Cooperation Training Centre, Bad Honnef, Germany
bernt.glatzer(at)inwent.org

Country Study 2: Somalia - no central government, but still functioning.

Somalia is the longest known case in modern times of a country whose central state has ceased to exist for many years. Although Somalia is often said to be a country in chaos and anarchy, a new form of social organization emerged here some time ago. Indeed, many Somalis appear to have adapted well to their country's statelessness.
 
Jutta Bakonyi
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH Improvement of Farming Systems
Project in Bay & Bakool Region, Somalia - GTZ International Services
Nairobi, Kenya
Jutta.bakonyi(at)gtz.de

Dr Ahmed Abdullahi
GTZ International Services Afrique de l'Ouest
Dakar, Sénégal
ahmed.abdullahi(at)gtz.de

Country Study 3: Sierra Leone - a state on the move.

After ten years of civil war in which grave human rights violations and atrocities were committed, especially against women and children, Sierra Leone was regarded as a «failed state». A massive UN peacekeeping mission managed to demobilize the combatants in 2002 and peace was restored. Public institutions have begun to resume their functions and the economy is showing signs of recovery. Nonetheless, the country's stability and structures are still fragile. So how can development cooperation contribute towards stabilizing Sierra Leone?
 
Dr Nicole Rudner
Freelance consultant
Berlin, Germany
nicole.rudner(at)t-online.de

Fragile states: What can we learn from the country studies?

Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Somalia: these three countries stand for different histories of a fragile state.The author of this article analyses different case studies to determine the various causes, such as the role of ethnic identities, claims to power by clans and other sub-state groups, or the lack of societal representation within the governments. For the author, the greatest risk to a state is violence, which can quickly spiral out of control in a weak state and lead to chaos.
 
Dr Jochen Hippler

Institute for Development and Peace (INEF)
Duisburg, Germany
post(at)Jochen-Hippler.de

External action to overcome fragile structures: What can development policy achieve?

Development policy has to deal with the full spectrum of fragility in developing countries, which can range from individual deficits, for example in guaranteeing security, to the total collapse of state structures.The scope available to development policy and other external actors is always limited. Nevertheless, starting points are often on hand to achieve some measure
of stability and help overcome weak state structures.
 
Dr Stephan Klingebiel
German Development Institute (GDI)
Bonn, Germany
Stephan.Klingebiel(at)die-gdi.de

Urban-Rural Linkages

The urban transition: challenges and opportunities

Urbanisation and economic transformation - the growth of non-farm, industrial and service sectors - offer many opportunities for improvements in poor people's lives.The crucial challenge is to ensure that places work better for people, providing an enabling and supporting environment for changing livelihoods and economies. But all too often there is a failure to recognise and manage the urban transition, resulting in the continuing urbanisation of poverty, vulnerability
and exclusion.
 
Jane Hobson and Rachel Phillipson
Urban Rural Change Team Department for International Development - DFID
London, United Kingdom
Jane.Hobson(at)dfid.gov.uk

The links between urban and rural prosperity in low- and middle-income nations. Cities benefit from a prosperous agriculture.

Although «urban» and «rural» development are often considered as in opposition to each other and seen as competing with each other for investment and support, many urban centres owe much of their economic base to agriculture. Ironically, one of the best tests of whether rural development is working is whether local urban centres are booming - as increasing agricultural output is served by markets and producer services there, and as real increases in income for a wide range of rural households are reflected in increased demand for goods and services provided by urban-based enterprises.
 
David Satterthwaite
Cecilia Tacoli
International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
London, United Kingdom
David(at)iied.org

Rural-urban links, seasonal migration and poverty reduction in Asia. The role of circular migration in economic growth.

Rural livelihoods are far more multi-locational than is often assumed with many rural people spending a part of the year outside the village working in non-farm occupations. Contrary to early theory, persistent circular or seasonal migration within countries or between neighbouring countries is emerging as the migration pattern of the poor. Nowhere is this more evident than in Asia.
 
Priya Deshingkar
Overseas Development Institute
London, United Kingdom
PDeshingkar(at)odi.org.uk

Urban and rural areas: A changing relationship.

The relationship between urban and rural areas has undergone great change in recent years. It is now often difficult to clearly define the borders between the two; instead we find a continuum ranging from agricultural zones to suburbs, informal settlements and urban centers. But do countries and development cooperation policies have the instruments needed to promote a dynamic and balanced development of urban and rural areas and open up opportunities for the people who live there?
 
Angelika Hutter
Angelika.Hutter(at)gtz.de

Dr. Rainer Neidhardt
Rainer.Neidhardt(at)gtz.de
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH
Eschborn, Germany

Information and Communication Technologies ICTs: Giving ACP youth a voice.

For the first time in the recent history of rural development there is a possibility of creating an infrastructure that dramatically reduces the isolation of rural life. Although ICTs may seem a fragile basis on which to build far-reaching change, a meeting organized by CTA showed that they can speed up the exchange of knowledge and ideas between urban centres and rural communities. In countries struggling to maintain basic amenities, it is the towns that interface most closely with global society. Experiences from ACP countries confirm the strategic role ICTs can play in linking rural youth with the rapidly changing realities of modern life.
 
Judith Ann Francis
francis(at)cta.int
Dr Ibrahim Khadar,
khadar(at)cta.int
CTA - Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation Wageningen, The Netherlands

Rural-urban linkages in practice. Promoting agricultural value chains.

Agricultural value chains link urban consumption with rural production. Changing demand, as a consequence of urbanization, emergence of «modern» consumption patterns or new trends in international trade, impacts on rural areas along value chains and spills over to marketing and production systems.These rural urban linkages bear challenges but also mutual benefits for producers and consumers and can be promising entry points for development interventions.This is illustrated with the case of the Kenyan potato value chain.
 
Heike Höffler
Gladys Maingi
Promotion of Private Sector Development in Agriculture (PSDA)
GTZ / Ministry of Agriculture
Nairobi, Kenya
heike.hoeffler(at)gtz.de
g.maingi(at)gtzpsda.co.ke