How far are land rights and the right to food connected?
Land rights are crucial to ensuring access to productive resources, which in turn is tremendously important for the realization of the right to food. Unfortunately, hundreds of millions of farmers cultivate plots that are frequently very small, and are often relegated to soils that are arid, hilly or without irrigation. Land ownership and usage are often subject to an array of local laws and codes, making peasant farmers vulnerable to restrictions on their activities and, in some cases, evictions.
The existing international “land rights” framework is poorly implemented and requires clarifications to ensure the realization of the right to food. In light of increasing commercial pressures on land, the Special Rapporteur made land issues a priority in his mandate. The eleven human rights-based principles and measures to ensure the right to food in the context of increasing numbers of large-scale transnational land investments he presented in 2009 continue to remain a reference in this debate. The Special Rapporteur also presented a report on the relationship between access to land and the right to food to the UN General Assembly in 2010, and he recently suggested the right to food as a basic principle in the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests, which should be agreed upon in 2012.
The food and economic crises have sparked new trends and have increased existing commercial pressures on land (including speculation, ‘land grabs’ for export food production, and agrofuels). Moreover, the existing « land rights » framework is poorly implemented and requires clarifications to ensure the realization of the right to food. The Special Rapporteur currently works with international organizations, including the OECD-Club du Sahel et de l'Afrique de l'Ouest, on the operationalization of the principles he issued in June 2009. He also collaborates with research teams from Columbia University and New York University on issues of land rights and large-scale land investments.
|Read||27/06/2012: The SR's Contribution to the workshop of the Open Ended Working Group on principles for responsible agricultural investments.|
|Read||23/05/2012, Geneva: South-East Asia / Agrofuel: UN rights experts raise alarm on land development mega-projects|
|Read||24/10/2011, New York: “Farmers must not be disempowered labourers on their own land” - UN right to food expert|
|Read||24/10/2011: “Towards more equitable value chains: alternative business models in support of the right to food”, Report presented at the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly [A/66/262] (also available in French, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and Russian).|
|Read||03/10/2011, Geneva: “Vulnerable land users must be protected by international guidelines” - UN expert urges Rome summit|
|Read||Comments on the Zero Draft of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests, 16 May 2011.|
|Read||"How Not to Think About Land Grabbing", Op-Ed by the UN Special Rapporteur published by The International Land Coalition (www.commercialpressuresonland.org), 12 January 2011>|
|Read||"Access to Land and the Right to Food", Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food presented at the 65th General Assembly of the United Nations [A/65/281], 21 October 2010.|
|Read||Background Paper, A review of submissions received (12/2009-03/2010) and of Letters of Allegation and Urgent Appeals sent between 2003 and 2009 by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, October 2010.|
|Read||Statement, Presentation of the Report "Access to Land and the Right to Food" at the 65th General Assembly of the United Nations, 21 October 2010.|
|Read||"Responsibly Destroying the World's Peasantry", Op-Ed by the UN Special Rapporteur published by The Project Syndicate (www.project-syndicate.org), 4 June 2010|
|Read||"Principles for responsible investment in agriculture", keynote address at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Commission on Investment, Enterprise and Development, 26 April 2010|
|Read||Report "Large-scale land acquisitions and leases: a set of minimum principles and measures to address the human rights challenge" presented to the Human Rights Council [A/HRC/13/33/Add.2], March 2010|
|Read||Statement 'Large-scale land acquisitions and leases: a set of core principles and measures to address the human rights challenge' (June 2009)|
|Read||Contribution for the 17th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-17) “The right to food and a sustainable global food system”, 4-15 May 2009, New York (May 2009)|