On 26 March 2008, the UN Human Rights Council approved the President's proposal to appoint Prof. Olivier De Schutter the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Prof. De Schutter thus succeeds to Prof. Jean Ziegler, who had been holding this mandate since 2000.
Under the terms of the resolution it adopted on the mandate on 26 September 2007 (A/HRC/6/L.5/Rev.1), the Special Rapporteur is expected :
- To promote the full realization of the right to food and the adoption of measures at the national, regional and international levels for the realization of the right of everyone 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;
- To examine ways and means of overcoming existing and emerging obstacles to the realization of the right to food;
- To continue mainstreaming a gender perspective and taking into account an age dimension in the fulfilment of the mandate, considering that women and children are disproportionately affected by hunger, food insecurity and poverty;
- To submit proposals that could help the realization of Millennium Development Goal No. 1 to halve by the year 2015 the proportion of people who suffer from hunger, as well as to realize the right to food, in particular, taking into account the role of international assistance and cooperation in reinforcing national actions to implement sustainable food security policies;
- To present recommendations on possible steps with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the right to food, including steps to promote the conditions for everyone to be free from hunger and as soon as possible enjoy fully the right to food, taking into account lessons learnt in the implementation of national plans to combat hunger;
- To work in close cooperation with all States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as with other relevant actors representing the broadest possible range of interests and experiences, within their respective mandates, to take fully into account the need to promote the effective realization of the right to food for all, including in the ongoing negotiations in different fields;
- To continue participating in and contributing to relevant international conferences and events with the aim of promoting the realization of the right to food.
The Special Rapporteur is expected to report both to the UN General Assembly (Third Committee) and to the Human Rights Council on the fulfilment of the mandate. Contributions by all the stakeholders on the different issues mentioned above are welcomed. In addition to addressing structural issues threatening the full enjoyment of the right to food, the Special Rapporteur may send communications to governments, called letters of allegation, in urgent cases brought to his attention by reliable sources.
A fuller description of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur can be found on the relevant page of the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.