Right to adequate food

The right to adequate food includes as much as the availability of food in quality and quantity to satisfy individual needs as the fact that these food are culturally acceptable. At the same time, it includes access to foods in ways that are sustainable and do not inflict on other human rights. 

The International Pact of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (PISDESC) recognizes with article 11 “the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions”. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR)has interpreted the content of this right as establishing the right to adequate food as inseparably linked to human dignity and requires the adoption of adequate economic, environmental and social policies in national and international planes. Additionally, the Committee establishes the necessity of ensuring access to food through the availability of sufficient income from access to productive resources (land, water, seeds, animals, fish etc.) o, if none of these options are possible, through a social safety net.

The standard principles about the right to adequate food are developed in the ICESCR’s article 11 and General Comment 12. In 2004, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations passed the “Voluntary Guidelines to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security”. These guidelines provided practical strategies to States for attaining the progressive realization of the right to food. At the regional level it is worth noting the European Social Charter’s Part II interpretation of Articles 4.1, 12, 13, 17 and 19, the Protocol of San Salvador- articles 11, 15.3(b) and 17(a) - and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights’ interpretation of articles 16 and 60.