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The Right to Food: A Global Overview

Listed author(s):
  • Susan Randolph

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Shareen Hertel

    (University of Connecticut)

Access to food is essential to human survival and the “right to food” is a fundamental human right whose fulfillment impinges on the realization of most other human rights. Yet the pervasiveness of human hunger worldwide starkly illustrates the ongoing failure to fulfill the "right to food." This chapter defines the right and analyzes its evolution in international human rights law. It then examines the extent to which commitments to respect, protect, and fulfill the right to food at the international and national levels are upheld in practice. The chapter finds that failure to fulfill the right to food in part reflects old challenges including the failure to integrate human rights law with the commitments, agendas, and laws governing international financial institutions, transnational corporations, trade agreements, and other aspects of the international economic governance architecture. Additionally, however, it reflects new challenges posed by climate change, increased meat consumption on the part of a growing global middle class, and the shift toward biofuel production.

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Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Human Rights Institute in its series Economic Rights Working Papers with number 19.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2012
Handle: RePEc:uct:ecriwp:19
Note: We gratefully acknowledge the support of NSF grant # 1061457 in the preparation of this article. A revised version of this paper will appear in: Minkler, L. (Ed), 2012. The State of Economic and Social Human Rights: A Global Overview, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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