Food First Information and Action Network
FIAN - formerly, FoodFirst Information and Action Network - FIAN International is now the official name of the organization.
FIAN is an international human rights organization that has advocated for the realization of the right to food for more than 25 years. FIAN consists of national sections and individual members in over 50 countries around the world. FIAN is a not-for-profit organization without any religious or political affiliation and has consultative status to the United Nations.
FIAN’s mission is to expose violations of people's right to food wherever they may occur. The organization stands up against unjust and oppressive practices that prevent people from feeding themselves. The struggle against gender discrimination and other forms of exclusion is integral part of its mission. It strives to secure people's access to the resources that they need in order to feed themselves, now and in the future.
FIAN analyzes and documents concrete cases of violations of the right to food. The organization raises awareness on the right to food among social movements, non-governmental organisations and governmental bodies and responds to requests from victim groups whose right to food is threatened or has been violated and mobilise support. With protest letter campaigns, advocacy and recourse to the law, FIAN exerts public pressure in order to hold governments accountable for violations of the right to food. FIAN follows up on cases until the victims get appropriate redress. Within the United Nations system and other legal regimes, the organization advocates respect of human rights in order to strengthen and improve the international human rights protection.
FIAN’s vision is a world free from hunger, in which every woman, man and child can fully enjoy their human rights in dignity, particularly the right to adequate food, as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments.
FIAN is an international membership based organisation. FIAN's institutional members are its national sections which are legal entities in their own right and have their own membership and elected decision-making bodies.
Current sections of FIAN can be found in some 20 countries, for updates look at Worldwide.
The overall mission, vision and the strategy of FIAN is defined and revised by the International Council (IC), and represented by delegates of the sections who meet once in two years. The IC elects the International Executive Committee (IEC), which is headed by the president, and supervises the implementation of FIAN’s strategic plans. The IEC meets bi-annually to review and strategize FIAN programs, methods and budgets. The operative working unit being in charge of the execution of FIAN’s programs is its International Secretariat (IS) located in Heidelberg (Germany) and Geneva (Switzerland), and coordinated by the Secretary General.
FIAN uses various working tools to achieve the realization of the right to adequate food.
Case-work and Interventions
At international Fact Finding Missions, FIAN identifies and addresses human rights violations. FIAN interviews people threatened or affected by violations of their right to food and verifies the facts of a situation. Face-to-face contacts to local counterparts are established and serve as a basis for trustful co-operation. On request of those affected, FIAN reacts quickly, analyses the case and mobilises members and supporters worldwide to send out Urgent Action protest letters. Violations are also followed-up in long-term case-work by local FIAN action groups. In close co-operation with the affected communities, FIAN persistently approaches the responsible authorities and identifies breaches of right to food obligations. FIAN’s analysis is based on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as interpreted in the UN General Comments, in particular General Comment 12 on the right to adequate food. Existing recourse mechanisms and legal remedies under national and international human rights law are applied to provide redress to the victims.
Lobby and Advocacy
Reliable contacts and networks, a sound documentation of cases and two decades of experience provide a solid basis for effective lobbying and advocating the right to food. FIAN holds states, international institutions and private actors accountable at the national and international levels. The Right to Food Guidelines adopted by the FAO in 2004 is one of the tools FIAN uses to monitor states’ right to food policies. FIAN tries to improve the existing right to food protection system and to establish new instruments. Intense follow-up work strives to secure the effective implementation of existing instruments, making the right to food politically and judicially enforceable everywhere for everyone.
Information and Education
Targeted information campaigns and awareness-raising on the right to food are at the core of FIAN’s work - to empower social movements and non-governmental organizations to hold states accountable for violations of the right to food, to clarify for governments and other duty-bearers the content and implementation needs of their obligations, and to motivate supporters from civil society to join action against human rights violations. The systematic information gathered from more than 400 individual cases over the past two decades is analyzed and fed into various professional publications.
FIAN was involved prominently in the development of the human rights protection system, for instance in the strengthened procedure of State’s and parallel reporting on economic, social, and cultural human rights in the UN human rights system; the elaboration of the UN General Comment No. 12 on the Right to Food in 1999 as the most authoritative legal interpretation of the right to food in international law; and the adoption of the “Voluntary Guidelines on the Right to Food” by the FAO member states in 2004.
FIAN’s commitment was awarded internationally:
Public Eye on Davos - Positive Award: In 2006, FIAN International together with two partners won the Public Eye on Davos - Positive Award, which is given every year on the occasion of the World Economic Forum in Davos, for their commitment in favour of the rights of workers of the Mexican tyre factory Euzkadi.
Silver Rose Award: In 2005, two staff members of the FIAN Section Germany received the Silver Rose Award for their commitment for the rights of workers in the flower industry, the participation in the development of the International Code of Conduct for the Production of Cut flowers (ICC) and its successful implementation in the framework of the Flower Label Programm (FLP).