Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition

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Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition
Signed 16 November 1974
Location Rome
Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition at Wikisource

The Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition was adopted on 16 November 1974, by governments who attended the 1974 World Food Conference that was convened under General Assembly resolution 3180 (XXVIII) of 17 December 1973.[1] It was later endorsed by General Assembly resolution 3348 (XXIX), of 17 December 1974.[2] This Declaration combined discussions of the international human right to adequate food and nutrition with an acknowledgement of the various economic and political issues that can affect the production and distribution of food related products.[3] Within this Declaration, it is recognised that it is the common purpose of all nations to work together towards eliminating hunger and malnutrition.[4] Further, the Declaration explains how the welfare of much of the world’s population depends on their ability to adequately produce and distribute food. In doing so, it emphasises the need for the international community to develop a more adequate system to ensure that the right to food for all persons is recognised. The opening paragraph of the Declaration, which remains to be the most recited paragraph of the Declaration today, reads:

“Every man, woman and child has the inalienable right to be free from hunger and malnutrition in order to develop fully and maintain their physical and mental faculties.”[5]

The Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition affirmed that it is a fundamental human right to be free from hunger and malnutrition, so that one can develop both their mental and physical faculties fully. This Declaration arose out of ever-growing concerns regarding worldwide famine, and in doing so, stressed that every country that is in a position to be able to assist developing nations to gain access to more, better quality food, has the responsibility to ensure that this right to food is realized.

History[edit]

Precursors[edit]

The prevalence of hunger and malnutrition is an issue that has long been of international concern. Although it has been accepted that obtaining exact statistics regarding world hunger is difficult, it is believed that in the early 1960s, there were approximately 900 million undernourished individuals worldwide.[6] The majority of these individuals were located in developing nations in the regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America. It is believed that today, one in every nine individuals do not have adequate access to food.[7] Hunger and malnutrition have now been identified as the cause of more deaths worldwide than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.[8] Today it is estimated that there are approximately 1.02 billion people across the world living in conditions of extreme hunger, 1 billion of whom live in developing countries.[9] Hunger and malnutrition have been of growing concern throughout the international community, despite a number of intervention attempts from the likes of States and non-government organisations. The right to food, for example, was asserted in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights(UDHR), and was again recognised in 1966 through Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Leading up to the drafting and formation of the Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition, the international community as a whole was becoming increasingly aware of the severity of the worldwide issue of hunger and malnutrition, and identified an immediate need for some form of action to combat this. This growing concern was an important factor leading to the first World Food Conference convening in Rome in 1974[10] in an attempt to uncover an adequate solution in order to combat this issue.

Adoption[edit]

Representatives from 135 countries attended the 1974 World Food Conference where this Declaration was adopted. As well as these State representatives, a number of libertarian movements, United Nations bodies and intergovernmental organisations were also present at this Conference. Representatives from the following countries were present for the formation of the Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition:[11]

Purpose[edit]

The Declaration itself identifies that the key purpose in its adoption was to develop more efficient ways for the international community as a whole, to take action to resolve the world hunger problem. It was further outlined that this Declaration was adopted to encourage and further develop international economic co-operation.[12] Ultimately, The Declaration sought to develop a series of ways that the international community in its entirety, could work towards combatting, and ultimately overcoming, the growing issue of hunger and malnutrition. The Declaration highlighted the urgency of attending to this matter and called for rapid and sustained action to bring an end to this menacing problem of world hunger.[13] Another crucial reason underlying the adoption of this Declaration was the need to remind the world’s population that freedom from hunger, and the right to food, is an inalienable human right that needs to be protected. It also sought to remind the world that the access to adequate food is an essential factor in the full development of an individual’s physical and mental faculties.

Structure[edit]

The Declaration in itself is 12 paragraphs. Many of these paragraphs have now been elaborated on in subsequent international human rights treaties and regional human rights instruments. Throughout these paragraphs, the intended purposes, functions and goals of this Declaration are set out. A number of these paragraphs are worth further consideration.

  • Paragraph A) brings attention to the grave nature of the international food crisis, and highlights the vast imbalance between the resources found in developing countries and those found in developed countries.
  • Paragraph C) recognises that this international food crises arose from various historical circumstances, such as colonisation and racial discrimination.
  • Paragraph D) expands on this point about historical circumstances and discusses how recent international economic crises have worked to further prolong and aggravate this problem.
  • Paragraph F) recognises that all countries, regardless of their size, population or economic status must be considered equal.
  • Paragraph I) identifies that any lasting solution to this food crises is also going to need to attempt to decrease the ever-growing gap between developed and developing countries, in order to bring about a “new international economic order."[14]
  • Paragraph K) of the Declaration recognises that developing countries are not always able to meet the food requirements of their people of their own merits, and therefore acknowledges that urgent and effective action needs to be taken by the international community, and this should be free from political pressures.[15]

Significance and Legal Effect[edit]

The following resolutions have since been adopted in the attempt to fulfil the purpose of The Declaration:[16]

  • Resolution I : Objectives and strategies of food production.
  • Resolution II : Priorities for agricultural and rural development.
  • Resolution III : Fertilizers
  • Resolution IV : Food and agricultural research, extension and training.
  • Resolution V : Policies and programmes to improve nutrition.
  • Resolution VI : World soil charter and land capability assessment.
  • Resolution VII : Scientific water management: irrigation, drainage and flood control.
  • Resolution VIII : Women and food.
  • Resolution IX : Achievement of a desirable balance between population and food supply.
  • Resolution X : Pesticides.
  • Resolution XI : Programme for the control of African animal trypanosomiasis.
  • Resolution XII : Seed industry development.
  • Resolution XIII : International Fund for Agriculture Development.
  • Resolution XIV : Reduction of military expenditures for the purpose of increasing food production.
  • Resolution XV : Food aid to victims of colonial wars in Africa.
  • Resolution XVI : Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture.
  • Resolution XVII : International Undertaking on World Food Security.
  • Resolution XVIII : An improved policy for food aid.
  • Resolution XIX : International trade, stabilization and agricultural adjustment.
  • Resolution XX : Arrangements for follow-up action, including appropriate operational machinery on recommendations or resolutions of the Conference.

In 2014, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations recognised the Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition as one of the key non-binding human rights instruments in relation to food.[17] A non-binding instrument such as The Declaration outlines guidelines and principles, imposing moral but not legal obligations on states. The United Nations, in it its description of the purpose of such a Declaration, stated the intention is not to create binding obligations to be enforced on states, but rather to declare certain aspirations.[18] Although such Declarations are not legally binding, non-binding Declarations are considered to be crucial in the development of international human rights law.[19]

The Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition provides an early example of an attempt to develop international co-operation to combat the growing prevalence of world hunger and malnutrition. The Declaration was crucial in raising international awareness about the severity of world hunger, and helped to spark significant international interest in ways to combat this issue. The Declaration also helped to further solidify the right to be free from hunger and malnutrition as a fundamental and inalienable human right. A number of important global initiatives have occurred as a result of the increased awareness of the severity of world hunger. The adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in 2000, following the United Nations Millennium Declaration is an important example of the international community showing commitment to combating the worlds hunger problem. In adopting the MDG's, all members of the United Nations and various international organisations set out eight development goals aimed to be achieved by 2015 - with Goal 1 aimed at eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.[20] The United Nation has since called the MDG’s the “most successful anti-poverty movement in history”[21] with a number of the goals being met. In relation to eradicating hunger, the MDG’s aimed to reduce the number of people living in hunger by half by 2015.[22] This goal, however, was not met, with a reported 870 million people worldwide living in conditions of hunger and malnutrition in 2015.[23]

As The Declaration stressed the importance of developed countries giving assistance to developing countries, it was also an influential factor in the increasing volumes of food and agricultural aid being provided to developing nations. However, the 2007–08 world food price crisis caused dire setbacks to this progress, and has had longstanding impacts. The World Food Crisis was caused by a dramatic increase in the prices of food internationally, and resulted in 60% of the global population facing food shortages. The impacts of the World Food Crises caused the number of malnourished individuals worldwide to increase by an estimated 75 million.[24]

In a recent attempt to take action to combat global poverty, hunger and inequality, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) were adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015. The SDG’s set out 17 goals aimed at ending poverty, inequality and injustice by 2030.[25]Goal 2 sets the aim of ending hunger, achieving food security and nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture.[26]This goal sets the target of ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030 and ensuring that all people – particularly those in poor or vulnerable situations – have sufficient access to food year round

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ World Food Conference General Assembly (1974). "Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition". United Nations. Retrieved 9 April 2016. 
  2. ^ World Food Conference General Assembly (1974). "Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition". United Nations. Retrieved 9 April 2016. 
  3. ^ World Food Conference General Assembly (1974). "Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition". United Nations. Retrieved 9 April 2016. 
  4. ^ Ahluwalia, Pooja (2004) "The Implementation of the Right to Food at the National Level: A Critical Examination of the Indian Campaign on the Right to Food as an Effective Operationalization of Article 11 of ICESCR", Centre for Human Rights and Global Justice Working Paper No. 8, 2004: 12. NYU School of Law, New York
  5. ^ World Food Conference General Assembly (1974). "Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition". United Nations. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  6. ^ Cox, Jason. "World Hunger Statistics". Poverty Living. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  7. ^ World Food Programme. "Hunger". World Food Programme. Retrieved April 2016.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  8. ^ Stop Hunger Now. "Hunger Facts". Stop Hunger Now. Retrieved 23 April 2016. 
  9. ^ International Human Rights Clinic. "End Hunger Through Law: An International Food Security Treaty" (PDF). Willamette University College of Law for the International Food Security Treaty Campaign. Retrieved April 2016.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  10. ^ Langley, Winston (1999). Encyclopedia of Human Rights Since 1945. Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 303. 
  11. ^ "Report of the World Food Conference". Gloobal. Retrieved April 2016.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  12. ^ World Food Conference General Assembly (1974). "Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition". United Nations. Retrieved 9 April 2016. 
  13. ^ Nanda, Vep (1975). "The World Food Crisis and the Role of Law in Combating Hunger and Malnutrition". International Law and Economics. 10: 725. 
  14. ^ World Food Conference General Assembly (1974). "Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition". United Nations. Retrieved 9 April 2016. 
  15. ^ World Food Conference General Assembly (1974). "Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition". United Nations. Retrieved 9 April 2016. 
  16. ^ "Report of the World Food Conference". Gloobal. Retrieved April 2016.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  17. ^ Food and Agriculture Organisation. "The Right to Food Within the International Framework of Human Rights and Country Constitutions" (PDF). Food and Agriculture Organisation. Retrieved April 2016.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  18. ^ United Nations Treaty Collection. "Definitions of Key Terms Used in the UN Treaty Collection". United Nations Treaty Collection. Retrieved April 2016.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  19. ^ Food and Agriculture Organisation. "The Right to Food Within the International Framework of Human Rights and Country Constitutions" (PDF). Food and Agriculture Organisation. Retrieved April 2016.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  20. ^ "About MDG's". UN Millennium Project. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  21. ^ Galatsidas, Achilleas; Sheehy, Finbarr (12 July 2015). "What Have the Millennium Development Goals Achieved?". The Guardian. 
  22. ^ "About MDG's". UN Millennium Project. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  23. ^ "About MDG's". UN Millennium Project. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  24. ^ Jaspars, Susanne; Wiggin, Steve (2009). The Global Food Crisis: An Overview. 
  25. ^ "Goal 2". Sustainable Development Goals. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  26. ^ "Goal 2". Sustainable Development Goals. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 

External links[edit]