President’s corner September 2012 Geoffrey Lawrence


The XIII World Congress of Rural Sociology, held in Lisbon, Portugal, in July/August this year, was addressed by Professor Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.
De Schutter’s mandate, as described by the UN Human Right’s Council is 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;
  • examine ways and means of overcoming existing and emerging obstacles to the realization of the right to food;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • continue participating in and contributing to relevant international conferences and events with the aim of promoting the realization of the right to food.
  • To access Professor De Schutter’s talk at the Rural Sociology Congress, please visit:

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