One in three people in the world suffer from food insecurity. Hunger and malnutrition have been on the rise for several years. As part of its response, the Global Network on the Right to Food and Nutrition is launching its People’s Monitoring Toolkit for the Right to Food and Nutrition, a tool to foster human rights-based food systems at a time when people’s fundamental rights and food sovereignty are increasingly under attack.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has been documenting for years the number of hungry and malnourished people in its State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report. Yet predominant monitoring mechanisms such as this fail to provide a full picture of hunger.
“These are based on quantitative statistics collected by technical experts rather than on the lived experiences of people,” says Laura Michéle, policy officer for nutrition and food systems at FIAN International. “The multiple and interconnected forms of violence and structural causes that underpin hunger and malnutrition are often ignored.”
Developed with grassroots organizations and social movements in a four-year participatory process, the People’s Monitoring Tool departs from a holistic understanding of the right to food and nutrition that counters the dominant discourse on hunger and malnutrition. It covers areas of struggle and policy themes, which are essential for the full realization of the right to food and nutrition such as environmental and women’s rights, and healthy and sustainable food systems.
Structured questions in the toolkit help to assess whether and how states are complying with their human rights obligations. The responses build up a body of evidence for advocacy by communities, movements, civil society, academics and civil servants and help them promote policies that address the structural causes of hunger.
In a successful test of the tool in Mali, rural women and girls shared experiences and assessed how the toolkit’s women’s rights module worked in their context. They highlighted the rights they wished to defend, identified key legal instruments and brainstormed on an advocacy strategy, which included drafting recommendations to send to their government.
“It is critical that people affected by hunger and malnutrition are considered subjects, not objects, in monitoring exercises, and given the space and tools to analyze and articulate their experiences,” says Arie Kurniawaty from the Indonesian women’s rights organization Solidaritas Perempuan which carries out feminist right to food and nutrition monitoring in Indonesia. “They are best placed to know the problems they face in their daily lives and to find the right solutions.”
The Global Network on the Right to Food and Nutrition unites a diversity of social movements and civil society organizations in the struggle for the right to adequate food and nutrition. Its Secretariat is facilitated by FIAN International.