Right to Food and Nutrition in Europe

Series of Toolkits for learning and action

The Right to Food and Nutrition (RtFN) is often overlooked within Europe and is often considered to pertain exclusively to the “Global South” or “developing countries”. Thus, Europe limits its engagement to development support and political discourse on the importance of realizing and protecting the RtFN in other countries, while failing to adopt national and regional RtFN measures.

To better explore and understand how RtFN issues manifest in Europe, including national contexts, FIAN International, FIAN Austria, FIAN Belgium, FIAN Portugal, Coventry University (Center for Agroecology, Water, and Resilience), and URGENCI have developed the project: Responding to Hunger: A Toolkit for Learning and Action, with funding from the Erasmus+ Program. This initiative was motivated by the lack of processes or consistent efforts to understand the right to food and nutrition in European countries, as well as the absence of a targeted human rights-based assessment of national food programs and policies in various European countries. Indeed, some measures and programs do address food insecurity and there are some health-related statistics, but this approach has significant limits. With food insecurity, hunger, and poverty on the rise across Europe, now is the time to innovate how the structural issues are identified and assessed, to better support policy solutions and implementation measures at all levels.

The project has produced a series of modules that explore key issues and findings to inform and expand our understanding of the right to food and nutrition in Europe, and to support developing more broad based analysis that include issues related to social inclusion. The modules examine national legal frameworks in Portugal, discriminatory migration policies in the UK, social programs in Austria, nutrition and health in Belgium, and local food policies in Germany. A summary of the findings and conclusions (EN - FR - PT - DE) is available to provide a short overview of the main outcomes of our work.


Legal and Institutional Frameworks for the Right to Food and Nutrition

In this module, you will find a discussion of the legal and institutional framework of the RtFN in Europe. This includes a conceptual overview, examples of approaches and processes utilized in different countries, as well as significant obstacles and challenges towards realizing the RtFN. The final section discusses civil society initiatives monitoring the RtFN as opportunities for advocacy and provides a step-by-step guide for a human rights-based approach to collective mobilization, monitoring, and public debate.

View in English and Portuguese


Access to Food: Mapping and Assessing existing Measures in Austria

Using the Austrian context as example, this module includes an assessment of state actions that support the implementation of the right to food, as well as an overview of private food aid responses. These responses are mapped and assessed throughout the module. Testimonies from persons experiencing poverty and persons working in food security or related areas are also included and an overview on some of the main challenges in existing measures is provided. Two of the measures addressed are evaluated in detail based on human rights principles. Additional guiding questions can be found in the annex and serve to reveal the connection between the RtFN and other social rights and identify additional actors that should be involved in decision-making processes, which are also outlined in this module.

View in English and German


Social Inclusion and the Right to Food and Nutrition in Europe

An examination on the relationship between socially constructed differences and right to food violations. This analysis is critical because there is a generalized lack of intentional literature or guidance on how the right to food and nutrition can monitor violations from a socially inclusive perspective. Therefore, this module suggests ways to create an inclusive right-to-food monitoring practice in the UK, with a specific focus on asylum seekers.

Available in English.


What does nutrition mean from the right to food perspective? And how is nutrition monitored in Belgium?

This module contains an analysis of nutrition issues, from a human rights-based perspective and from a food systems perspective. This analysis is based on a case study of Belgium. The methodology reviews the international obligations of states regarding the right to food and nutrition and their translation into national and regional food public policies. It is nourished with inputs and testimonies from practitioners and experts on issues of poverty, healthy, sustainability, and climate, as well as consultations with local Belgian-based organizations and social movements.

Available in English and French.


Participation and Local Food Systems Governance: Advancing the Right to Food and Nutrition in Europe

People face different barriers to participation, as well as different decision-making contexts at the local level. This module explores these questions and provides some guidance on how to gain a deeper understanding of where and how food-related decisions are made, how conditions can be created for people to participate in decision-making, and how to assess decision-making spaces and risks and opportunities related to multi-stakeholderism, in the realm of territorial/local food policy decision-making, and especially in food policy councils. The emerging Heidelberg (Germany) Food Policy Council is referenced as an example.

View as English and German.