Summit in Dakar to evaluate right to food progress in West Africa

By United Nations - Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Summit in Dakar to evaluate right to food progress in West Africa
Summit in Dakar to evaluate right to food progress in West Africa

GENEVA, Switzerland, June 10, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- More than 40 parliamentarians, government officials and representatives of civil society and national human rights institutions will come together in Dakar on 13-14 June 2013 to identify the best ways of putting the human right to adequate food into practice in the region.

The consultation, convened by the UN Special Rapporteur for the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, and co-organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), will bring together representatives from Benin, Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

"West African countries are exposed to recurrent food crises and immediate climate change impacts, with knock-on effects on political instability. This, in turn, prevents governments from taking robust actions to protect populations from the consequences of these shocks. This vicious cycle must be broken," noted the Special Rapporteur. He also underlined that "the region is drawing growing interest from foreign investors, not least for large-scale land investments”.

Mr De Schutter said: "In the face of these challenges, it is essential to create legislative frameworks based on the right to food, recognized under international law, in order for the interests of the poorest, who are often smallholders, herders and fishers, to be put at the heart of national food security strategies."

The Dakar consultation will allow the regional best practices and most effective measures for eradicating hunger to be identified. It follows on from the regional consultation on right to food progress in Latin America and the Caribbean in Bogotá (Colombia) in 2011, and the Nairobi (Kenya) consultation, 2012, on the situation in Eastern and Southern Africa.

The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference at 12.15 on Friday 14 June 2013 at Hotel Onomo, Dakar, to present the conclusions of the meeting. The media will also be able to talk to several experts from different countries to get their views on what the meeting has contributed to hunger eradication efforts in West Africa.

The media are also invited to attend the opening of the meeting, from 9.00 to 10.15 on Thursday 13 June at Hotel Onomo, Dakar.