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Right to Food expert summit in Bogotá to assess progress and challenges in Latin America

GENEVA (3 June 2011) – Over 40 food experts, parliamentarians and policy-makers from Latin America and the Caribbean will meet on 9–10 June in Bogotá, Colombia, to discuss how to strengthen the protection of the right to food in the region, in what will be the first regional expert meeting convened by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter. The meeting is organized in collaboration with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

“Hunger and malnutrition affect 53 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean,” Mr. De Schutter says. “However, some countries are leading the way in the promotion of the right to food in national policies and legislation that are crucial in the fight against hunger. This meeting will identify good national practices and see how they can be spread and enhanced in the region.”

During the last 5 to 10 years, promising policies and legislation have been set up in Latin America, such as the “zero hunger” policy in Brazil or the right to food framework laws in Guatemala, Ecuador and Nicaragua. According to the Special Rapporteur, these institutional developments are vital and serve to clarify that “fighting hunger and malnutrition is not merely a charitable cause but rather a matter of empowering people to claim their rights and to hold Governments accountable.”

In his view, “establishing national mechanisms of transparency, monitoring and reporting on food policies and strategies is key to the realization of the right to food.”

“At the Bogotá meeting experts from different organizations and institutions, both governmental and non-governmental, parliaments and national human rights institutions, will exchange their experiences on achievements made, and on ways and means to overcome remaining challenges,” Mr. De Schutter says.

A press conference will be held on Friday 10 June 2011, 13:00 hours, at El Museo de El Chicó, carrera 7 con calle 93, Bogotá

Please note that this meeting will follow the “Forum of the Parliamentary Front Against Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean,” that will take place in Bogotá on 7–8 June 2011. The Special Rapporteur will also attend this meeting. Info: www.rlc.fao.org/frente/

Olivier De Schutter was appointed the Special Rapporteur on the right to food in May 2008 by the United Nations Human Rights Council. He is independent from any government or organization.

Learn more about the mandate and work of the Special Rapporteur visit: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/food/index.htm

For more information and media requests, please contact Mr.Ulrik Halsteen (Tel: + 41 797 520 485 / email: srfood@ohchr.org)

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