Monday, October 15, 2007

Welcome to the first issue of the FAO’s Right to Food Newsletter

Dear Friends,

The deprivation of the right to food, one of today’s most serious human rights violations, is often overlooked. This newsletter aims to give a voice to the hungry and to all those who are involved in assisting their plight. It aims to strengthen governments in their efforts to make the right to food a reality for all. This newsletter will focus on putting the right to food into practice.

A starving farmer is as much a human rights issue as a censored journalist – and there are significantly more of them. Yet, while oppressed journalists make headlines, hungry people are too often ignored. The world needs to get equally upset about the denied rights of these hungry millions. We want to make people listen to these silent voices. And act to make them heard.
Those promoting the right to food must be visionaries who think out of the box and have the capacity to mobilize others. They should also be realists, however, seeking pragmatic solutions, advancing step-by-step wherever there is an opportunity and consolidating achievements. Determination is fundamental to any effort.

The global theme for World Food Day 2007 is The Right to Food. The millions of hungry farmers may finally make headlines. This year is an opportunity to consolidate progress made, learn from successful experiences, and make headway towards ensuring that the right to food is realized for every person – be it man, woman or child.

It gives me great pleasure to launch the first issue of this FAO’s Right to Food Newsletter, which I see as a platform for information, empowerment, discussion and mobilization. Above all, I see it as an interactive opportunity to share FAO and Right to Food knowledge with you, AND, at the same time, an opportunity for you, specialists and practitioners, to share your thoughts, ideas, experiences and lessons learned.

The themes covered in the newsletter correspond to the main areas of action identified in the Right to Food Guidelines adopted by FAO in 2004: 1) Advocacy and training: 2) Information and assessment: 3) Legislation and accountability; 4) Strategy and coordination; 5) Benchmarks and monitoring. Starting with a look at legislation and at country strategies in the present edition, we will then continue in the next edition with a focus on advocacy and information – and, of course, World Food Day.

Putting the right to food into practice requires concrete action in the legal, political, economic and social fields. You will discover that the expertise and services offered by FAO reflect this diversity of policies and areas of activity.

As Coordinator of the Right to Food Unit, I would like to personally thank you for your interest and commitment to this issue. I wish you interesting reading and look forward to our quarterly meeting.

Yours sincerely,

Barbara Ekwall