Towards Food Sustainability: Reshaping the Coexistence of Different Food Systems in South America and Africa

Started in February 2015

The convergence of the effects of the 2007–2008 global financial crisis, climate change and the growing demand for food and biofuels led to a sharp increase in global food prices, which have remained high ever since. Today, about 800 million people around the world suffer from hunger, and about 2 billion people lack the essential micronutrients they need to live healthy and active lives.

The reflexive response to increased demand for food and higher prices is to increase the productivity of food systems. However, there is growing consensus among agricultural scientists, economists, policy-makers and civil society groups that, on its own, greater production is not the solution to food crises. Global food policies need to be reframed to optimize food production, while also improving environmental sustainability and ensuring equitable social outcomes.

The Project

This six-year project, launched in 2015 and funded by the Research for Development Programme (r4d) of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, aims to provide evidence-based knowledge for the formulation and promotion of innovative strategies and policy options that improve food sustainability. This is composed of five interconnected pillars: food security, the right to food, the reduction of poverty and inequality, environmental integrity and social-ecological resilience.

The research results will be disseminated through social learning programmes with actors within food systems, governments, civil society organizations and other stakeholders; the promotion of policy dialogue and provision of training and information to academic audiences, farming communities, social movements, agribusiness, trade unions, public administration bodies and civil society organizations.

Coordinating the Legal Aspects of the Research

As a co-coordinator of this project – along with the Centre for Development and Environment at the University of Bern, Centre for Training and Integrated Research in Kenya and the University of San Simón, Bolivia – the Geneva Academy supervises the legal aspects of the research in partnership with economists, political scientists, anthropologists and human geographers in Bolivia, Kenya and Switzerland. This includes the identification of treaties, laws and policies that have influenced food systems over the last 10–15 years, and their likely future impact.

In September 2015, the Geneva Academy organized a workshop on right to food indicators, which brought together researchers from this project and DEMETER, also co-coordinated by the Geneva Academy. The workshop examined ways of measuring the realization of the right to food in the four countries being studied by the projects (Bolivia, Cambodia, Ghana and Kenya). It was significant not only for its substantive findings, but also for the fact that it was the first time in the history of the food security r4d funding scheme that two projects have held a joint event. Collaboration and exchanges will continue throughout the lifetime of both projects.

TEAM

Picture of Adriana Bessa

Adriana Bessa

Research Fellow

Adriana Bessa's research areas include the rights of traditional local communities, the draft declaration on the rights of peasants and the right to food.

Picture of Christophe Golay

Christophe Golay

Research Fellow and Strategic Adviser on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Christophe Golay's expertise notably relates to economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) and the rights of peasants.

Publications

Cover of the In-Brief No2: The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Econimic, Social and Cultural Rights

In-Brief N°2: The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Econimic, Social and Cultural Rights

July 2013

Irene Biglino, Christophe Golay

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Peasants’ Right to Seeds and Intellectual Property Rights

March 2017

Our new Research Brief The Right to Seeds and Intellectual Property Rights summarizes key findings linked to the recognition of peasants’ right to seeds in the context of the current negotiation of a UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas at the UN Human Rights Council.

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TOWARDS A RECOGNITION OF THE RIGHT TO LAND AND OTHER NATURAL RESSOURCES

May 2017

Our new Research Brief The Right to Land and Other Natural Resources summarizes key findings linked to the recognition of the right to land and other natural resources in the context of the current negotiation of a UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas at the UN Human Rights Council.

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Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals

3- July 2017

This training course explores the relationship between economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) and sustainable development goals (SDGs), and provides participants with practical tools to include ESCR and the SDGs in their work.

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2- October 2017

This training course provides participants with an in-depth examination of the complex relationship between human rights and land grabbing.

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Land Commercialization, Gendered Agrarian Transformation and the Right to Food (DEMETER)

Started in January 2015

This project examines the relationship between the right to food and gender equality in ensuring food security in the context of land commercialization in two case-study countries, Cambodia and Ghana.

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Rwanda, on the outskirts of Kigali, Wa-Jali. Jeanne Françoise, a young girl reunited two years ago with her grandmother by the ICRC, stands in a banana orchard near her house. Project

Development and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Started in January 2008

This project aims to raise awareness about the complementarity of human rights and development by analyzing the relationship between economic, social and cultural rights and global development goals, namely the Millennium Development Goals adopted in 2000 and the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015.

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