Work Begins on Project to Incorporate Human Rights-Based Frameworks into Food Systems Policy and Planning

March 16, 2022

The Consortium for People-Centered Food Systems, led by Bloomberg Distinguished Professor Jessica Fanzo at Johns Hopkins University, has initiated the first phase of its ten-year effort to foster human rights-based approaches to food systems policy and planning. This effort seeks to strengthen the capacity of governments, peasants, and other people living in rural areas to adopt and incorporate human rights frameworks such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) into food policy and food systems action.

Adopted in 2018, UNDROP proposes that countries work with rural food system actors to create policies that promote and protect the right to adequate food, food security and food sovereignty, sustainable and equitable food systems, and others, such as the right to land, water, and seeds.

This interdisciplinary project seeks to use advocacy, build capacity, and develop accountability tools to better integrate human rights frameworks into the food systems policy context. Led by Dr. Fanzo, the project consortium includes academics, development practitioners, ethicists, and lawyers from Johns Hopkins University, RikoltoInternational Institute of Rural Reconstruction, and CIAT on behalf of the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT. The project is jointly funded by member organizations and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

“Small-scale farmers produce more than 80% of the world’s food, but this diverse population suffers disproportionately from hunger, poverty, discrimination, violent conflict, and climate change. Human rights instruments like UNDROP represent a major step forward in protecting their human rights, but more work is needed to integrate them into food systems policy effectively,” says Dr. Fanzo.

Dr. Fanzo is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Global Food Policy and Ethics at the Berman Institute of Bioethics, the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. She also serves as the Director of Hopkins’ Global Food Policy and Ethics Program, and as Director of Food & Nutrition Security at the JHU Alliance for a Healthier World.  Faculty joining Dr. Fanzo in this work from JHU include Drs. Leonard RubensteinAnne Barnhill, Swetha Manohar, and Rebecca McLaren.

Initial project activities will take place in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Honduras, and Uganda, and are funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. In each of these countries, project team members are partnering with Rikolto, IIRR, CIAT, and local stakeholders to assess the food systems context and identify potential areas for improvement in awareness, capacity, accountability, and policy coherence. Later phases of the project will aim to scale the approach to other countries and produce global guidance on putting people’s rights at the center of food systems. In the next few months, countries will begin by sensitizing the project in the four countries with local stakeholders and governments and will produce a paper on what it means in practical terms to integrate rights into food systems action and policy.

For media inquiries, contact: Jamie Smith, [email protected]