United Nations 2010


United Nations A/HRC/16/49

Human Rights Council
Sixteenth session
Agenda item 3
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil,
political, economic, social and cultural rights,
including the right to development
Report submitted by the Special Rapporteur on the right to
food, Olivier De Schutter

The reinvestment in agriculture, triggered by the 2008 food price crisis, is essential
to the concrete realization of the right to food. However, in a context of ecological, food
and energy crises, the most pressing issue regarding reinvestment is not how much, but
how. This report explores how States can and must achieve a reorientation of their
agricultural systems towards modes of production that are highly productive, highly
sustainable and that contribute to the progressive realization of the human right to adequate
Drawing on an extensive review of the scientific literature published in the last five
years, the Special Rapporteur identifies agroecology as a mode of agricultural development
which not only shows strong conceptual connections with the right to food, but has proven
results for fast progress in the concretization of this human right for many vulnerable
groups in various countries and environments. Moreover, agroecology delivers advantages
that are complementary to better known conventional approaches such as breeding highyielding
varieties. And it strongly contributes to the broader economic development.
The report argues that the scaling up of these experiences is the main challenge
today. Appropriate public policies can create an enabling environment for such sustainable
modes of production. These policies include prioritizing the procurement of public goods in
public spending rather than solely providing input subsidies; investing in knowledge by
reinvesting in agricultural research and extension services; investing in forms of social
organization that encourage partnerships, including farmer field schools and farmers’
movements innovation networks; investing in agricultural research and extension systems;
empowering women; and creating a macro-economic enabling environment, including
connecting sustainable farms to fair markets.

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