A Human-Rights Approach to the Global Food Crisis by Michael Fakhri, Elisabetta Recine and Sofia Monsalve

Brazil has shown how popular resistance can galvanize support for policies and programs that enshrine the right to food and nutrition. To reduce acute hunger worldwide, it will be essential for countries and international organizations to push for systemic change based on human-rights principles.

EUGENE/BRASÍLIA/HEIDELBERG – When former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro came to power in January 2019, one of his first acts in office was to abolish the National Food and Nutrition Security Council (CONSEA), a globally lauded body that had significantly reduced food insecurity . It was a huge step back for the country, which the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) had removed from its “hunger map” in 2014.

People immediately mobilized to protest Bolsonaro’s decision, including by organizing impressive public meals held on the streets of many cities – a national banquetaço. Gathered around tables laden with healthy food, communities’ resistance simultaneously celebrated and reclaimed the right to adequate food and nutrition.

Many also strengthened their political commitment, calling for a process of permanent mobilization over the four years of Bolsonaro’s rule through the People’s Conference on Food and Nutritional Sovereignty and Security, which meets every four years to monitor policies and develop proposals based on a thorough analysis at local and national levels. Immediately after Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was sworn in as Brazil’s president in January, he reinstated CONSEA, which one of us (Recine) heads and which will meet the people’s conference later this year to hear proposals.

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