Humanrights have been a core aspect of the society for long. While most ofthe rights aim at enhancing the quality of life of every individual,it has been noted that states recognize these rights but putting themto practice remain a primary challenge. Equally, these rights areconsidered more deeply by humanitarian bodies such as United Nations(UN). Considering some of the rights in the societal setting include‘right to health’ and ‘right to life.’ One of the mostfundamental human rights is the ‘right to food’ which is theprimary foundation of other rights. Several aspects can be used todescribe this fundamental right such as adequacy and affordability.Although a state is not coerced to providing food to everyone at alltime, there are instances where this right applies such as during warand in case of natural disaster. Right to food has been affiliated toother social challenges affecting human beings which include hunger,and undernourishment. Considering the later, food has been noted asthe medium for nutrients which are the foundation for good health. Onthe other hand, there is an aspect of food safety which is attributedto other health challenges such as cholera. Food is also associatedwith the ability of an individual to work effectively thus a healthynation is expected to be productive. This paper is, therefore, adiscussion on the right to food as a major issue in the society.Further, this paper discusses the current trend the impact ofviolating this right has on the society. This discussion alsoprovides some of the possible recommendations that will assist inaverting possible challenges emanating from this right.
Identificationof the issue
Accordingto humanitarian organizations such as the food and agriculturalorganization (FAO) and the United Nations (UN), there are more thanone billion people globally that are undernourished (UNHR, 2010).Further, more than two billion people do not have access to food richin minerals and vitamins. According to these two organizations, atleast six million children die annually as a result of malnutritionand other related diseases such as typhoid and cholera. Consideringthe issue of migration, the majority of people who are homeless havebeen noted to suffer from hunger and being undernourished. Mostaffected regarding gender are women while considering age, those whoexperience the effects of this social phenomenon are children and theelderly (De Shutter, 2014). Most people believe that it is impossibleto die as a result of hunger and that this will often occur wheneverthere are famine and conflicts. The truth about such a belief is thatonly ten percent of the deaths are as a result of the armedconflicts, natural disasters, and climatic conditions. The rest 90%are victims of long-term conditions emanating from lacking access toadequate food (FAO, 2006). Combating the issues mentioned aboveaffiliated with the right to food takes a holistic approach whereeveryone is involved. As noted in the introduction all states areaware of the issue, but the actual setback is the implementation ofthe developed strategies. Hunger and malnutrition can be averted ifcountries and organizations such as FAO, and UN work together whilerecognizing that the effort is both a moral obligation as well aspolicy related (Randolph & Hertel, 2013). For instance, in 1996,FAO in a world food summit agreed on their obligation to reduce thenumber of undernourished people by half come 2015.
Understandingthe right to food
Theright to food is described as an inclusive right unlike any other. Itis described as a right to access minimum number if nutrients such asproteins and calories which will enable the respective individual tolead a healthy and active life (Randolph & Hertel, 2013). It isfurther described as the right to access food that will offer thesenutrients. According to the economic, social and cultural rightscommittee, this right is only realized if everyone regardless of thediversity such as gender, race and age has both economic and physicalaccess it adequate food or has the means to access it (Beuchelt &Virchow, 2012). Another definition is that by the United NationsSpecial Rapporteur which describes the right to food as a means toaccess either directly or use of financial support to obtain adequatefood in two main aspects, qualitatively and quantitatively (FAO,2006). This description further includes the cultural traditionswhere the access to sufficient food will ensure a mental and physicalhealth that is dignified and free of fear. The right to food isdescribed in three core aspects availability, accessibility, andadequacy. Considering availability, food is expected to be presentfrom natural resources which can either be through food production,cultivation or any other way such as fishing, gathering, and hunting.Availability also suggests that the food should be present in theshops and market. Accessibility, on the other hand, is described asthe physical and economic aspects where food is a guarantee. Economicin this regard refers to affordability. Similar to other basic needssuch as shelter and security, food should be accessible withoutcompromise. The third element is adequacy which refers to satisfyingthe dietary needs while putting into consideration other factors suchas occupation, sex, and condition of the individual (De Schutter,2009). This especially happens to children who must take food thatcontains the necessary nutrients for both mental and physicaldevelopment
Sociologicalaspect on the right to food
Accordingto sociological theory, it provides statements and facts as to whythe social world is the way it is. According to theorists,sociological theory is an interdisciplinary approach to issuesaffecting the society. Through these theories, we can understand thesociety, relationships, and behavior. Notably, there are severalother theories that come alongside social theory such as symbolic,interaction, conflict, feminist, and functionalist (Crossman, 2016).Sociological theory furtherer aids us in comprehending the present,past and the future. The right to food can, therefore, be describedby considering the past issues, the world today and the future of theidentified concerns. Considering the right to food and itsapplication to the society, it is noted that this right affectspeople across all sectors regardless of their diversity affiliation.Although there are groups that are largely affected by this right,other factors that characterize this right include economic andpolitical pillars of the society. In this regard, sociological theoryis competed by the economic theory which characterizes the aspects ofpoverty and food accessibility. Considering the poor as the firstgroup in the society which is mostly affected by the right to food,poverty remains the major hindrance to not only right to food butothers as well (FAO, 2006). People living in poverty regardless ofwhether they are living in the rural or urban area cannot effectivelyenjoy the right to food due to affordability issues. Further, even ifthey can afford some portion of it, the element of adequacy isaffected. It is essential first to describe poverty which accordingto the international bill of right, it is a human condition describedby the deprivation of resources, capabilities, security, choices andpower (UNHR, 2010). Lack of these factors is identified as the majorcause of living a life that is below standard.
Thevast majority of individuals living in poverty are noted to sufferfrom hunger and malnutrition. These people are also noted to bestruggling to survive with 50% of them being smallholders while 20%are from landless areas (Randolph & Hertel, 2013). Pastoralistsand forest users contribute to 10% with the remaining 20% living inthe urban areas. These people are noted to lack several other factorsother than food. Their source of income is challenged thus theycannot purchase adequate food on their own. Other aspects affiliatedwith poverty include lacking access to water and education whichaggravate poverty. Governments are also accused of neglecting anddiscriminating these individuals regarding developmental projectsthat could suffice in boosting their socio-economic life (Hertel,2015). The poor are also the most affected by other factors such aspolitical instabilities resulting in conflict, an aspect insociological theory described as social interaction. Despite some ofthese people being in areas that are rich in agriculture, by virtuethat there is a lack of access to markets and resources, absence ofsufficient food will remain a great challenge. Considering peopleliving in the urban areas, the right to food has been violatedthrough the need to purchase every type of foods. Urban poverty ischaracterized by these individuals doing pitiful jobs that pay themmoney that is not enough to sustain a rich diet that is alsoadequate. Another aspect in the urban areas is the issue of foodsafety. Essential to note is that food can be a medium for variousdiseases causing microorganisms such as those responsible for choleraand typhoid. There is also an issue of the foods not being rich innutrients leaving people in a malnourished state. Similar to ruralareas, urban poverty is linked to social exclusion where these peopleare described as being excluded from other factors such as trainingopportunities, education, access to information and justice. Notably,even if there are developed social interventions, their accessibilityis limited resulting in more challenges.
Womenand children as identified above are the most affected by the issuesaffiliated to the right to food. These two groups in the society aredescribed as the most affected by issues of poverty, hunger, andgender inequality. This is as a result of them lacking the privilegeto enjoy the social, economic, political and civic power and rights.In most cases, especially those related to hunger and poverty, girlsare more likely to die than boys as a result of malnutrition andother diseases (Shillington, 2013). In most areas also according tovarious studies, women form the majority of people working inagricultural areas and food processing factories, yet they are themost deprived to accessing adequate food. Women, in particular, havebeen discriminated against accessing other aspects such as educationand natural resources. Further, issues of vocational training andeducation are not available to this gender thus the impact of growthand development being a challenge. Regarding employment and issuesrelated to it such as salary, women have since the past beendiscriminated and as noted in numerous research men tend to receivea higher salary than women (Randolph & Hertel, 2013). It is withthis regard that women have challenges regarding accessing of foodthrough purchasing. It is essential to note that women have beenidentified to require special dietary needs based on theirreproductive health. This is especially the case for women at achildbearing age. Lack of adequate food and that which is rich innutrients will result in complications during birth and delivery (DeSchutter, 2009). Children are categorized with women as most of themat the time of the effect depend on their mothers. Children, likewomen, require adequate food and that which is rich in nutrients toassist in growth and development. According to FAO and WHO, more thanhalf of children under the age of five die as a result ofmalnutrition.
Implementingthe right to food at the national level has been adopted by moststates and humanitarian organizations with five key segments beingtraining and advocacy, assessment and information, accountability andlegislation, coordination and strategy and benchmarking andmonitoring (Randolph & Hertel, 2013). Through embarking on thesefive areas, states are becoming responsible which also aids inachieving the millennium development goals (MDGs). In the advocacyand training, there has been the development of strategies that aimat strengthening the society. In Brazil, for instance, 2000governmental and non-governmental organization embarked on promotingthe right to food in 2004. Currently, more than 266 Brazilianinstitutions have signed the letter that affirms the commitment toenhancing the right to food. Governments and organizations have alsoembarked on training which will impact the society with essentialskills that ensure sustainable development (UNHR, 2010). This hasbeen the case, particularly for women and girls. Some of theseprograms have included food safety, nutrition, and health educationand have been integrated into the school curricula at all levels.Notably, women have been identified as the most vulnerable despitestatistics indicating that they constitute 51% of global agriculturalworkforce yet they do not access adequate food. Based on suchinformation, the female gender, in general, has been the main targetfor training programs. Most of the developments have been based oninfrastructure which is noted to enhance the lives of individualsliving in poverty. Most importantly to consider is the worldinvestment in agricultural sector especially in the low-income statessince 2008 (Van der Meulen, 2015). According to FAO (2006), the worldrequires an increase in food production by 70% by 2050 if the rightto food is to be completely achieved. This can only be achieved ifthe world invests in technology-based strategies to avert the currentcondition. The 70% increase in agricultural production is based onthe 2.4% annual increase in GDP while assuming that 290 millionpeople will still be malnourished by 2050. However, there arechallenges affecting the global efforts to ensure the right to food.These problems include increase in poverty level, rapid populationincrease thus reducing the agricultural area and the issue of globalwarming and climate change which affect agricultural production
Effectsof continuous violation of right to food
Despitethe current efforts by the world to address the issues emanating fromright to food, the above-mentioned challenges such as an increase inpoverty, political instability, global warming and population changeare likely to make the right to food a challenge for the world atlarge. Continuous violation of this right will then mean that thecurrent 1 billion people living as malnourished will escalate. FAOprojected to half this number by 2015, an aspect that has not beenachieved as a result of poverty, natural disasters such as floods andhurricanes and war which has resulted in forced migration such as inthe Middle East and Africa (FAO, 2009). As a matter of fact, thenumber of people being denied the right to food is expected toincrease despite the global efforts. Other effects the world isexpecting to face if the issue of the right of food is not addressedinclude an increase in food related diseases. Further, women andchildren are expected to be the most affected with most of thechildren under the age of five dying from being undernourished. Thereis also a challenge of a higher population being affected by otherdiseases which are related to lacking adequate nutrients and mineralsin the body such as pneumonia and malaria. As states continue toallocate high budgets to address the issues related to the right tofood, this is expected to cripple the economy of the respectivenation thus hindering growth and development
Thereis still a lot that the world can do to address the issues emanatingfrom right to food. Although most of these recommendations are basedon the above-mentioned strategies such as training and reducingpoverty, a more holistic approach should be adopted that involves acollective strategy by the government and other humanitarian bodies(Shillington, 2013). Based on the above discussion some of therecommendations this paper propose include states investing more inreducing poverty. Poverty has been noted as the major constraint tothe right to food. Further, there is need to consider more researchand development in the food sector which will develop strategies thatwill increase food production while considering adequate nutrients.Addressing secondary factors is also imperative such as avoiding warand political instability. It is also imperative to considermitigating factors such as forced migration and those that may resultin famine, for instance, global warming and climate change. Thisimplies that environmental sustainability should be a core factorsuch as minimizing the emission of harmful gasses. The world shouldalso consider working together and in particular developed countriesassisting those that are still developing yet the issue of the rightto food is a challenge.
Inconclusion, the right to food can be described based on three coreelements availability, accessibility, and adequacy. In this regard,the world still faces a challenge of malnourishment with FAOestimating that more than one billion people are undernourished whileanother two billion are faced with issues related to lack of adequatefood. There is, therefore, need to develop a more strategic approachto address issues affiliated to the right to food such as hunger.Socially, it is noted that poverty in both urban and rural setup isthe major hindrance to this fundamental human right. The society alsoidentifies that the most affected groups by issues related to theviolation of this right are women and children. Most of the developedinterventions are based on these groups which aim at empowering themand ensuring issues such as equality are put into consideration.However, there is still more that can be done based on the currenttrends such as research and development, technological advancementand environmental sustainability. Employing profound approaches willavert the effects that violation of the right to food has on thesociety such as continuous deaths as a result of other diseases and acountry spending more funds to mitigate the emerging issues ratherthan focussing on growth and development.
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