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SUMMIT IN DAKAR TO EVALUATE ‘RIGHT TO FOOD’ PROGRESS IN WEST AFRICA
10 June 2013

DAKAR / GENEVA (10 June 2013) – More than 40 parliamentarians, government
officials, and representatives of civil society and national human rights institutions will come together in Dakar on 13-14 June 2013 to identify the best ways of putting the human right to adequate food into practice in the region.

The consultation, convened by the UN Special Rapporteur for the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, and co-organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), will bring together representatives from Benin, Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

"West African countries are exposed to recurrent food crises and immediate climate change impacts, with knock-on effects on political instability. This, in turn, prevents governments from taking robust actions to protect populations from the consequences of these shocks. This vicious cycle must be broken," noted the Special Rapporteur. Mr. De Schutter also underlined that "the region is drawing growing interest from foreign investors, not least for large-scale land investments”.

"In the face of these challenges,” Mr. De Schutter stressed, "it is essential to create legislative frameworks based on the right to food, recognized under international law, in order for the interests of the poorest, who are often smallholders, herders and fishers, to be put at the heart of national food security strategies."

The Dakar consultation will allow the regional best practices and most effective measures for eradicating hunger to be identified. It follows on from the regional consultation on right to food progress in Latin America and the Caribbean in Bogotá (Colombia) in 2011, and the Nairobi (Kenya) consultation, 2012, on the situation in Eastern and Southern Africa.

The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference at 12.15 on Friday 14 June 2013 at Hotel Onomo, Dakar, to present the conclusions of the meeting. The media will also be able to talk to several experts from different countries to get their views on what the meeting has contributed to hunger eradication efforts in West Africa.

The media are also invited to attend the opening of the meeting, from 9.00 to 10.15 on Thursday 13 June at Hotel Onomo, Dakar.

ENDS

Olivier De Schutter was appointed the Special Rapporteur on the right to food in May 2008 by the UN Human Rights Council. He is independent from any government or organization. Learn more about the mandate and work of the Special Rapporteur, log on: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Food/Pages/FoodIndex.aspx or www.srfood.org

For more information and media requests, please contact:
in Dakar: Nicolas Meulders (nmeulders@ohchr.org/ +221 77 740 14 61)
in Geneva: Ulrik Halsteen (srfood@ohchr.org / +41 22 917 9323)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Liz Throssell (+ 41 22 917 9434 / ethrossell@ohchr.org) or Cécile Pouilly (+41 22 917 9310/ cpouilly@ohchr.org)

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For use of the information media; not an official record

HR13/156E