There is a general urgency for a new regulation to grant the universal right to healthy and quality food
25 May 2016
Expo Milano 2015 has put access to food and food production in the spotlight. What are the most critical regions in the world at the moment as far as hunger and undernourishment are concerned?
While the international community has been trying to eradicate hunger for a long time, interventions to address malnutrition are quite recent. Hunger is simply the body’s response to lack of food. Malnutrition requires a more comprehensive reaction: you have to grant access to adequate quantities of healthy and quality food, and make sure that people have a balanced diet, rich in essential vitamins and nutrients.
At the moment in the world there are some 795 million people who have not enough to eat: their number is down from over one billion in 1990. That’s about one in nine people on earth. Most of these people live in developing countries, where 12,9 percent of the population is undernourished.
Asia is the continent with the most hungry people, two thirds of the total. The percentage in southern Asia has fallen in recent years but in western Asia it has increased slightly. Sub-Saharan Africa is, on the contrary, the region with the highest prevalence (percentage of population) of hunger.
In some areas the number of heavily undernourished people has even raised in the last years, from 10 to 13 million. In the past 20 years severe undernourishment diminished only by 11 percent, while cronic undernourishment dropped by 36%.
Access to food, to land, to education. What are the active actions in developing countries? Are Western countries doing enough?
The Milan Center for Food Law and policy was born with the very task to rebuild through legal language the food and nutrition worlds. Its motto is indeed “there is no food without rights”.
From food chain to the most controversial land grabbing, from the ownership of seeds to the crucial role of women which are deprived of land ownership and made invisible slaves in many regions of the world, there is a general urgency for rights and for a new regulation.
Just think about labelling, with the right consumers’ demands, or about the big single-brand plantations in countries which have not an adequate ownership regime, or about the fundamental right of access to food. All these issues need new and better answers in order to grant people’s rights, since laws written after World War Two are leaving step by step field to multinational corporations, which act as if they were the “lords of the market”.