Update from the United Nations
On Thursday 21 October, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier
De Schutter, presented his new report on access to land and the right to food
at the 65th General Assembly of the United UN (Third Committee).
The present report explores the threats posed by the increasing pressures on
land and on three categories of land users: indigenous peoples, smallholders
and special groups such as herders, pastoralists and fisherfolk. It explores
how States and the international community could better respect, protect and
fulfil the right to food by giving increased recognition to land as a human
The report shows that up to 30 million hectares of farmland is lost annually
due to environmental degradation, conversion to industrial use or urbanization.
A trend exacerbated by the expansion of agrofuels and the speculation on
Drawing on the lessons learned from decades of agrarian reform, the report
emphasizes the importance of land redistribution for the realization of the
right to food. It also argues that development models that do not lead to
evictions, disruptive shifts in land rights and increased land concentration
should be prioritized.
The report identifies ways to confer legal security of tenure upon farmers,
fishermen and indigenous people affected by the current pressure on land. It
also asks how agrarian reform can be promoted as an alternative to the global
enclosure that we are currently witnessing.
The report (A/65/281) as well as other reports of the Special Rapporteur can be
accessed at: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/food/annual.htm