The Right to Food and the International Economic System: An Assessment of the Rights-Based Approach to the Problem of World Hunger
Jacqueline F Mowbray
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law
November 17, 2010
Leiden Journal of International Law, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 545-569, 2007
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/128
This article considers the effectiveness of rights-based approaches to the problem of world hunger. Given that inadequate food supply may be the result of complex, structural problems outside the control of particular staes and authorities, can advocacy based on the right to food significantly improve world food security? To answer this question, this article considers one particular structural factor which contributes to world hunger, namely the operation of the international economic system. It concludes that, at both a theoretical and a practical level, human rights discourse is ill-suited to achieve the fundamental structural change to this system necessary to improve food security.
This represents a significant limitation on the effectiveness of the right to food. As a result, an alternative legal approach is suggested, namely using a legal principle of ‘food sovereignty’ to ensure that the international system as a whole operates to support the food needs of its population.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 2
Keywords: food security, food sovereignty, human rights discourse, international economic system, international trade law, right to food
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33
Date posted: November 19, 2010 ; Last revised: January 17, 2014