GENEVA, JANUARY 16 – The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver, will carry out a fact-finding visit to Italy from 20 to 31 January 2020. This is the first visit to the country by a UN independent expert on the right to food. “The objective of my visit is to engage in constructive discussions to identify good practices as well as challenges and to provide useful recommendations to the Government and others,” Elver said.
“I will assess the enjoyment of the right to food in Italy and learn more about the country’s food and agriculture policies that affect people’s livelihoods.”
The Special Rapporteur will visit the capital Rome as well as selected cities within the Italian regions of Lazio, Lombardy, Tuscany, Piedmont, Apulia and Sicily. She will meet with Government officials at national and commune levels, members of the Parliament, representatives of civil society organisations, migrant workers, small-scale farmers, activists and academics.
“I plan to examine the role that the agricultural sector and food system play on people’s access to adequate and nutritious food; the role of the local governments; land access for young people and vulnerable groups; urban farming and community organizations; the use of pesticides and chemicals in agriculture; the role of illegal activities in the food system and the impact of Italian food companies abroad, among other things,” Elver said.
“I will look at the precarious situation of migrant workers, who play an important role in Italy’s agriculture but often work for low pay in difficult conditions. I will also assess the situation of people disproportionately impacted by violations of the right to food, including migrants, urban and rural poor, refugees, Roma people and small-scale farmers.”
For the Special Rapporteur, the right to food is the right to have regular, permanent and unrestricted access, either directly or by means of financial purchases, to quantitatively and qualitatively adequate and sufficient food corresponding to the cultural traditions of the people to which the consumer belongs, and which ensure a physical and mental, individual and collective, fulfilling and dignified life free of fear.
Elver will hold a press conference to share her preliminary findings at 11:30 on Friday 31 January 2020 at Istituto Luigi Sturzo, Via delle Coppelle, 35, Roma.
She will present her final report to the Human Rights Council session in Geneva in March 2020. Hilal Elver (Turkey) was appointed Special Rapporteur on the Right to Foodby the Human Rights Council in 2014. She is a Research Professor, and co-director of the Project on Global Climate Change, Human Security, and Democracy housed at the Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies and global distinguished fellow at the University of California Los Angeles Law School (UCLA) Resnick Food Law and Policy Center.
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Proceduresof the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity. (@OnuItalia)