Cape Verde to Make Right-to-Food Constitutional

January 25, 2017

By Dipo Olowookere

Cape Verde is advancing in the process of national ownership of the Right to Food with the support of FAO.

During the Ordinary Meeting of the National Council of Food Security and Nutrition, nearly 40 stakeholders discussed on the current status of the Right to Adequate Food in the country in order to advise the government on the policies that need to be implemented to guarantee this right.

The meeting, the first of the IX Legislative Term, was chaired by the Minister of Agriculture and Environment, Gilberto Silva, and included FAO presentations on a Diagnosis of the food rights and laws in the country.

Cape Verde has ratified most of the international conventions and legal instruments related to the Right-to-Food which, yet, is implicitly recognized in several articles of its constitution.

In addition, in the current legal system, several decrees-law have been passed that protect the access to food in the country, in all dimensions of food security: availability, access, utilization and stability.

The government has enabled the environment for the Right to Adequate Food, including it as a priority in the political programme of the current Legislative Term and adopting several national policies, including the National Strategy for Food Security and Nutrition (ENSAN 2020).

It is also aligned with the Strategy of the Portuguese Speaking Countries Community (CPLP), the National Action Plan for Food Security and Nutrition (PANSAN 2014-16), National Plan on Food and Nutrition (PNAN 2015-20) and the National Program of Schools Meals (PNAE 2012-20).

Cape Verde has not experienced severe famine since the 1950s and the economy has grown progressively until it graduated as Least Developed Countries (LDC) in 2008 and accessed the World Trade Organization. Nevertheless, food insecurity remains as a national issue affecting over 20% of the population and there are serious nutrition problems, particularly affecting children such as a high rate of iron deficiency anaemia.

The Diagnosis presentation highlighted the importance of strengthening the current legal instruments to protect the Right to Adequate Food and the effective operationalization, monitor and evaluation of the current policies to tackle food insecurity in the country. Likewise, it recommended to reinforce the information and education campaigns to make the population more aware of the right to food, as well as the engagement of Civil Society Organizations and Non-State Actors, enabling the conditions for their participation in regular consultations with the government specialized agencies.

A law proposal, elaborated with FAO support, will be presented at the next meeting of the National Council of Food Security and Nutrition scheduled during the second quarter of 2017.

Minister Gilberto Silva explained some of the key challenges of the sector, including the access to credit, informal structure of the agricultural production and need to register and certify the sector, water scarcity, land tenure, post-harvest treatment, sustainability of marine resources and others. The Minster also explained current initiatives that the Government is taking to overpass them, such as the densification of the food security networks in the country and the involvement of the local structures led by the Municipal Governments in these networks. The reinforcement of the national statistics system is another priority of the government in order to have accurate data for elaborating effective evidence-based policies.

Post-COP22 actions

The Government also organized a public conference on the theme “The challenges for the implementation of a public agenda for Food Security and Nutrition”, with the participation of the Prime Minister of Cabo Verde and the FAO Representative.

The Conference brought together nearly hundred stakeholders from the main public institutions working on Food Security, majors from several islands, and representatives from the International Organizations, Diplomatic Missions, Academia and Civil Society.

Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva assured that Food Security is a national priority at highest level and recognized FAO’s role in enhancing Food Security and Nutrition in the country. “We are determined to end food insecurity in Cabo Verde; our policies have a special focus on increasing productivity in agriculture and fisheries, as well as the income generated  bythese activities ”, said the Prime Minster.

FAO Representative in Cabo Verde, Rémi Nono Womdim, highlighted the political will of the country to tackle food insecurity and the need to increment the investments to reinforce the environmental and economic resilience of the small farmers and fishermen. “We are committed to continue supporting the country, providing technical assistance in the formulation of policies, strategies and projects for development in areas such as nutrition, agriculture, fisheries, forestry and land and natural resources management”, he underlined.

Some of the recommendations emphasized the need to articulate Food Security and Nutrition objectives with socioeconomic development, the national definition of Food Sovereignty and Right to Adequate Food, the implementation of a systemic Food Security policy, and the establishment of governing mechanisms of the Food Security and Nutrition.

Dipo Olowookere

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

Mr Olowookere can be reached via [email protected]

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