Global Policy Forum

“From Food Security to the Right to Food” - UN Expert Highlights China’s Next Steps

UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter, commends China's remarkable social and economic progress over the past three decades. China has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. However, there are problems which including climate change, the shrinking of arable land and land degradation, which threaten agricultural production. De Schutter recommends that China move towards a more sustainable farming system to maintain current levels of production.


December 23, 2010


"China has made remarkable economic and social progress over the past three decades, lifting several hundred millions out of poverty, and food security benefited significantly from this overall progress. However, the shrinking of arable land and the massive land degradation threatens the ability of the country to maintain current levels of agricultural production, while the widening gap between rural and urban is an important challenge to the right to food of the Chinese population", says Olivier De Schutter, who ends his mission to the People's Republic of China today.

Within a few decades, China has been able to feed itself and to feed one fifth of the entire world population. Yet, considering a country's global agricultural output and the progressive realization of the right to food are two different things. The right to food depends on people having incomes that allow them to purchase food. It also requires that food systems are sustainable so that satisfying current needs are not at the expense of the country's ability to meet future needs. "It is obvious that these two conditions are facing important challenges today", says UN Special Rapporteur.


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