Late last night the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights released their Concluding Observations. We’re extremely pleased to say that the Committee has made strong recommendations on all of the headline issues we raised.
Notably the Committee recommended:
- the incorporation and justiciability of the Covenant
- the development of a comprehensive national strategy for the protection and promotion of the right to adequate food in order to prevent food insecurity and promote healthier diets
- the use of taxation and regulation on unhealthy foods and action to improve access to healthy foods
- the monitoring of food insecurity (through monitoring of rights compliance)
- a minimum wage framework that reflects the real cost of living including access to a healthy diet
- a review of social security reform with a view to restoring the link between social security and the cost of living including access to a healthy diet
- comprehensive action to reduce poverty in the UK in particular amongst marginalised and vulnerable people, with time-bound targets and reporting duties on child poverty
So now the hard work really begins to make sure the Scottish Government act on these recommendations. The timing really is on our side:
- the Scottish Government was elected with a mandate to introduce a Food, Farming and Health Bill that could take a strategic approach towards progressing and protecting the right to food
- the Scottish Government was also elected with a mandate to consider the incorporation of international Covenants in to Scots Law – that could provide a framework for and long lasting certainty on the of the right to food
- the Scottish Government are being devolved extensive social security powers that could protect and progress financial access to food,
- the Short Life Working Group on Food Poverty are about to report this week and it is widely anticipated there will be strong recommendations on the right to food, further bolstering the UN Committees recommendations in Scotland
- the Scottish government has repeatedly shown support for the protection and promotion of human rights in the context of the UK Government’s proposals to reform and likely regress on the existing human rights framework – these tensions are likely to increase post-referendum.
We’d like to extend an extra special thanks to our friends and supporters here for helping us to make this happen. We’re now working on further analysis of the examination process and the recommendations and hope to create a short but more detailed report in the coming weeks.
Amidst all of the post-referendum uncertainty that lies ahead for our food system we’re absolutely elated to have this good news.