[For Burma, the most relevant section is that dealing with non-international armed conflict]. "War is one of the primary obstacles to realization of the right of all people to have adequate food. This article examines the relevant provisions, belonging to human rights law or international humanitarian law, of the various international law treaties The author concludes that the body of rules codified by the instruments of international humanitarian law in force today are sufficient to ensure adequate food for persons affected by armed conflict. Unlike the human rights treaties, the humanitarian law conventions do not create subjective rights for the persons concerned, but binding obligations for States."...Résumé de l'article: "La guerre est l’un des obstacles majeurs à la réalisation du droit de chacun à une alimentation adéquate. Cet article examine les dispositions pertinentes des différents traités de droit international, qu’elles appartiennent au droit des droits de l’homme ou au droit international humanitaire. L’auteur conclut que les instruments de droit international humanitaire en vigueur ont codifié un corps de règles suffisant pour assurer une alimentation adéquate aux personnes touchées par un conflit armé. Contrairement aux traités relatifs aux droits de l’homme, les conventions de droit humanitaire ne créent pas des droits subjectifs pour les personnes concernées, mais des obli-gations qui lient les États."
ICRC: International Review of the Red Cross No. 844, p. 1097-1110.
See especially Article 11...
Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI)
of 16 December 1966
entry into force 3 January 1976, in accordance with article 27
The Challenge of hunger: ensuring sustainable food security under land, water and energy stresses..."World hunger, according to the 2012 Global Hunger Index (GHI), has
declined somewhat since 1990 but remains “serious.” The global
average masks dramatic differences among regions and countries.
Regionally, the highest GHI scores are in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. South Asia reduced its GHI score significantly between
1990 and 1996—mainly by reducing the share of underweight children—but could not maintain this rapid progress. Though Sub-Saharan Africa made less progress than South Asia in the 1990s, it has
caught up since the turn of the millennium, with its 2012 GHI score
falling below that of South Asia.
From the 1990 GHI to the 2012 GHI, 15 countries reduced
their scores by 50 percent or more. In terms of absolute progress,
between the 1990 GHI and the 2012 GHI, Angola, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Malawi, Nicaragua, Niger, and Vietnam saw the largest improvements in their scores.
Twenty countries still have levels of hunger that are “extremely
alarming” or “alarming.” Most of the countries with alarming GHI scores
are in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (the 2012 GHI does not,
however, reflect the recent crisis in the Horn of Africa, which intensified in 2011, or the uncertain food situation in the Sahel). Two of the
three countries with extremely alarming 2012 GHI scores—Burundi
and Eritrea—are in Sub-Saharan Africa; the third country with an
extremely alarming score is Haiti. Its GHI score fell by about one quarter from 1990 to 2001, but most of this improvement was reversed in
subsequent years. The devastating January 2010 earthquake, although
not yet fully captured by the 2012 GHI because of insufficient availability of recent data, pushed Haiti back into the category of “extremely alarming.” In contrast to recent years, the Democratic Republic of
Congo is not listed as “extremely alarming,” because insufficient data
are available to calculate the country’s GHI score. Current and reliable
data are urgently needed to appraise the situation in the country.
Recent developments in the land, water, and energy sectors
have been wake-up calls for global food security: the stark reality is
that the world needs to produce more food with fewer resources, while
eliminating wasteful practices and policies. Demographic changes,
income increases, climate change, and poor policies and institutions
are driving natural resource scarcity in ways that threaten food production and the environment on which it depends. Food security is now
inextricably linked to developments in the water, energy, and land sectors. Rising energy prices affect farmers’ costs for fuel and fertilizer,
increase demand for biofuel crops relative to food crops, and raise the
price of water use. Agriculture already occurs within a context of land
scarcity in terms of both quantity and quality: the world’s best arable
land is already under cultivation, and unsustainable agricultural practices have led to significant land degradation. The scarcity of farmland
coupled with shortsighted bioenergy policies has led to major foreign
investments in land in a number of developing countries, putting local
people’s land rights at risk. In addition, water is scarce and likely to
become scarcer with climate change.
To halt this trend, more holistic strategies are needed for dealing with land, water, energy, and food, and they are needed soon. To
manage natural resources sustainably, it is important to secure land
and water rights; phase out inefficient subsidies on water, energy, and
fertilizers; and create a macroeconomic environment that promotes
efficient use of natural resources. It is important to scale up technical solutions, particularly those that conserve natural resources and
foster more efficient and effective use of land, energy, and water along
the value chain. It is also crucial to tame the drivers of natural
resource scarcity by, for example, addressing demographic change,
women’s access to education, and reproductive health; raising
incomes and lowering inequality; and mitigating and adapting to climate change through agriculture.
Food security under land, water, and energy stress poses daunting challenges. The policy steps described in this report show how we
can meet these challenges in a sustainable and affordable way."
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Concern Worldwide, Welthungerhilfe and Green Scenery:
"The sixty-fourth session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific took place
at a time when rocketing prices of both food and oil were causing serious hardship. In response, the
Commission decided that the theme topic for the sixty-fifth session in 2009 should be on food security
and sustainable agriculture. Since then, the picture has been transformed. The global economy has sunk
into recession – and prices for food, oil and other commodities have fallen back sharply.
From this, you might conclude that the food emergency has passed – that we should concentrate only on
the financial and economic crises. In fact, however, the economic crisis makes it even more urgent that we
tackle food insecurity now. For millions of people across the Asia-Pacific region, the economic crisis will
also be a food crisis. The prices they pay may have fallen, but their incomes have fallen further still.
As governments face up to the current economic storms, they must ensure that everyone, everywhere, has
enough to eat. This is a clear humanitarian and development priority, but it is also a political imperative;
food insecure people make angry citizens. The first priority, therefore, is to check the resilience of social
safety nets – and, if necessary, bolster them to meet the immediate crisis. But the region also needs to look
to the future. As this study emphasizes, the world’s food system has become increasingly fragile. Food
prices have dipped, but they will surely surge again when the global economy and the demand for food
starts to recover.
On present trends, the region will be hard pressed to meet that demand. Food security is being threatened
from many directions, not least from unsustainable forms of agriculture that are degrading the soil, water
and biological diversity – problems that will be exacerbated by climate change.
Time to turn again, therefore, to sustainable agriculture – ensuring that farmers, and particularly small
producers, have the support they need to grow nutritious food in ways that meet human needs today, while
protecting vital environmental resources for future generations. Time also to capitalize on our efforts in
regional cooperation – ensuring that we avoid food protectionism and, instead, use our regional strengths
to build flexible and resilient systems of food security."
"The ASEAN member countries can be grouped into three sub-groups, each of which exhibits a distinct pattern with respect to food security issues. The first group is made up of the relatively food-secure countries of Singapore and Brunei. The second group consists of Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam. In these countries, except for Vietnam, agriculture has contributed a declining share in GDP, employment, and international trade. In addition, food habits in these countries have changed dramatically in recent decades. The third group is composed of Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar—economies in transition that require special attention.
A simple exercise shows that the area can collectively achieve food security via trade in rice and maize. Trade facilitation measures and the harmonization/equivalency of food regulation and control standards will reduce the cost of trade in food products. While specialization and revealed comparative and competitive indices point to complementarities between trade patterns among the ASEAN member countries, intra-ASEAN trade in agriculture is quite small. However, integration could address this problem. Further, if integration is to be used as a venue for ensuring food security, the member countries must agree on what food security collectively means to them, and what food items are important to each of them and the region, in general, so that regional integration and cooperation under the auspices of ASEAN can be promoted."
Amelia L. Bello
"Asian Journal of Agriculture and Development", Vol. 2, Nos. 1&2