Human Rights Council - 19th Regular Session
Australian statement on the Right to Food
6 March 2012
Australia welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur which highlights the important links between health and malnutrition.
It is unacceptable that malnutrition is an underlying cause of one third of the 7.6 million under-five deaths that occur each year. Australia supports initiatives to improve nutrition and food security through the World Food Programme, UNICEF and the World Health Organization.
Australia believes a comprehensive approach must be taken to address all aspects of food security including through investment in agricultural productivity, infrastructure, social protection and the opening of markets.
Australia notes the Special Rapporteur’s addendum to the report on “Guiding Principles on Human Rights Impact Assessments of Trade and Investment Agreements”.
The main objective of any trade and investment agreement which Australia negotiates or joins, is to advance the welfare of the people, through facilitating economic growth and improving per capita incomes. Improving people’s incomes and general welfare is an important practical way of realising human rights and attaining the Millennium Development Goals.
Australia is concerned that the proposed human rights assessments and related institutional arrangements contained in the Principles would be onerous to implement, especially for developing nations, and could even preclude some countries from entering intro trade agreements.
Australia is strongly committed to practical and effective action to improve global food security and takes into careful consideration the possible human rights impacts of any trade and investment agreements. However, Australia believes the prescriptive approach of the Principles could inhibit the vital role trade plays in improving food security.