Friday 24th November 2017

The UN sends expert to investigate why many Zambians are malnourished

The situation of the right to food in Zambia will be investigated by United Nations Special Rapporteur Hilal Elver during an official visit from 3 to 12 May 2017.

“I will pay special attention to the situation of peasants and smallholders, including women, and the efforts made to improve their livelihoods,” Ms. Elver said, launching the first visit to the country by an independent expert on the right to food mandated by the Human Rights Council.

Around 60% of the Zambian population lives in poverty, mostly subsistence farmers in rural areas.

There is a strong concern about the levels of malnutrition in this context, leaving around 40 percent of children under the age of five at below average height.

“I will also assess the impact of economic policies including large-scale investments in land for commercial agriculture, on the right to food and in this sense I am interested in the current revision of Zambia’s Lands Act policy, which aims to protect the country’s land against indiscriminate sales,”  said Ms. Elver

The Special Rapporteur will seek to provide practical policy recommendations to further the realization of the right to food.

She will discuss with the Government, options to secure greater inclusion for vulnerable people and the protection of Zambia’s valuable resources for the future.

During the visit, the expert will meet senior Government officials, representatives from the UN, civil society and local communities in various locations throughout the country, including in the Central Province.

She will also visit the Mayukwayukwa-refugee camp in Kaoma, Western Province.

Ms. Elver who is from Turkey was appointed Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food by the Human Rights Council in 2014.

She is a Research Professor, co-director of the Project on Global Climate Change, Human Security and Democracy housed at the Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies, and global distinguished fellow at the University of California Los Angeles Law School (UCLA) Resnick Food Law and Policy Center.

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