City, University of London
Food Policy Symposium 2024 - poster - Cindy Leung (Uni of York).pdf (5.67 MB)

Towards a rights-based approach to food systems transformation? A human rights analysis of local food policy initiatives in the UK

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posted on 2024-04-11, 09:35 authored by Cindy Leung

In response to a wide array of food-related challenges, cities across the UK have increasingly adopted a systems and cross-sectoral approach to local food policy making and governance. At first glance, such a joined-up and participatory approach appears to align with a human rights-based approach to food, which recognises access to adequate food as a human right, upholds international human rights standards such as participation and accountability, and applies these standards to food policies, regulations, and governance. On one hand, research shows that rights-based approaches could strengthen food security. On the other hand, there is a lack of systematic analysis on the applicability and implementation of a rights-based approach in local food governance contexts and the ways in which UK’s local food policy initiatives incorporate or diverge from a rights-based approach. This paper fills this gap by examining UK's local food policy initiatives from a human rights perspective. First, it explains the key principles of a rights-based approach, namely participation, accountability, non-discrimination, transparency, human dignity, empowerment, and rule of law (PANTHER principles) and why a rights-based approach is relevant to and can strengthen local food policy initiatives. Then, it examines the food strategies and other food policy documents of selected UK cities against the PANTHER principles and identifies current practices, gaps, and opportunities in applying a rights-based approach to food locally. Finally, it suggests pathways to enhance a rights-based approach to food policy making at the local level to support the transition towards a just and sustainable food system.