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Olivier de Schutter is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. He was appointed by the Human Rights Council in March 2008 and assumed his functions on May 2008.

As Special Rapporteur, Mr. De Schutter assumes a number of mandates, including the promotion of measures “at the national, regional and international levels for the realization of the right of everyone to adequate food,” and the submission of “proposals that could help the realization of Millennium Development Goal No. 1 to halve by the year 2015 the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.” He is expected to report both to the UN General Assembly and to the Human Rights Council on the fulfillment of these mandates.

In addition, Mr. De Schutter has identified eight priority areas for his work as Special Rapporteur:

  • Agribusiness
  • Agrifood paradigms
  • Climate change
  • Food aid and development cooperation
  • Global food crisis
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Land rights
  • National implementation
  • Trade

As Special Rapporteur, Mr. De Schutter has also published a number of reports and recommendations, including:

  • Seed policies and the right to food: enhancing agrobiodiversity and encouraging innovation
    Report presented to the UN General Assembly (64th session) (UN doc. A/64/170)
  • The role of development cooperation and food aid in realizing the right to adequate food
    Report presented to the Human Rights Council (9/3/2009)
  • Building resilience: a human rights framework for world food and nutrition security
    Report to the Human Rights Council at Special Session on the global food crisis (UN doc. A/HRC/9/23, 8 September 2008)
  • The right to food and a sustainable global food system
    Contribution to 17th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-17)

In addition to serving as Special Rapporteur, Mr. De Schutter is an expert on social and economic rights and on trade and human rights. Prior to his appointment, he chaired the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights, a high-level group of experts which advised the European Union institutions on fundamental rights issues. He has acted on a number of occasions as expert for the Council of Europe and for the European Union. Between 2004 and 2008, he was the General Secretary of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) on the issue of globalization and human rights.

Mr. De Schutter is a professor of law at the University of Louvain (Belgium), and at the College of Europe (Natolin). He is also a Member of the Global Law School Faculty at New York University and is Visiting Professor at Columbia University; University of Paris I-Panthéon-Sorbonne; College of Europe (Natolin); Abo Akademi University and Institute for Human Rights at Turku (Finland) and at the UNESCO Chair for Human Rights, National University of Benin (Abomey-Calavi), Cotonou.

He is the author of dozens of articles on corporate accountability, human rights, and globalization. Mr. De Schutter holds a LL.M. from Harvard University, a diploma cum laude from the International Institute of Human Rights (Strasbourg) and a Ph.D. in Law from the University of Louvain.