According to the FAO, about 60 million Europeans are food insecure, while 25% of the European population is obese and up to 45% do not have access to healthy food. Physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food (as defined by the FAO) has failed.
Recently, the Parliamentary Assembly recognised that need for the right to a healthy environment, and healthy and sustainable food is directly linked to this.
While access to healthy food should be considered a fundamental right to a dignified life, it is hardly protected by international texts and even less so by the constitutions and legislation of the Council of Europe States.
The consumer protection and health safety approach is no longer sufficient to meet the current challenges. In a One-Health perspective, supported by the United Nations, the logic of food as a simple consumer good must give way to a fundamental rights approach by defining the rights, duties and responsibilities shared between individuals, public and private actors. The emergence of zoonoses, chronic diseases and climate change are linked to agri-food governance.
Food should be considered as a common good essential to human dignity. Its links with the right to life and health (nutritional dimension), the right to freedom of religion and thought (cultural dimension), and the right to a healthy environment (ecological dimension) make it a priority for the Council of Europe's environment and human rights theme. Several objectives of the United Nations 2030 Agenda are directly related to it.
The Assembly should encourage member States to ensure, in their national legislation, the recognition and effectiveness of the right to healthy, sustainable, accessible and adequate food for individual and community needs in the face of the imperatives of agroecological transition and food sovereignty.