Ollivier de Sutter: let's not forget our lesson!

Ollivier de Sutter, former Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on the Right to Food (2008 to 2014) was voted by the Human Rights Council in its March 13 session as Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty, from May 1 on.

Commenting on his appointment, De Sutter wrote: “Ironic turn of history: in May 2008, I inaugurated my mandate as Special Rapporteur on the right to food in a context of unprecedented crisis, with an explosion in food prices linked both to a barrel of oil at the highest and speculation on the markets, as well as restrictions on exports of food products ... Twelve years later, this new appointment comes at a time when a major economic recession is coming, with business closings chain, massive job losses, and an increase in poverty in the face of exhausted social protection systems. In this context, it will be a real challenge to ensure that the stimulus measures put the improvement of the situation of the most disadvantaged households at the heart, and that the States do not deviate, under the pretext of this crisis, from the course of ecological transitions they have set for themselves. I promise to devote myself completely to it, with all the energy possible, in the years to come. The recession will be a considerable shock, but it can also be the occasion for a fundamental re-examination of our representations of "progress" or "development": towards a friendly and united society which is the only way to meet the challenge of the ecological transition. On May 1, a new fight begins, and I appreciate the enormity of the task ahead.

The urgency today, meanwhile, is that everyone takes care of themselves and their loved ones; may our collective response to the epidemic bring out the best in our societies; and that what we learn today from the crisis and from our ability to respond together, we do not forget once the pandemic is under control.”