Stakeholders emphasize on the human rights based approach in post-disaster recovery phase.
As part of its efforts to ensure food security in Nepal and the Right to Food of vulnerable people in the country in the post-disaster recovery phase, Food and Agricultural Organization held a series of consultation, workshop and meetings with lawmakers, government functionaries, and concerned civil society organizations on August 25-28.
According to a press release issued by FAO, the main objectives of the series of programs were to sensitize all major stakeholders on the human rights based approach (HRBA) in post-disaster recovery phase and Right to Food in Nepal as well as to introduce them to monitoring indicators on Human Right to Adequate Food, which the FAO has been developing in collaboration with experts and CSOs.
On the first day of the series of consultations held on August 25 under the title “Joint Policy Dialogue Meeting on Human Rights Based Approach and Right to Food in Nepal,” development economist Dr Rajeev Malhotra facilitated a session on “Human Rights Approach to Disaster Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction.”
During the interaction program, Dr Malhotra said, although disasters were unfortunate events, they provided transient opportunity for socio-economic transformation.
“When there is disaster, there is a complete break from the past, so you can start on a clean slate. It frees you from the constraints of the past and the vested interests can be obliterated in one go, thereby, providing us a fresh start in the development process,” said Dr Malhotra during his presentation.
In his welcome speech before the presentation, FAO’s Assistant Country Representative Dr Binod Saha said FAO’s role, among others, was to facilitate and create and enabling environment for Right to Food for those who are most in need and vulnerable. “Right to Food is a crosscutting issue and concerns different government bodies and institutions. Since it is linked with various sectors, without greater collaboration we cannot move forward,” said Saha.
High ranking officials from different government ministries, members from Dalit and Women Commissions, bar association and journalists were present at the program.
Delivering the key notes in the Consultation Workshop on Human Rights Based Approach in Post-disaster Recovery Phase and Right to Food in Nepal held on August 26, Prof Dr Govind Raj Pokharel, the Vice Chairperson of the National Planning Commission (NPC) highlighted the need to plan for long-term reconstruction to restore not only lost assets but also to rebuild the three pillars of social, economic and physical infrastructures. He further added civil society organizations should take the lead in helping his organization integrate Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) in its plans and policies. He, however, urged all stakeholders to come up with executable and implementable ideas that can be incorporated in the reconstruction plan rather than slogans and ambitious targets, so that people in need will benefit from its actions.
Welcoming the participants, Dr Somsak Pipoppinyo, FAO Representative expressed satisfaction over the inclusion of the Right to Food in the draft of the new constitution of Nepal.
Pointing out at the humanitarian challenge that became immediately apparent as millions of the earthquake affected started camping out in the open, Dr Swarnim Wagley, Member of NPC said that the government and philanthropic associations worked together to meet the tremendous demand for materials to construct makeshift shelters and to supply essentials including food and water. Dr. Wagle said, “As we move from relief to reconstruction phase we need to take stock of our past actions and use the lessons learned to make better decisions.” He emphasized that it was becoming important to recognize human rights based approach to disaster recovery in view of growing number of natural disasters in the country.
Advocate Sunil Kumar Pokharel, General Secretary of Nepal Bar Association (NBA) said that NBA has monitored the process of inclusion of the provision of Food Sovereignty and Right to Food in the draft of new constitution of Nepal. He also shed lights on NAB’s efforts on monitoring the corruption in the distribution of relief materials in the earthquake affected districs where the government bodies failed to perform effectively.
Speaking from the chair, Bishnu Prasad Nepal, Joint Secretary of NPC, said special attention was given to address the issues related to nutrition and food security in the Post Disaster Need Assessment.
On August 27, a Sharing workshop on Operationalisation of the Draft Guideline on Monitoring the Human Right to Adequate Food in Nepal was held. The main objective of the workshop was to familiarize concerned CSOs with the draft of the Right to Food Monitoring Framework and get their views to make the framework even better.
On the last day on August 28, “Briefing Meeting on HRBA and Right to Food” was held, in which Nepalese lawmakers were briefed about the positive results that HRBA to relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction can bring about. The meeting was jointly organized by Woman Act and FAO. Several lawmakers described the meeting as highly informative and lauded the organizers for holding the program at the right time when Nepal was preparing to finalize its new constitution and set in motion its recovery and reconstruction efforts.