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Published by Dr. Tina Beuchelt

The human Right to Food and sustainable soil management: linking voluntary agricultural sustainability standards with food security

Land degradation and deforestation worldwide threaten future food and non-food biomass provision. Land degradation may hinder the global shift towards green or bio-economies which requires increasing supplies of biomass. There is a strong linkage between soil management, biomass production and food security. Rising concerns about sustainability aspects have led to the development of voluntary certification standards to ensure that biomass is sustainably produced. So far, these voluntary standards have a strong ecological focus and include only selected social aspects. Food security and the linkage between the Human Right to adequate Food and soil management are hardly addressed though they are a key element of the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and important for (export) production and processing in low- and middle income countries. The Sustainable Development Goal 2 - to end all forms of hunger by 2030 - clearly includes sustainable soil management and agriculture. The unification of these two targets in one goal underlines the dependency of the realization of the Human Right to adequate Food on sustainable land management and land use patterns. The objective of this chapter is to first discuss how the Human Right to adequate Food, which is applicable in over 100 countries, is linked to sustainable management of soils and what does this imply. Then we show how the Human Right to adequate Food can be ensured in local biomass production and in certification systems in food insecure regions. We first present a suitable conceptual framework to integrate the Right to food in biomass production, processing and trade. Then we suggest food security criteria to ensure that the Human Right to adequate Food is not violated by certified biomass operators. The suggested criteria are applicable to all biomass types and uses and serve as a best-practice set to complement existing voluntary sustainability standards for biomass.

Beuchelt, T.D., Mohr, A. and R. Schneider
Ginzky, H., Heuser, I., Tianbao Qin, Ruppel, O. and P. Wegerdt
International Yearbook on Soil Law and Policy