Q & A with Olivier De Schutter on the Right to Food

Olivier De Schutter (center) with Brother David Andrews (left) and Robert Lawrence.

UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier De Schutter recently spoke at the Bloomberg School, as the Center’s 11th Annual Dodge Lecture. In his presentation, he re-framed hunger by redefining the hungry and by identifying the roots of hunger, which are more often than not political (as opposed to technical). De Schutter insisted that hunger—and famine—is not a crisis of productivity but a crisis of power. “We’ve produced hunger over the years by depriving peasants of their ability to produce,” he said. CLF correspondent Leo Horrigan and I were able to talk with him about his research and recommendations.

What does the “right to food” mean to you, and how does the idea of accountability play into that?

The right to food is primarily about an obligation of governments to explain decisions that they make in light of the impact of these decisions on the most vulnerable segments of the population…. The right to food is, essentially, showing that hunger is not a purely technical question that agronomists or economists should answer to, but a political question that shall only be sustainably addressed if governments are held to account, and if independent bodies, including courts, can step in, to censor decisions that are not going in the right direction. Read More >

Past CLF Dodge Lecturer is President-elect Obama’s Pick to Head NOAA

Dr. Jane Lubchenco, an environmental scientist and marine ecologist actively engaged in teaching, research, synthesis and communication of scientific knowledge, was recently named by President-elect Barack Obama to head up the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Dr. Lubchenco, Wayne and Gladys Valley Professor of Marine Biology 
Distinguished Professor of Zoology at Oregon State University, presented the Center for a Livable Future’s Sixth Annual Edward and Nancy Dodge Lecture on April 22, 2005. Here’s the full-text of an article that appeared on the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s web site follow Dr. Lubchenco’s lecture:

May 18, 2005

Dodge Lecture Address Environmental Concerns

World-renowned marine ecologist Jane Lubchenco, PhD, had a message for the faculty and students of the Bloomberg School of Public Health: Human-caused ecosystem changes impact human health and well being worldwide and scientists should inform the public of these changes. Lubchenco’s comments came during the 6th Annual Edward and Nancy Dodge Lecture, “Seas the Day: Ocean Science, Politics and Ethics,” in honor of Earth Day. The event was sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

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