At present 795 million people of the world do not have enough food to eat and a huge portion among them (278 million) live in the South Asia Region by FAO report, 2016. These figures, however, underestimate the true extent of food insecurity, which includes hidden hunger, micronutrient deficiencies, food wastage and unsafe food. The challenge of hunger and malnutrition in Asia is complex and multi-faceted that requires a multi-pronged approach. In South Asia, Bangladesh has astonishing success in several areas of the MDGs and food production. Despite some remarkable achievements in practice and policy level, still 24.5 % (in context of calorie intake standard) of the total populations are hungry and undernourished in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is far behind of formulating or implementing any law or bill concerning right to food. Moreover, the multifaceted environmental and climatic challenges make it difficult for the small holder producers to maintain their life and livelihood. Considering these diversified challenges, civil society organizations was organized in 2014 and started campaign on Right to Food and relevant issues. As its continual effort, South Asia Right to Food-SARF Conference 2015 was held in Dhaka on May 30-June 1, 2015 where Right to Food Bangladesh-RTF BD has been evolved as umbrella network. Alongside the regional issues related to food and nutritional security, establishing a legal framework regarding right to food and nutritional security in Bangladesh was one of the major aim of this conference. The conference was inaugurated by Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina. More than 2000 participants including 50 delegates from 15 different countries took part in the conference. The conference came up with The Dhaka Declaration and RtF BD Charter as way forward of right to food movement.
RtF BD emerged as canopy network on ‘Right to food and nutrition security’ comprising of civil society, NGOs, networks, social movements, peasants’ organization, women organizations, youth, indigenous people and their organizations, small holders, trade unionists, academia and researchers. RtF BD is conducting ‘Right to Food Campaign’ and undertaking multifaceted activities at national and local level to accelerate the ‘Legal Framework on Right to Food’ and other relevant issues by engaging different entities with its perspectives and strategies. Besides, RtF BD is addressing issues on social security program, safe food, sustainable agriculture, water, bio-fuel, food habit and food crisis under its campaign. At present, a 56 members National Committee chaired by eminent economist Dr. Qazi Khaliquzzzaman Ahmad is leading the network along active engagement of 58 full-fledged District and Convening Committees at field level. Almost 1000 local, national and international NGOs/networks and significant number of civil society members, are engaged with RtF BD to carry forward it’s spirit to establish Right to Food in Bangladesh.
A Hunger and Poverty Free Just Society.
Ensured Right to Food and Nutritional security for citizens and especially for the poor, marginalized, women and children and it will decline the underlying causes of hunger and poverty.