This chapter argues that legal and normative efforts to end obesity must go beyond a domestic or territorial approach to corporate accountability and address the present challenges to effective accountability in a transnational context. It draws on recent work in the field of transnational or extraterritorial human rights obligations (ETOs). Ending childhood obesity requires an extraterritorial perspective on law and policy. The discussion focuses on transnational civil liability of corporations in the courts of their home State for harms committed in another State (the host State). The chapter first presents a hypothetical case of transnational litigation for obesity-related harm to provide the necessary context and elaborates on the importance of access to home State courts. The substance and relevance of ETOs are then addressed and the existing obstacles to effective access to home State courts are canvassed. We then asses the application of ETOs as a means for overcoming these obstacles. Finally, the conclusion extrapolates on the contribution ETOs make to the broader project of global health governance.
Asbjørn Eide and Wenche Barth Eide
This chapter considers the role of the United Nations in promoting the human right to adequate food and diet-related health with a focus on preventing childhood obesity. Former Secretary-General Kofi Annan attempted from 1997 to reinforce an original purpose of the UN, calling for a human rights-based approach to development. The chapter describes some obstacles to ensuring such a coherent approach. Different agencies of the UN have their own agendas which may lead them in different directions. The UN General Assembly’s proclamation of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016-2025 provides a new impetus. Special attention is given to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as lead agencies for the Decade. The chapter concludes with some ideas for further action which require new and reinforced alliances to strengthen the UN’s work with a rights-based approach to malnutrition including childhood obesity.
Katharina Ó Cathaoir and Mette Hartlev
This chapter analyses states’ obligations to prevent childhood obesity under international law, drawing on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the World Health Organization’s Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO). We outline and compare recommendations on ending childhood obesity stemming from ECHO and the Committee on the Rights of the Child, as well as other UN experts. We propose a children’s rights approach: states should build the capacities of rights holders and duty bearers, and fulfil children’s rights, through crafting an enabling environment, pursuing empowerment through societal and legal transformation, and ensuring accountability. While parents play an important role, states control the regulatory environment. Yet, states must at the same time not expose children to stigma. We conclude that human rights and public health can be mutually reinforcing: WHO provides evidence-based technical guidance, while the CRC legally binds states. WHO’s recommendations can concretize States’ rather vague obligations under the right to health.
Amandine Garde and Seamus Byrne
Garde and Byrne explore the tension between children’s rights and the economic ‘rights’ of corporations. Specifically, they argue that the best interests of the child principle, enshrined in Article 3(1) CRC, provides a potent legal hook upon which States can uphold the child’s right to health by modifying their food environments and therefore contribute to the prevention of obesity. They explore how the best interests principle can exert significant legal traction regarding the imposition of marketing restrictions of unhealthy food to children by highlighting the need for states to specifically determine, firstly, what is in the child’s best interests, before assigning it its due weight when assessing it against competing interests. In particular, they argue that the more systematic use of the best interests of the child principle would help to moderate legal claims throughout the policy process and could support strategic litigation in the interests of public health.
In this book I set myself two objectives. First, I wished to provide answers to a policy-relevant scenario where two countries decide to cooperate in the field of transboundary aquifers. Second, by exploring the scenario just mentioned I aimed to shed light on the extent to which the emerging international law of transboundary aquifers reflects customary international law, with a particular focus on the Draft Articles.
This chapter will explore the relevant international legal instruments available for the two countries in their plea to manage a specific transboundary aquifer and that constitute the emerging international law of transboundary aquifers.