|The 45th session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS 45) convened from 15-19 October 2018, at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) in Rome, Italy. More than 1600 delegates, representing CFS Members, non-Member States, UN agencies and bodies, civil society and private sector organizations, international finance and research organizations, philanthropic foundations and observers, attended the session.
CFS 45 endorsed the terms of reference for developing policy guidance on food systems and nutrition and adopted decisions and conclusions on:
- the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2018 Report (SOFI 2018);
- implementation of the response to the CFS evaluation;
- critical and emerging issues for food security and nutrition (FSN) and a strategic Multi-Year Programme of Work (MYPoW);
- CFS’s contributions to the High-level Political Forum (HLPF);
- promoting accountability and sharing of best practices;
- the use of the right to food guidelines; and
- a report by the High-level Panel of Experts on FSN (HLPE) on multistakeholder partnerships (MSPs) to finance and improve food security in the framework of the 2030 Agenda.
An Introduction to CFS
CFS was established in 1974 as an intergovernmental body to serve as a forum in the UN system for review and follow-up of policies concerning world food security, including production and physical and economic access to food. Its first session was held in 1976. In response to calls for a revised food policy governance system from the 2008 and 2009 G8 Summits and the 2009 World Summit on Food Security, CFS underwent a reform in 2009. The reform aimed at making CFS more effective by including a wider group of stakeholders and increasing its ability to promote policies that ensure FSN for all.
CFS now serves as an inclusive international, intergovernmental and multistakeholder platform. Its mandate is to: coordinate a global approach to FSN; promote policy convergence; support and advise countries and regions; coordinate at national and regional levels; promote accountability and share best practices; and develop a global strategic framework for FSN. The framework of the reformed CFS broadens participation and aims to: give a voice to all stakeholders in the world food system; be inclusive and encourage an exchange of views and experiences; and build on empirical evidence and scientific analysis.
In 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) reaffirmed CFS’s “important role and inclusive nature” regarding the world’s determination to “end hunger and to achieve food security as a matter of priority and to end all forms of malnutrition” as reflected in targets 2.1 and 2.2. of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 (end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture).
CFS’s structure includes: the annual Plenary, the main decision-making body; a Bureau (comprised of Member States); an Advisory Group, including representatives from UN bodies, civil society, international agricultural research institutions, international and regional financial institutions, the private sector, philanthropic foundations and prominent individuals; an HLPE on FSN; and the Secretariat, supported by the three Rome-based Agencies (RBAs) – FAO, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Programme (WFP).
CFS deliberations are based on country representation in FAO regional groups. Non-governmental actors are represented through the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) and the Private Sector Mechanism (PSM). At CFS 45, the CSM announced its name change to “Civil Society Mechanism and Indigenous Peoples.”
Major CFS outcomes include: the 2012 Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGTs); the 2014 Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS-RAI); the Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crises (CFS-FFA); and the Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition (GSF), a reference document containing practical guidance on recommendations, policies and strategies for FSN, that is updated annually.
CFS 42 (12-15 October 2015, Rome) endorsed the CFS-FFA and recommendations on Water for Food Security and Nutrition. The meeting also launched new areas of work, including on CFS’s role in nutrition and in the 2030 Agenda.
CFS 43 (17-21 October 2016) adopted recommendations for policy convergence on the role of livestock in sustainable agricultural development for FSN, and on promoting smallholder access to markets; and terms of reference (TORs) to share experiences and good practices in applying CFS decisions and recommendations by organizing events at all levels. The meeting also mandated intersessional work on CFS’s contribution to the 2030 Agenda, on nutrition, and on urbanization and rural transformation.
CFS 44 (9-13 October 2017) adopted decisions on, among other issues: the 2017 report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI 2017); lessons learned from implementing the 2030 Agenda; the HLPE report on Nutrition and Food Systems; and good practices and lessons sharing for improved nutrition.
CFS 45 Report
On Monday, 15 October 2018, CFS Chair Mario Arvelo (Dominican Republic) opened CFS 45, drawing attention to man-made conflicts and climate change as drivers of food insecurity, and highlighting the right to food.
Organizational Matters: Plenary adopted the agenda and timetable (CFS 2018/45/1 Rev.2; CFS 2018/45//inf/1 Rev.1 and CFS 2018/45/inf/2 Rev.1) and established a drafting committee to be chaired by Antonio Sá Ricarte (Brazil). CFS Secretary ad interim Mark McGuire announced that CFS now has 128 Members.
José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General, emphasized the need to take action on nutrition, stating that otherwise hunger will undermine the 2030 Agenda. He stressed the: growing trend of obesity, especially in Asia and Africa; the importance of addressing diets; the need for policies and actions at the national level; the importance of developing voluntary guidelines on food systems and nutrition; the role of rural women; the UN Decade of Family Farming 2019-2028; and the need to strengthen CFS.
David Beasley, WFP Executive Director, highlighted that 80% of the WFP’s expenditure is in war zones, stating that conflict drives hunger and makes food unaffordable, and called for a humanitarian development perspective.
Cornelia Richter, IFAD Vice President, stressed the need for a more systemic approach to food systems and the importance of scalable technologies, such as precision farming. She drew attention to a more targeted approach to development cooperation, focusing on diets, nutrition-sensitive value chains, and the role of smallholders.
Patrick Caron, HLPE Steering Committee Chair, said the HLPE’s report on MSPs to finance and improve FSN in the framework of the 2030 Agenda helps promote understanding of the complementary roles, contributions and limits of collaborations with different actors.
Zala Shardaben Fathesinh, Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), shared the challenges and opportunities small farmers face in India and how climate change makes exploitation worse. She emphasized how training and the use of technological tools have been empowering women to deal with food insecurity challenges.
In statements delivered by ministers and high-level representatives, Members outlined national policies, initiatives and success stories and offered to share knowledge and experiences. Germany said an increase in global hunger is unacceptable, because “an empty stomach knows no peace,” and announced its financial support for developing voluntary guidelines on food systems and nutrition. Thailand said tackling the double burden of malnutrition is essential to achieving the SDGs. Brazil provided an update on its Bolsa Familia Programme, now administered at the regional level in combination with school feeding and other measures.
Oman reported an increase in national self-sufficiency from 40% to 66% through integrated approaches across sectors. The United Arab Emirates underlined research and development, and food labeling as part of a whole-of-country food security strategy. Iraq noted that achieving the SDGs requires support from all sectors, noting his country’s challenges due to recent conflicts.
The Republic of Korea outlined international research and dissemination initiatives to share the knowledge gained from ending hunger in two generations. Switzerland urged increasing resilience to climate change without stressing natural systems and livelihoods, including through integrated food systems approaches, MSPs and responsible investments.
The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World
This item was addressed on Monday morning and Friday afternoon. The decision was adopted during the closing session on Friday afternoon.
On Monday morning, Kostas Stamoulis, Assistant Director-General, FAO Economic and Social Development Department, highlighted that world hunger continues to rise. He said SOFI 2018 focuses on the role of climate extremes and variabilities, but also considers other key forces such as extreme poverty and conflicts. He emphasized the co-existence of multiple forms of malnutrition noting that obesity is an important rising challenge in developing countries, especially in Africa and Asia. He then explained how different types of climate extremes affect food security, highlighting the need for climate resilience.
Uganda shared experiences on how his country ensures food security for refugees. Finland urged strengthening climate resilience and extending partnerships beyond governments. The Russian Federation outlined its contribution to international humanitarian action, especially in Syria, with financial and technical assistance for sustainable food production.
Via Campesina highlighted that the inclusion of “indigenous people” to the name of the CSM recognizes their right to self-determination. The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) acknowledged the name change but preferred establishing a separate mechanism for indigenous peoples to ensure inclusion. Bolivia highlighted that the inclusion of indigenous people in the CSM is a welcome and important development.
Africa emphasized the need to resolve conflicts peacefully, accelerate action for resilience. The US said that ending conflict and driving resilience are key ways to improve food security, noting the Food for Peace Program as an example of how the US gives food assistance worldwide. Venezuela cautioned that unilateral financial and trade measures may undermine the right to food.
Asia said the links between climate, agriculture and food production are undeniable, stressing the need to build climate resilience, balance food security and food safety, and acknowledge the key role of women in combating food insecurity. Sudan suggested that governments adopt mid-term plans and include the private sector in efforts to achieve food security, by adopting laws that facilitate agriculture, for example relating to land tenure and smart agriculture.
Austria, on behalf of the European Union (EU), recognized the need to act collectively and in a coordinated manner in order to strengthen resilience. The Private Sector Mechanism (PSM) said more time should be spent in considering SDG target 2.2 (ending all forms of malnutrition), especially anemia among women of reproductive age. The Near East proposed that future SOFI reports should address social protection for vulnerable groups, disaggregate data on undernourishment by income, and invite the International Food Policy Research Center (IFPRI) as a full partner in the production of SOFI. South Sudan, on behalf of the G77/China, urged more work on climate variability and resilience, noting this requires cross-sectorial and holistic approaches. South Africa proposed that CFS build on the global success in reducing childhood stunting.
Citing the need for more data on agriculture, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation described its “50 X 2030” Initiative to support 50 countries to conduct two agricultural surveys by 2030. Nicaragua called for a stronger global commitment to prevent, reduce and reverse climate change. New Zealand stressed the need to eliminate trade barriers.
China said scientists should contribute to the SOFI, and companies and civil society should be active partners in mobilizing cooperation. Algeria asked specialized UN agencies, research institutions and philanthropic organizations to support Africa’s efforts to achieve the SDGs.
The SOFI discussion continued on Friday afternoon. Bangladesh highlighted that it is a food self-sufficient country and shared its national experiences in addressing hunger. Japan recognized that humanitarian assistance is a tool for adaptation and shared information on events and initiatives related to hunger that will be implemented to strengthen its partnerships with other nations. India expressed concern regarding the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) methodology used in the SOFI 2018.
Indonesia shared national experiences on legislations, policies and strategies adopted in relation to nutrition development and called for the international community to continue its effort in addressing world hunger. Norway noted that the multilateral negotiation system is under pressure and emphasized the importance of the UN development system reform process. He also highlighted the role of the ocean and the marine environment as a source of nutrition.
Delegates then debated how the Committee’s opinion on the SOFI 2018 report should appear in the final report and agreed to the proposal presented by Chair Mario Arvelo for the inclusion of an additional paragraph.
Final Outcome: In the report, the CFS: expresses its deepest concern about the rising number of food insecure people in the world and the negative trends in hunger and malnutrition as highlighted in the SOFI 2018 report; and calls on all stakeholders to take the necessary actions to reverse these trends.
SOFI 2018 – Panel: On Monday afternoon, Joyce Kanyangwa Luma, WFP moderated a panel on the SOFI 2018 Report.
Bruce Hewitson, University of Cape Town, South Africa, urged consideration of large-scale climate drivers, such as El Niño, in order to understand how food security is affected by climate change. He highlighted the importance of transdisciplinary research and evaluation of the entire food system, rather than of individual crops.
John Ingram, Oxford University, UK, presented the differences between shocks and stresses, and underlined the need to adopt a food system approach. He said more private sector participation, along with governments and civil society, is fundamental to achieving food security.
Tui Shortland, Te Kopu, Pacic Indigenous & Local Knowledge Centre of Distinction, New Zealand, emphasized the need for partnerships with civil society and indigenous peoples. She stressed the need to consider traditional approaches to adaptation and improving food security, as well as the role of traditional knowledge in building resilience.
Thato Moagi, Legae La Banareng Farms, South Africa, highlighted the importance of social entrepreneurship and the need to engage with local communities. He noted platforms, public and private partnership and joint ventures as tools to support local communities’ adaptation and to increase resilience.
In the ensuing discussion, CSM emphasized dialogue and political will to achieve Zero Hunger and that governments need to commit to all instruments produced by CFS. PSM noted the importance of inspiring and investing in young farmers, young leaders and youth organizations.
South Africa emphasized gender equality, in particular women’s access to land. Sudan called for attention to small scale farmers. Delegates also discussed, among other issues, the need to pay closer attention to the definition of notions such as resilience and public goods, as well as to consider capacity development.
The State of Food and Agriculture 2018
On Monday afternoon, Kostas Stamoulis, FAO Assistant Director-General, moderated a panel discussion on the relationship between migration, agriculture and rural development. The session provided an opportunity to discuss the findings of the 2018 Report on the State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA 2018) (CFS 2018/45/inf/14), which focuses on migration and rural development and was launched that day.
Andrea Cattaneo, Editor SOFA 2018, presented the report, noting an increase in regional migration among developing countries, which now exceeds migration from developing to developed countries. He said policies should aim at maximizing the benefits of migration, highlighting that rural migration continues to be central to social and economic development.
Paula Alvarez, International Organization for Migration (IOM), discussed counteracting the negative perception of migration. She said it was important to make migration policies more sensitive to the SDGs and to make sector policies more inclusive of migration. On development strategies, Bruno Losch, Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), underlined a territorial approach and strengthening linkages between urban and rural development.
For CSM, Nadijurou Sall, Network of Farmers and Agricultural Producers’ Organizations from West Africa (ROPPA), discussed challenges, namely: the lack of education in the agriculture sector; a territorial approach to migration; and the status of youth and their access to financial mechanisms. For PSM, Hlamalani Ngwenya, University of Free State, South Africa, listed key needs, including: responsible rural investment; infrastructure development; a financing mechanism; diversification of enterprise; enabling policy frameworks; strategic partnerships; and a focus on reducing corruption.
Delegates discussed, inter alia: forced displacement vs migration by choice; cross-border migration; multidimensional poverty in rural areas; the future of youth; and rural women. Stamoulis called migration “a force of development” and stressed the lack of comparative data to better understand migratory flows.
CFS Evaluation – Implementation of the Response
On Wednesday morning, CFS Evaluation Co-facilitators Oliver Mellenthin (Germany) and Tian Jiani (China) summarized the Plan of Action (CFS 2018/45/2) and the report on Implementation of the Response to the Evaluation (CFS 2018/45/3).
Switzerland suggested narrowing the scope of the MYPoW and increasing sharing of experiences of CFS policy products and commended the increased transparency of the work of the Chair and Bureau. The Near East underscored the need to ensure sustainable funds and support by the RBAs. He said the role of the CFS Chair should be clarified and encouraged closer engagement of the Bureau and the HLPE Steering Committee.
PSM said the focus should be on implementation and on developing the MYPoW in line with resources. The EU stressed the right to food, gender mainstreaming, and commitment of Members and stakeholders. He called for strong support from the RBAs for delivering policy guidance.
The EU also called for strong support from the RBAs for delivering policy guidance, with the Netherlands suggesting forming a Youth Council that can provide input to CFS meetings. France said the Open-ended Working Groups (OEWGs) should strive to accommodate UN languages in the discussions. He stated that CFS should foster more engagement of Members and include better representation of farmers.
Africa highlighted: ensuring sustainable funding with a resource mobilization strategy supported by the RBAs; focusing on the role of agriculture and food in development policies especially for smallholders; rural women; and the right to food. He asked to clarify the role of the CFS Chair, strengthen the Bureau, and for FAO to provide technical support and promote its CFS implementation.
CSM said the RBAs should better support CFS and its goals, proposed prioritizing the dissemination of CFS products, and stressed commitment to the right to food and mainstreaming gender. GRULAC welcomed intensifying collaboration among countries and strengthening RBA engagement especially on the use of policy products at all levels. She suggested that the Steering Committee of the HLPE should interact more frequently with the Advisory Group and the Bureau, and that the Advisory Group should make more substantive submissions to the Bureau.
The Russian Federation called for appropriate planning during the intersessional period, careful use of financial sources, geographic representation and coherence with the reformed CFS principles and rules of procedures adopted in 2009. Mexico supported recommendations to restructure the MYPoW, implementing more long-term strategies, and ensuring adequate resources for CFS.
On coordination, WFP suggested that the Plan of Action should reflect the linkages with other multistakeholder initiatives, such as the Scaling-up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. New Zealand said HLPE reports should be disseminated more widely.
Brazil and the US expressed concern with the low attendance at meetings, with the US proposing a decrease in the number of intersessional meetings and fostering broader stakeholder engagement in those meetings. He urged all Members to focus on priorities within available resources.
Canada said CFS should position itself according to the outcomes of the UN development system reform process. She also called for more inclusion of farmers as first implementers. Germany acknowledged the usefulness of CFS products such as the 2012 Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGTs) and the 2014 Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS-RAI), noting the challenge to translate them to targeted actions.
Responding to calls for RBA support, FAO highlighted its current contributions to implementation of CFS products, noting that CFS challenges evolve. Noting weak implementation of CFS policy guidance, IFAD called for all stakeholders to commit to implementing the evaluation response. Nigeria emphasized Members’ responsibility to implement CFS recommendations on the ground. World Farmers’ Organization (WFO) said farmers should be represented in the Advisory Group and other CFS mechanisms.
Mellenthin suggested referencing the renewed commitment expressed by many Members. The US opposed, and delegates approved the draft decision without change.
Final Outcome: In the report, the CFS: endorses the document “CFS Evaluation: Plan of Action-with Draft Decision” (CFS 2018/45/2); and endorses the document “CFS Implementation – Implementation of the Response to the Evaluation” (CFS 2018/45/3), acknowledging that the 2009 Reform Document remains the cornerstone of CFS work.
Critical and Emerging Issues in Food Security and Nutrition – Towards a Strategic Multi-Year Programme of Work 2020-2023
This item was discussed on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon.
Chair Arvelo explained that to date, no agreement has been reached on the theme for the next HLPE report, noting a proposal by the Bureau to ask the HLPE to prepare a stocktaking analysis of its reports over the last decade to inform discussions on future directions for CFS (CFS 2018/45/4). HLPE Steering Committee Chair Patrick Caron highlighted the note prepared by the HLPE (CFS 2018/45/inf/17) that was presented at CFS 44 on critical and emerging issues and included a prioritized list of nine issues for future reports. He expressed the HLPE Steering Committee’s preference for preparing a report on a thematic issue.
The EU encouraged CFS to develop HLPE reports based on the priority list for critical and emerging issues, noting the MYPoW should reflect the HLPE’s work. The Netherlands proposed including conflicts, migration and FSN and, with France, suggested addressing employment and youth. France also highlighted the importance of considering gender equality.
Africa stressed reducing the number of CFS workstreams and proposed five subjects for HLPE reports: agroecology, inequality, conflicts, technology, and governance. She said the MYPoW must be in line with recommendations from the CFS evaluation as well as available resources. She also supported that the HLPE should produce a stocktaking report and coherent global narrative on nutrition, food security and sustainable development.
PSM encouraged reframing agriculture as a rewarding business choice for youth, and that youth and agriculture should be a core theme of the next MYPoW. Germany said CFS should focus on one issue at a time and suggested one report linking the topic of urbanization and rural transformation with technology and another report on the water and agriculture nexus.
South Africa prioritized urbanization and rural transformation, conflicts, inequalities, and governance. He drew attention to the importance of an HLPE stocktaking report and analysis, and further urged that the HLPE should outline the types of recommendations that are most often implemented by Members, in order to make CFS’s contribution more efficient.
FAO, supported by IFAD and Canada, submitted a proposal for the creation of a CFS workstream on women’s empowerment and gender equality. Switzerland supported not limiting the HLPE stocktaking report to SDG 2, but extending it to the 2030 Agenda. The CSM underlined that the rights of women and children should also be considered and suggested that food system transformation is necessary to ensure access to land, control of resources, conservation of biodiversity, and the respect of traditional knowledge.
The Russian Federation cautioned against adopting ambitious targets that are beyond CFS’s mandate, given limited financial resources. The US reiterated the problem of low attendance at CFS intersessional meetings, stressing the need to rethink the allocation of resources, and proposed reducing the number of intersessional meetings. The US was not in favor of the creation of a new workstream on women’s empowerment, preferring to work on data collection, analysis and resilience.
WFP supported the creation of a workstream on women’s empowerment and gender equality, and prioritized: conflict, migration and FSN; and inequalities, vulnerability, marginalized groups and FSN. Costa Rica highlighted the importance of including family and small farmers in the MYPoW. WFO said it is time to evaluate the procedures and guidelines governing HLPE work. Jordan insisted that the MYPoW include work on countries with food insecurity caused by conflicts including countries impacted by conflicts.
Pointing to balance of power and conflicts of interest, Cuba called for ending embargos and sanctions, saying these lead to high incidents of food insecurity. The International Development Law Organization highlighted the important role the rule of law plays in the realization of the right to food. The Adventist Development Relief Agency shared its experience in humanitarian assistance and emphasized its availability to assist in implementing CFS goals.
CFS Chair Arvelo presented a Chair’s summary of the main issues noted. The US, the Russian Federation and Afghanistan opposed adding the summary to the meeting’s report and inquired about the process for deciding which issues will be selected for further discussion and inclusion in the MYPoW. After extended debate, delegates agreed that the Chair would communicate the outcomes of the session to the Bureau for further consideration.
Final Outcome: In the report, the CFS:
- takes note of the views expressed and the potential issues suggested during the session as an important element for upcoming discussions on the preparation of the next CFS MYPoW;
- recommends that the CFS Bureau, in collaboration with the Advisory Group, and with the support and participation of interested CFS stakeholders, work on the preparation of the CFS MYPoW 2020-2023 to be submitted for consideration and endorsement at CFS 46; and
- requests the HLPE to undertake a study on “Food Security and Nutrition: Building a Global Narrative towards 2030.”
CFS Workstream Updates and Decisions
Endorsement of the Terms of Reference for Policy Guidance on Food Systems and Nutrition: On Wednesday afternoon, Chair Arvelo reported that Lilian Ortega (Switzerland) had replaced Khaled El-Taweel (Egypt) as Chair of the OEWG on Nutrition.
Ortega presented the Terms of Reference (TORs) for the Preparation of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition (CFS 2018/45/6) and the draft decision (CFS 2018/45/5). She said the aim of the guidelines is to address policy fragmentation in three areas: food supply chains, food environment, and food behavior. She noted Germany’s financial contribution to support five regional consultations.
Africa acknowledged the interlinkages between poverty, nutrition and development.
Cape Verde, for the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), announced that CPLP created a group on nutrition and food systems in 2018. El Salvador, for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), stressed the importance of South-South and triangular cooperation to complement North-South cooperation.
The EU encouraged more engagement of the private sector and civil society, and highlighted the adoption of food-system based approaches and dissemination at country level. PSM noted that SDG 2 will require multidisciplinary approaches. France added that crosscutting issues and food systemic approaches should be considered. Supported by CSM, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Norway asked to include fisheries and adoption of a human-rights based approach in the guidelines. The Russian Federation supported adding fisheries and proposed also considering sustainable diets. Mexico proposed that native crops and their economic value be added to the TORs.
Egypt said CFS should provide guidance to realize the right to food and called on CFS to continue focusing on the most vulnerable people. WFP underlined the importance of addressing the root causes of food insecurity by investing in humanitarian aid and food assistance.
UN Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) called for the involvement of other UN agencies beyond the RBAs. Switzerland wished to add reference to other bodies working on similar issues such as on sustainable diets and highlighted that consumption cannot be treated in isolation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) pointed to the importance of adopting robust laws, fiscal measures and reformulating food products with nutrition labelling, as well as restricting markets for unhealthy food. UNPFII drew attention to the need to consider indigenous traditions, culture, spirituality and their relation to the surrounding environment.
The US called for a holistic and multidisciplinary approach, as well as evidence-based strategies, and expressed concerns about the TORs’ broad scope. Canada stressed: gender equality and women’s empowerment; adolescent girls; and climate change. FAO drew attention to the development of a platform to assess people’s diets.
Raising concerns about the increase in chronic diseases, Argentina asked to consider work to reduce risk factors and improve the role of technological innovation and called for coordination with the work of the Codex Alimentarius. WFO called for a holistic approach that addresses all root causes of malnutrition and asked for opportunities for farmers to participate in the development of the guidelines.
Delegates then discussed whether to refer to a previous CFS document to address a request by Brazil to refer to “food and nutrition security” rather than “food security and nutrition.” CFS Secretary ad interim McGuire clarified that no decision had been taken on the issue to date and the Chair suggested referring the matter to the elements paper for consideration by the OEWG on Nutrition.
Delegates agreed and approved the draft decision with minor amendments.
Final Outcome: In the report, CFS:
- endorses the TOR for the preparation of CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition, in support of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016-2025;
- recognizes the importance of an inclusive process, open to all interested stakeholders, facilitated by the CFS Secretariat, under the guidance of the OEWG on Nutrition, and with the assistance of its Technical Task Team;
- emphasizes the importance of the planned consultation phases for the ownership and success of the process, and invites all relevant CFS stakeholders to actively participate;
- invites CFS Members and stakeholders to provide adequate financial resources to enable the implementation of the policy convergence process ensuring that all the planned activities are carried out within available resources; and
- requests that the Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition be submitted for endorsement by CFS 47 in 2020.
CFS Contribution to the HLPF 2019: On Wednesday afternoon, Willem Olthof (EU), Facilitator of OEWG-SDGs, introduced document CFS 2018/45/7 containing four draft key messages on CFS’s contributions to the theme of HLPF 2019 ‘Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality, and a draft decision (CFS 2018/45/8).
The EU asked that a reference to “migration pressure” be replaced with “forced migration” and, with Switzerland, asked that the document be as short and concise as possible.
Argentina, Australia and the PSM asked to mention the role of technology, including biotechnology, to FSN. The CSM opposed, noting that CFS has not discussed the role of biotechnology before, and that the document should be based on agreed language. Chair Arvelo clarified that CFS is open to all contributions by all stakeholders, noting a reference to biotechnology would be in order.
PSM and Switzerland asked to emphasize the importance of investing in education, noting that the CFS Principles for Responsible Investments in Agriculture and Food Systems, highlight the role of quality education for fostering gender equality and engaging and empowering youth.
The Netherlands asked Members to support implementation of a 2018 UN Security Council Resolution on hunger, conflict and food insecurity. Supported by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, the US requested stating that the right to food is connected to all human rights rather than highlighting a subset of rights. Africa highlighted the specific challenges of African countries and encouraged more work on the impacts of armed conflict and terrorism in poor countries.
WFO called for a more concrete and effective functioning of CFS during HLPF considering its multistakeholder nature and inclusiveness.
Delegates agreed to the draft decision.
Final Outcome: In the report, CFS:
- notes the 2018 UN HLPF Ministerial Declaration which reiterates that ending hunger and achieving food security is fundamental for sustainable development, referencing key messages promoted by CFS and the RBAs;
- reiterates its commitment to intensifying efforts to promote the use of CFS policy recommendations in all countries, with a view to promoting policy coherence for FSN;
- considers the document CFS/2018/45/7 “CFS Draft Contribution to the 2019 High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Global Review” as an adequate basis for the CFS contribution to the 2019 HLPF review, noting it should be updated with CFS 45 outcomes and the latest international statistics and trends on FSN;
- decides to continue sending inputs for future reviews of the HLPF beyond 2019;
- requests that the draft contribution for 2020 be submitted to CFS 46; and
- encourages all CFS stakeholders to increase their coordinated engagement at different levels in the follow-up and review process of the 2030 Agenda.
Promoting Accountability and Sharing of Best Practices: On Wednesday afternoon, Anne Marie Moulton (South Africa), Chair of the OEWG on Monitoring, presented the document on Accountability (CFS 2018/45/9).
The EU encouraged sharing of experience to promote the application of policy products and supported assessing the potential of interconnected policy recommendations on smallholder agriculture, connecting smallholders to markets, and sustainable agriculture. PSM asked to collate lessons learned and suggested not combining the terms smallholder and family farms. Switzerland suggested that the policy process can be enhanced by side events. Africa said governments are responsible for evaluating progress as well as ensuring FSN.
WHO said that given the limited time available, looking at impact is quite ambitious. She suggested that CFS could contribute to the UN Decade on Nutrition by looking at nutrition-sensitive elements and drew attention to a focus on diets in public institutions and schools as well as nutrition-sensitive aspects of investments. WFO said monitoring should be enhanced to see how well products have been applied at country level.
Delegates then adopted the decision.
Final Outcome: In the report, the CFS requests the Bureau, in consultation with the Advisory Group and, if necessary seeking additional inputs, to:
- oversee the preparation of Global Thematic Events to be held every two years in plenary;
- oversee the preparation of events organized for fostering the uptake, follow-up and review, and sharing of experiences and good practices on the use and application of other CFS policy recommendations at all levels, through the MYPoW process; and
- oversee the development of the 2019 event for monitoring CFS policy recommendations on Investing in Smallholder Agriculture; Connecting Smallholders to Markets; and Sustainable Agricultural Development Including Livestock during CFS 46.
Global Thematic Event on the Right to Food Guidelines
On Thursday morning, delegates heard from keynote speakers and panelists before engaging in a moderated discussion on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security (CFS 2018/45/inf/20).
Kostas Stamoulis, Assistant Director-General, FAO, spoke on milestones towards realizing the right to food and highlighted how the Guidelines are being taken up, such as through amending constitutions, adopting policy frameworks and creating programmes for social protection.
Hilal Elver, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, emphasized the need to make a clear connection between the right to food and food security. She noted that the world produces 70% more food per person than it did 30 years ago and stated that the right to food can make agriculture policies more effective given that the absence of food is not the root cause of food insecurity. She said policy must be implemented in the form of enforceable legal rights, pointing to several countries that have embedded the right to food into their constitutions.
Livia Pomodoro, UNESCO Chair on the right to food, stated that effectiveness of the Guidelines depends on implementation by Members and involving citizens at all levels to prevent any form of discrimination.
Anne Marie Moulton, Chair, OEWG on Monitoring, introduced the report on Experiences Best Practices in the Application of the Right to Food (CFS 2018/45/inf/19). She said a total of 56 contributions have been submitted by Members and stakeholders including 41 individual experiences and 15 multistakeholder events at various levels aimed at raising awareness, monitoring, establishing multistakeholder mechanisms, and exposing violations to the right to food.
Michael Windfuhr, Institute for Human Rights, Germany, moderated an interactive panel discussion with three objectives: sharing good experiences in application of the Guidelines; monitoring their use and application at all levels; and increasing understanding of the Guidelines.
Badrul Aren, Ministry of Food, Bangladesh, outlined examples of national laws, policies and strategies adopted in Bangladesh for the implementation of the right to food, such as the Right to Food Act 2017. He underlined the importance of non-state actors and their collaboration for implementing the right to food and outlined remaining challenges, including: the recognition of access to land and tenure rights; the reduction of gender inequality; and the need for further funding and coordination.
Issiaka Bictogo, Food Security and National Council, Burkina Faso, highlighted that since 2008, national development plans have been supporting vulnerable people and assisting people that are food insecure. He drew attention to the engagement of civil society and to the role of the National Food Security Council. He explained how monitoring, coordination and funding tools are implemented and indicated that more work on capacity building is needed.
Elisa María Cadena Gaona, Ministry of Health and Social Protection, Colombia, described how dialogue and participation are linked to the right to food. She highlighted the important role of NGOs and academia in strengthening the capacity of people to claim their right to food. She said that despite progress, further efforts are necessary to: work with local communities; recognize the importance of women; motivate consumers to choose healthier foods; and recognize the complementary role of traditional knowledge.
Peter Schmidt, President of the European Economic and Social Committee’s Sustainable Development Observatory, highlighted that the right to food is not a policy priority in Europe because it is “considered a question of charity.” He emphasized as solutions: discussing food values; establishing a Directorate General at the EU Commission dedicated to food systems; fostering alternative economic models; and redefining the objectives of market competition in the context of food security.
Ramona Duminicioiu, Coordinator of the CSM Working Group on Monitoring, presented the key findings of the Civil Society Report on the use and implementation of the Guidelines, highlighting that the right to food, as well as women’s rights and gender equality must be at the center of CFS work. She also recommended addressing accountability and ensuring meaningful tools of participation for those most affected.
In the ensuing discussion, CPLP supported CFS as a platform for realizing the right to food, noting its role in monitoring progress and ensuring inclusiveness. PSM said many stakeholders are unaware of their contributions to the right to food and proposed making the Guidelines more accessible and easier to monitor.
Norway and the EU called for a rights-based approach to FSN and the realization of the right to food, and urged stronger action and collaboration at national and international levels. Spain added that the right to food is a cornerstone for SDG implementation because of its cross-cutting nature. France highlighted the role of social protection and the social responsibility of business.
Supported by CSM and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Switzerland called for reinforcing linkages between the right to food and all other human rights. She proposed that the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food provide an update on the status of implementation of the right to food at the opening of every CFS Plenary. The Russian Federation opposed references to rights-based approaches and requested that its position be reflected in the meeting report.
OHCHR underlined the importance of all human rights for FSN noting that the root causes of hunger are, among others, power imbalances among and within countries, inequality and abusive business practices. Noting that conflict and climate change have disproportionate impacts on marginalized people, she called for vital safety nets.
Jordan inquired: how many countries have implemented specific legislation on the right to food; how the group of friends on the right to food at the HLPF will be coordinated; whether a global rights-based approach to encourage healthy and adequate food exists; and whether relevant authorities are giving priority to food accessibility in conflict situations. FAO said information on national legislation on the right to food is available on its website. Palestine said the right to food cannot be achieved without self-determination. Argentina supported a rights-based approach within CFS and highlighted monitoring efforts under the San Salvador Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights.
In his summary, moderator Windfuhr said the examples presented show that the Guidelines are being taken up at national level and are influencing other international instruments. He noted that new policy fields such as climate change need to be included in the Guidelines. He also suggested that the review of governance of SDG implementation at HLPF 2019 could be an opportunity for CFS and the RBAs to share experiences in governance-based approaches.
Final Outcome: In the report, the CFS: welcomes the Global Thematic Event and takes note of the documents provided for the event.
HLPE Report on Multistakeholder Partnerships to Finance And Improve Food Security and Nutrition in the Framework of The 2030 Agenda
This item was discussed on Thursday afternoon. Chair Arvelo underscored funding gaps and the need to clarify a follow-up process to this work. Moraka Makhura, HLPE project team leader, presented the summary report and recommendations on Multistakeholder Partnerships to finance and improve food security and nutrition in the framework of the 2030 Agenda (CFS 2018/45/10). He discussed survey responses assessing: financial needs, sustainable development needs, and global challenges. He noted that recommendations encompass mobilization of resources, transparency, accountability, monitoring, and financing.
India described its public food grain distribution system that utilizes a network of 4.5 million shops. The EU called for continued dialogue on how to develop multistakeholder and other partnerships to fully harness their potential. Thailand discussed national efforts to address FSN. Africa said MSPs should be a tool and not an end, and their financing should not be a substitute for government funding for FSN.
PSM recognized the uniqueness of this HLPE report among sparse MSP literature and asked whether CFS can build more partnerships. Afghanistan underlined its interest in national and external partnerships, as well as partnerships among the donors themselves. The US said MSPs should be an integral element, especially to unlock financing. He said the politicization of MSPs can dampen their effectiveness.
Switzerland regretted that the report discusses more potential limitations and challenges than benefits, highlighting two benefits of MSPs as frameworks for bilateral collaboration and for connecting local practices and global norms. She said the report is important for the upcoming 2020 HLPE report on building a global narrative.
CSM encouraged ensuring MSPs are effectively contributing to the right to food and questioned whose interests were being served by MSPs. He proposed that the CFS Advisory Group follow up on the report. WFO said MSPs allow knowledge sharing and advocacy for marginalized groups. Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, described a community-based nutrition programme involving gardens.
Caron expressed hope that the report could mobilize, and be a basis for, further work beyond CFS 45. France urged delegates to avoid inserting language that delays action on the HLPE’s work and would prohibit CFS from advancing dialogue on MSPs role in FSN. Several delegates expressed concern about how the lack of clarity about follow-up on this report would reflect on the strength of CFS. Several also lamented the lack of translation of the report, noting this reflects poorly on CFS.
Final Outcome: In the report, CFS: regrets that the HLPE report was not made available in all official languages and requests the CFS Secretariat to take further steps towards securing additional funding for translation; and suggests that the report serve as the starting point for a follow-up process focusing on knowledge and lesson-sharing on effective MSPs at different scales, and requests the Bureau to define the details of such a process.
Good Practices and Lesson Sharing
This item was addressed on Friday morning.
Food Systems and Nutrition: Valentina Savastano, CFS Vice Chair, opened the panel session moderated by Anna Lartey, Director of the Nutrition and Food Systems Division, FAO.
Keynote speaker, Stineke Oenema, UNSCN Coordinator, presented the outcomes of the UNSCN Expert Group Meeting linking nutrition and the SDGs held in June 2018 prior to the 2018 HLPF session. She highlighted the need to incorporate nutrition concerns into all relevant policies and the adoption of a holistic, food system approach, while encouraging strong governance at all levels to ensure accountability. Pointing out that non-communicable diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, Oenema reminded delegates of the importance of the UN Decade on Nutrition 2016-2025.
Oenema said addressing FSN would not only advance the achievement of nutrition-related SDG targets but would also accelerate the achievement of the entire 2030 Agenda. She addressed the interlinkages between nutrition and five other SDGs: SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 12 (responsible consumption and production) and 15 (life on land). Oenema underlined that nutrition is a complex and multi-sectoral issue that requires horizontal coherence.
On a question regarding challenges, Steineke responded that institutions still need to learn to work outside of traditional silos and recommended that policy makers and donors aim to integrate nutrition across sectors and budgets. As a key message, she said nutrition is too important to leave to one ministry alone, encouraging Members to integrate planning.
Zhang Zhiqiang, National Health Commission, China, presented his country’s experience in fighting: child malnutrition; nutrition-related diseases, such as obesity and hypertension; and elder society nutrition problems. He highlighted some features of China’s National Nutritional Plan and related actions, including reduction of anemia and improvement of nutritional levels in school cafeterias by enforcing, improving and adopting new policies, norms and standards.
Afghanistan inquired about the cost of China’s nutrition policy, cost-sharing with the private sector, and impacts on other sectors, such as decreased health expenditures. Zhiqiang responded that calculating expenses is challenging due to the complex nature of nutrition, noting that reducing health costs is one of the aims of the programme. As a key message, he underlined that the response to nutrition challenges must be knowledge-based.
Kora Perlzweig, Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Germany, presented her country’s initiatives and innovations to improve nutrition by fostering education and nutrition competence, especially for children and youth. She also outlined initiatives to improve the quality of convenience food and food served in schools, and to reduce food waste. She welcomed and highlighted that the food and nutrition guideline will provide more ideas on how to implement the European Commission’s proposals on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) beyond 2020.
WFP asked how Germany is involving the private sector in efforts to improve the quality of convenience food. Perlzweig responded that through outreach and agreements, companies are beginning to recognize their role in providing healthier food. On a question about targeting the right populations, she said that in Germany, the main challenge is to ensure balanced diets, especially for school children, by making healthier food more attractive. Her key message was to make healthy food the easier choice.
Marisa Macari, El Poder de Consumidor, Mexico, outlined three key actions that could contribute to tackling Zero Hunger and contribute to SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production): reducing production of ultra-processed foods; adopting policies for promoting agroecology and production of local foods; and adopting legal measures to ensure implementation, such as Mexico’s tax on sugary beverages. She said these actions should be led by government action, with regulation of corporate behavior to avoid negative influence on public opinion, and in national and international policy adoption.
On a question regarding economic impacts of the sugary beverage tax, she responded that industry is pushing back, but that so far there is no evidence that the tax has led to a loss in employment.
Cynthia Anna Brown, Chippewa Valley Bean Co Inc, PSM, emphasized that the achievement of nutritional goals is crucial for all 17 SDGs. She highlighted that pulses can be an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, especially for tackling anemia in women of reproductive age and highlighted how the cultivation of pulses can contribute to the achievement of SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation).
Asked for advice on how to engage the private sector, Brown said that experiences from Germany and China show that companies are willing to reformulate their products and use healthier ingredients. Responding to a question about how to protect children from food advertising, she emphasized the need to update regulation to cover advertising on the internet and social media. Her key message was that healthier diets cannot be achieved without the private sector.
Lartey concluded that the examples provided show the value of exchanging experiences and learning with one other. She said the UN Decade on Nutrition offers many opportunities to raise awareness and called on Members to translate awareness into action.
CFS and the Agenda 2030: CFS Vice Chair Valentina Savastano explained that the session on CFS and Agenda 2030 (CFS 2018/45/inf/23) aims to show how countries that have presented Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) at HLPF in July 2018 have implemented the SDGs to date. She invited Amir Abdulla, WFP Deputy Executive Director, to moderate the session. Abdulla emphasized that the SDGs are interlinked and indivisible.
Gabriel Ferrero, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Spain, discussed the cross-sectoral mobilization efforts on the SDGs taking place in all ministries of its government. He said the VNR process has triggered significant institutional changes, including within Spain’s mission to the FAO. The realignment created new sectoral tensions, he said, for example between the ministries of energy and agriculture. He called the 2030 Agenda an “Agenda of political choices” where success requires becoming more inclusive.
Patricia Rodriguez, Alternate Permanent Representative of the UN Agencies, Dominican Republic, reported on her country’s implementation of a roadmap for SDG 2, which identifies gaps and priority actions, and allows for public and private integration. Highlighting that the Dominican Republic has achieved a 60% reduction in undernutrition since the 1990s, she described a school food programme that impacts 1.8 million individuals, as well as a family food basket programme. Regarding challenges, she discussed nutritional culture behavior change and financing. Abdulla commented that the Dominican Republic is jointly addressing SDG 4 (education) via school meals, SDG 17 (partnerships) by working across government, society, and schools, and SDG 1 (poverty).
Sid Ahmed Alamain, Alternate Permanent Representative of the UN Agencies, Sudan, discussed a national council committed to achieving the 2030 Agenda. Regarding water scarcity, he described the “Zero Thirst” initiative launched to provide water resources to livestock and humans. He underscored the importance for Sudan to address climate change and drew attention to the use of Smart Agriculture. He highlighted four challenges faced in the VNR process: addressing livelihoods of women in agriculture and making women more visible; making agriculture attractive to youth; shortening value chains; and measuring achievements towards the SDGs. He noted that CFS policies and guidelines have been implemented in the Darfur region and expressed hope that agricultural investment would be part of its ongoing food insecurity solution.
In the ensuing discussion, CSM spoke on extreme weather, water pollution, and indigenous peoples and inquired about how the links between climate change, poverty, and hunger will be adequately addressed. PSM underscored: agricultural transformation, raising productivity and quality of agriculture, and sustainable agri-food systems. He said family farming is a crucial element of sustainable development and a stronger focus on youth in agriculture is needed.
Urging the RBAs to double their efforts, Africa stressed: low food production; the need for large-scale humanitarian support; the need for climate change preparedness and greater resilience to economic shocks; and the importance of a VNR for implementation of the SDGs.
The panelists then fielded several questions from Plenary, including on: sharing strategies with neighboring countries; how VNRs aid the institutionalization of the 2030 Agenda; identifying main successes and mapping challenges; climate change, poverty, and water scarcity; youth; and the CFS products.
Burkina Faso restated commitment for establishment of an International Day of Pulses by the UN General Assembly and linking it to SDG 2.
The closing session convened on Friday afternoon. CFS Secretary ad interim McGuire announced that CFS 46 will be held from 14-18 October 2019, in Rome. He noted that Argentina will replace Brazil in the Bureau.
Drafting Committee Chair Antonio Sá Ricarte (Brazil) presented the report of the meeting (CFS 45 Draft Report), which was adopted without amendments.
Jordan drew attention to the lack of reference in the report to food insecurity in the context of conflicts and crises. In its closing statement, CSM further emphasized the need for CFS to use a holistic approach based on human rights. PSM stressed the need for increased investment in agriculture and rural development, including MSP, and for strategies to support women and youth.
CFS Chair Arvelo closed the meeting at 4:28 pm.