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Civil society readies its voice ahead of annual FAO meeting

Director-General opens the International Food Security and Nutrition Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) meeting that will debate a number of key issues during the annual Committee on World Food Security
Photo: ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano

5 October 2013, Rome – Over 240 civil society representatives hailing from 175 countries across the world met today at FAO headquarters to begin their annual CSM Forum. During the next two days, these representatives will work to find consensus on key issues to be discussed in next week’s plenary meeting of the FAO’s Committee on World Food Security (CFS).

“Social movements and civil society organizations played a key role in driving the reform of the Committee on World Food Security to make it into the main and most inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for policymaking on food security and nutrition within the United Nations,” Graziano da Silva said.

Graziano da Silva continued, “because of this, the reform of the CFS is considered a highly successful experience, and it can and should show the way forward for replicating and deepening inclusive processes for multi-stakeholder dialogue in other United Nations fora.”

“One of the most important achievements, Graziano da Silva said, was the inclusive process of drafting and adopting  FAO’s Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security.

Ángel Strapazzon, representative from La Via Campesina, said “It has taken us 20 years to get here. Before 2009, only a small number of NGOs could participate in the CFS. Today we are achieving change.”

Yaya Olaniran, Chair of the CFS and Nigeria’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to FAO, said, “Thank you all for the achievements since the CFS Reform. Let’s continue working as one, in respect of each other’s opinions and let us never lose our focus.” 

This marks the second year in which the Annual Civil Society Mechanism Forum meets at FAO headquarters. The aim of this weekend’s discussions is to bring a clear and unified voice of civil society to the week-long CFS.

The work of CSM members is facilitated by its Coordination Committee which consists of 41 focal points representing 11 different constituencies and 17 sub-regions. This session will be particularly important as elections will be held for the new members of the Coordination Committee.

Topics of discussion for this year’s meeting of the Civil Society Mechanism include:

·         Responsible agricultural investment

·         Protracted crises

·         Biofuels

·         Coordination and linkages with the CFS

·         Global strategic framework

The CFS meets annually to take stock of progress on reducing food insecurity in the world, and to map out key policy objectives over the course of the year, and these annual plenary sessions complement its intersessional work year-round. The CFS reports annually to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).

opening session CSM.jpg