The CFS at its 36th and 37th sessions has entrusted the HLPE with a strong mandate, requesting it to undertake studies and present policy recommendations on a wide range of outstanding issues for the world’s food and nutrition security, including:
- Price volatility and food security (requested at CFS36 in October 2010, published July 2011)
- Land tenure and international investments in agriculture (requested at CFS36 in October 2010, published July 2011)
- Climate change and food security (requested at CFS36)
- Social protection and food security (requested at CFS36)
- Biofuels and food security (requested at CFS37)
- Constraints to investments in smallholder farming (requested at CFS37)
The reports on price volatility and food security and on land tenure and international investments in agriculture have already been finalized and published in July 2011. They served as background to the CFS 37th Plenary discussions that took place in October 2011. The two studies on Social protection and on Climate change are expected to be published in early July 2012, ahead of CFS 38 (to take place 15-20 October 2012). The HLPE intends to complete the studies on biofuels and on constraints to smallholder investment ahead of CFS 39 (to take place in October 2013).
In addition, the HLPE may provide input on priority issues identified by the CFS in the consultative process to develop the first version of the Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition (GSF).
Verbatim from the CFS 36 final report, paragraphs 26-27
The Committee requested the HLPE to undertake studies, to be presented at the 37th Session of the CFS, on the following important issues, in accordance with the CFS reform document agreed in 2009, and the Rules and Procedures for the work of the HLPE:
Land tenure and international investment in agriculture :
- the respective roles of large-scale plantations and of small-scale farming, including economic, social, gender and environmental impacts;
- review of the existing tools allowing the mapping of available land;
- comparative analysis of tools to align large scale investments with country food security strategies
all of its causes and consequences, including market distorting practices and links to financial markets, and appropriate and coherent policies, actions, tools and institutions to manage the risks linked to excessive price volatility in agriculture. This should include prevention and mitigation for vulnerable producers, and consumers, particularly the poor, women and children, that are appropriate to different levels (local, national, regional and international) and are based on a review of existing studies. The study should consider how vulnerable nations and populations can ensure access to food when volatility causes market disruptions.
ways to lessen vulnerability through social and productive safety nets programs and policies with respect to food and nutritional security, taking into consideration differing conditions across countries and regions. This should include a review of the impact of existing policies for the improvement of living conditions and resilience of vulnerable populations, especially small scale rural producers, urban and rural poor as well as women and children. It should also take into account benefits for improving local production and livelihoods and promoting better nutrition.
review existing assessments and initiatives on the effects of climate change on food security and nutrition, with a focus on the most affected and vulnerable regions and populations and the interface between climate change and agricultural productivity, including the challenges and opportunities of adaptation and mitigation policies and actions for food security and nutrition.
Verbatim from the CFS 37 final report
Biofuels (see para 51-i)
The Committee recommends the following action points, their development and implementation, by the appropriate parties and stakeholders: (...) Actions to reduce volatility (...) Review biofuels policies - where applicable and if necessary - according to balanced science-based assessments of the opportunities and challenges they may present for food security so that biofuels can be produced where it is socially, economically and environmentally feasible to do so. In line with this, mandate the HLPE, with full consideration of resources and other CFS priorities, to conduct a science-based comparative literature analysis, taking into consideration the work produced by the FAO and Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP), of the positive and negative effects of biofuels on food security to be presented to the CFS;
Constraints to smallholder investment (see para 29-vii)
The Committee (..) requests the HLPE to include in its plans for future work, taking into account available resources, a comparative study of constraints to smallholder investment in agriculture in different contexts with policy options for addressing these constraints, taking into consideration the work done on this topic by IFAD, and by FAO in the context of COAG, and the work of other key partners. This should include a comparative assessment of strategies for linking smallholders to food value chains in national and regional markets and what can be learned from different experiences, as well as an assessment of the impacts on smallholders of publicprivate as well as farmer cooperative-private and private-private partnerships;