COMMITTEE ON WORLD FOOD SECURITY
Rome, 23 - 26 May 2005
ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE MID-TERM REVIEW IN 2006: MODALITIES FOR THE SPECIAL FORUM
1. Commitment Seven of the World Food Summit Plan of Action states that:
“We will implement, monitor, and follow-up this Plan of Action at all levels in cooperation with the international community.”
2. Governments further recognized in 7.3(g), the need to:
“Encourage the effective participation of relevant actors in civil society in the CFS monitoring process, recognizing their critical role in enhancing food security.”
3. Specific guidance was provided regarding the timing and overall scope of the follow-up process:
“By 2006, undertake, in the CFS and within available resources, a major broad-based progress assessment of the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action and a mid-term review of achieving the target of reducing the number of undernourished people to half their present level no later than 2015. This progress assessment and review should be in the context of a special forum of a regular session of the CFS and involve active participation from governments, relevant international organizations and actors of civil society.”
4. At its 30th Session of 20-23 September 2004, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) examined the Arrangements for the Special Forum foreseen in Objective 7.3(h) of the World Food Summit Plan of Action and reaffirmed the decision to convene a Special Forum within the 32nd Session of the CFS, in 2006. The Committee also decided:
“To undertake, within available resources, during the 31st Period of Sessions of the CFS (2005) a multi-stakeholder dialogue on the Agenda item dealing with the preparatory process of the 2006 Special Forum, following the precedent of the UN Committee on Sustainable Development, involving active participation from governments, relevant international organizations and actors of civil society relevant to the mandate of the Committee in the implementation of the WFS Plan of Action. This dialogue should also include the discussion of future actions to improve dialogue, consultation and understanding.”
5. This document sets out a series of proposals, for consideration by the CFS at its 31st Session on the Special Forum, in particular, regarding: (i) objectives, structure and participation; (ii) preparatory processes; (iii) timing and duration; (iv) resource implications.
6. At its 30th Session, the CFS reaffirmed that the broad objective of the Special Forum would be to undertake a major broad-based mid-term review of the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action and the progress towards the Summit target of reducing by half the number of undernourished people no later than 2015.
7. The Special Forum will be convened within the 32nd Session of the CFS with active participation from governments, relevant international organizations and actors of civil society.
8. Multi-stakeholder dialogue. The Special Forum will be held as a multi-stakeholder dialogue, building on the decision of the Committee to undertake such a dialogue at the 31st Session on CFS in preparation for 2006. Such dialogues have become common practice during deliberations regarding international guidelines and conventions. In particular, multi-stakeholder processes were a permanent feature of the annual meetings of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) to monitor progress in achieving the objectives of Agenda 21 agreed at the Conference on Environment and Sustainable Development in 1992 and at the centre of an overall review at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.
9. A multi-stakeholder process establishes a mechanism for bringing together governments, actors from civil society and international organizations. Participants assemble for face-to-face dialogue on themes of common interest where joint action and monitoring are essential for success. The process offers an opportunity for direct expression of the views of the stakeholder groups relevant to each issue. For the Special Forum, the stakeholders will include the representative actors from civil society, including private sector associations and international organizations.
10. The discussion during the Forum will involve the Chair giving equal opportunity for all participants to speak. Following the Forum, it is proposed that the CFS would reconvene to review and consider the principal findings and recommendations of the Special Forum.
11. At its 30th Session, the CFS addressed the participation and range of civil society organizations to invite to the Special Forum. In Paragraph 22 of the Report, the CFS noted the criteria for inviting civil society organizations:
12. These criteria follow precedence and practice in FAO’s Governing Bodies, and reflect current practice in the United Nations system in general. Based on these criteria, the CFS may wish to consider the following examples of broad groupings for participation:
In addition, there are other FAO-related processes which associate governments, civil society and international organizations as integral parts of relevant initiatives. The Special Forum should take into account appropriate examples and complementary mechanisms, notably those developed as part of the International Alliance against Hunger.
13. The Special Forum will submit its findings and recommendations to the CFS for decision. The decisions will be made by Members only during the regular session of the CFS.
14. Given the multi-stakeholder nature of the Special Forum, representatives of the different actors in the preparatory processes should be included in the consultations and reporting. The Bureau of CFS may therefore wish to include representatives of the other actors – from civil society organizations, private sector associations and international organizations – in its work and deliberations in preparation for, and conduct of, the forum.
15. The subjects for discussion at the Special Forum will be based in large part on the conclusions of the consultative processes and reviews completed before the event, using, where feasible, the FAO Regional Conference process..
16. The forum should also discuss the linkages of the progress of the implementation of the WFS Plan of Action to processes such as the UN System Network on Rural Development and Food Security, the preparation and implementation of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), as well as to the overarching framework for the implementation and monitoring of the pledge to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
17. Review of progress and assessment of success in achievement of the goals of the World Food Summit will have to emerge from processes of consultation at national - and ultimately at local - levels. Commitment Seven of the Plan of Action foresees a series of interrelated objectives and actions spanning from sharing responsibilities for effective implementation to coordination in reporting and monitoring, including revision of national development plans, adoption of poverty reduction strategies, policy and technical assistance, and mobilization of resources at different levels.
18. The objectives in the commitment specify the different levels of monitoring, from “the lowest possible level” of producers, consumers and organizations of civil society in 7.5(a), to national frameworks in 7.1 and governments in partnership with all actors of civil society in 7.4, and ultimately to building on sub-regional, regional and international cooperation in 7.2.
19. The preparatory process for the Special Forum will require effort at the national and, as appropriate, sub-regional levels, mobilising the relevant stakeholders, to report on progress. Such reports would contribute to both regional consultations and the global debate during the Special Forum.
20. The Committee may wish to suggest that consultative processes at the national and sub-regional levels should, as relevant, contribute to the preparation of the FAO Regional Conferences in 2006 and to the Special Forum.
21. FAO convenes regional conferences in the year following the regular session of the Conference of the Organization held once in every two years. The 33rd Session of the FAO Conference will be held from 19-26 November 2005, followed by the five Regional Conferences in the first half of 2006. The preparations for the Special Forum can thus capitalise on the preparations for, and discussions, at the FAO Regional Conferences and associated events.
22. The Committee may wish to consider the use of two mechanisms as part of the regional conferences process in order to prepare the Special Forum:
23. NGO/CSO Regional Consultations are held in parallel to all of the FAO Regional Conferences. Such consultations have become a regular feature of these events since 2000 in preparation for, and as a follow-up to, the World Food Summit: five years later and the parallel civil society Forum for Food Sovereignty, offering an opportunity to share information, elicit the perspectives of civil society and identify areas for collaborative activity. The reports of the consultations are presented to the FAO Regional Conferences for information, and generally focus on addressing the specific points on the agenda for each session. 24. The focus of these consultations would be the assessment of progress and mid-term review as the follow-up to the World Food Summit. Building on these events would have the dual advantage of offering an opportunity to understand the constraints and the priorities specific to each region and mobilising a large spectrum of civil society at the regional level. At the last NGO/CSO Consultations held in parallel to the FAO Regional Conferences in 2004, representatives of over 350 civil society organizations, including members of farmer, fisher and herder associations, indigenous peoples organizations, consumer groups and youth movements, participated. The consultations were preceded by a series of national and sub-regional consultations and workshops.
25. The Committee may wish to recommend that the WFS mid-term review and preparation for the Special Forum constitute the core topics for the NGO/CSO Regional Consultations in 2006, and that the outcome of such consultations be reported to the respective regional conference and included in the final report of the conference as a recommendation..
26. The FAO Regional Conferences in 2006 offer an opportunity to address, where feasible, agenda items of relevance for the 32nd Session of the CFS including the preparations for the Special Forum. Specific issues at the regional level which could be brought to the attention of the CFS could thus be identified. In this regard, the preparation for the Special Forum could be considered under the standing item “Follow-up to the World Food Summit”
27. The Committee may therefore wish to consider proposing that, where feasible, the FAO Regional Conferences in 2006 should be used as part of the preparatory process for the Special Forum.
28. The topics for the forum should reflect national and regional diversity, the range of concerned stakeholders and a broad based progress assessment of the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action. It will require consultation with the various stakeholders and systematic reference to the different dimensions of the Plan of Action, in particular regarding its implementation, monitoring and follow-up as defined in Commitment Seven.
29. Given significant differences in local conditions within each country, within regions and among regions, consultative processes will need to take into account tremendous diversity. The combination of actors convened will also vary according to the identification of specific challenges to reducing hunger. The main themes for discussion are identified in the reporting format for follow-up to the World Food Summit Plan of Action and particularly in the specific arrangements made for the mid-term review (CFS:2005/3).
30. Given the scope and complexity of the WFS Plan of Action, the Special Forum will offer the opportunity for a thoroughevaluation of its implementation and impact.
31. The background papers for the forum would draw upon the findings of:
32. The Committee may wish to recommend that the FAO Secretariat assist in providing guidance and information on, coordination of and final presentation of the various reports for the Special Forum and preceding events.
33. The Special Forum will take place during the 32nd Session of the CFS. In order to minimise cost implications, the Secretariat would recommend that the Special Forum would take place during the time set scheduled for the 32nd Session and would not require additional days for the CFS.
34. The agenda items for the forum should encompass the principal issues relating to the mid term review of the implementation of the WFS Plan of Action and the progress towards the summit goal.
35. In the light of the number and importance of items on its agenda in relation to the overall session of CFS and the general importance of the mid-term review of progress in the implementation of the WFS Plan of Action, the Committee may wish to propose that 2 days be devoted to the Special Forum segment and 3 days to the regular session during the 32nd Session of the CFS.
36. In line with the Organization’s overall approach to increased opportunities for cost-savings the Secretariat would seek to minimise cost implications.
37. There will be two principal kinds of costs: (i) for the preparatory process at the national and regional levels; and (ii) at the Special Forum.
38. The Secretariat would have to rely on extra-budgetary resources for the preparatory process. In 2004, extra-budgetary resources were used by the Secretariat to cover the costs of civil society participation in the NGO/CSO Regional Consultations held in conjunction with FAO Regional Conferences, and a modest number of related sub-regional and national consultations. These events were successful at mobilising a significant number and broad range of representatives from different groups at the regional level and at an appropriate scale. A similar budgetary contribution would be required in preparation for the Special Forum.
39. Given the proposal to organise the Special Forum during the time allocated to the CFS, the only incremental costs would relate to the participation of civil society and cost of additional documentation.
40. The Committee may wish to recommend the mobilisation of extra-budgetary resources for the preparatory processes for the Special Forum and to cover the costs of participation of civil society and additional documentation for the Special Forum.
41. In its review of this document, the Committee may wish to make the following proposals or recommendations as appropriate:
1 The civil society representatives are to be encouraged to adopt arrangements for coordination and interaction in providing inputs to the session.
2 For the work of the CFS, the term NGO is understood to cover all forms of civil society [organizations] or private sector [associations].
3 The specific role of the IPC for civil society in the follow-up to the World Food Summit is described in the letter of FAO’s Director-General to the IPC of 16 January 2003.