In order to include a broad range of views and experience in the discussion process, the High-Level Conference has encouraged the participation of civil society organizations and the private sector in separate stakeholder consultations.
Civil society organizations are all not-for-profit actors which are not government or intergovernmental, including community groups, farmers’ and other rural peoples’ organizations, labour unions, indigenous peoples' organizations, non-governmental, charitable and faith-based organizations, professional associations and foundations.
The private sector encompasses all sectors of the food, agriculture, forestry and fisheries systems – from production to consumption – and all sizes of enterprise from the family farm to the global company as well as related trade, financial, and other service organizations. These definitions are complementary and sometimes overlapping. For example, farmers’ organizations can represent business interests and private sector associations can be non-profit.
The consultations, which were held in January and March 2008, respectively, have allowed civil society organizations and private sector stakeholders to express their views on the links among food security, climate change and bioenergy and identify areas of common work and proposals for cooperation and partnerships. These consultations’ reports identify key messages on relevant subjects.