Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum


CFS policy process on the development of the Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition

Combatting malnutrition in all its forms – undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, overweight and obesity – is among the most pressing global challenges that countries face today. Urgent actions are needed to address these challenges and the negative impacts associated with malnutrition.

Fostering discussion and debate around policy and institutional reforms are key to promoting sustainable food systems that improve nutrition and enable healthy diets.

The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is undertaking a policy process which will lead to the development of Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition. The preparation of the Voluntary Guidelines is informed by the scientific evidence provided by CFS High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) Report on Nutrition and Food Systems launched in October 2017.

The Voluntary Guidelines are intended to be a reference document that provides guidance to governments, as well as to specialized institutions and other stakeholders, on appropriate policies, investments and institutional arrangements needed to address the key causes of malnutrition in all its forms.

A comprehensive and systemic approach will be followed with a view to addressing policy fragmentation between relevant sectors with special emphasis on the food, agriculture and health sectors, while also addressing livelihood and sustainability challenges.

Following the endorsement by the Committee in 2018 of the Terms of Reference which include the main topics and issues to be addressed by this policy process, a Zero Draft of the Voluntary Guidelines has been prepared and circulated as the result of an inclusive process that involved a wide range of stakeholders. 

The Zero Draft is made up of four chapters. The first one provides the context, the objectives and purpose as well as indications on the nature of the Voluntary Guidelines while the second deals with key concepts concerning food systems and nutrition and guiding principles. Chapter three includes descriptive text intended to inform the preparation of the Draft One of the Voluntary Guidelines. The language of this chapter does not represent suggested text for the Voluntary Guidelines but initial ideas regarding the issues and topics to be covered. Therefore, CFS stakeholders are not expected to provide proposals of amendments of the current text of Chapter 3 during the regional consultations. Both the current structure and content of Chapter 3 will change in the next version of the Voluntary Guidelines, based on the inputs received during the e-consultation. This will be an opportunity for CFS stakeholders to suggest the most appropriate policy areas and interventions to reshape and promote sustainable food systems that improve nutrition. The fourth and final chapter includes provisions regarding the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines and the monitoring of their use and application.

The e-consultation outcomes will contribute to the preparation of the First Draft of the Voluntary Guidelines, which will be negotiated in spring 2020. The final version of the Voluntary Guidelines will be then presented for consideration and endorsement by the CFS Plenary at its 47th Session in October 2020.

Through this e-consultation, CFS stakeholders are kindly invited to answer the following guiding questions using the proposed template:

  1. Does Chapter 1 adequately reflect the current situation of malnutrition and its related causes and impacts, particularly in line with the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda? What are the underlying problems that currently hinder food systems to deliver healthy diets?
  2. What should be the guiding principles to promote sustainable food systems that improve nutrition and enable healthy diets? What are your comments about the principles outlined in Chapter 2? Are they the most appropriate for your national/regional contexts?
  3. In consideration of the policy areas identified in Chapter 3 and the enabling factors suggested in paragraph 41 of the Zero Draft, what policy entry points should be covered in Chapter 3, taking into account the need to foster policy coherence and address policy fragmentation?
  4. Can you provide specific examples of new policies, interventions, initiatives, alliances and institutional arrangements which should be considered, as well as challenges, constraints, and trade-offs relevant to the three constituent elements of food systems presented in Chapter 3? In your view, what would the “ideal” food system look like, and what targets/metrics can help guide policy-making?
  5. How would these Voluntary Guidelines be most useful for different stakeholders, especially at national and regional levels, once endorsed by CFS? 
* Click on the name to read all comments posted by the member and contact him/her directly