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Selection and Prioritization of CFS Activities for the Biennium 2016-2017

CFS has started a process of selection and prioritization of activities for the biennium 2016-2017. Though this online discussion, the CFS Secretariat  would like to invite all those interested to provide inputs to this process.


The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is the foremost, inclusive platform for food security and nutrition issues. Given the importance of its role there is wide range of potential activities that CFS could undertake.  At its 40th Plenary Session in October 2013, the Committee put in place a structured and inclusive two-year process to decide on its upcoming program of work and to select and prioritize future  activities.

The prioritization process of CFS activities is based on the following five criteria:

  1. The consideration of the mandate of CFS and what the added value of the work item is;
  2. The contribution of the activities to the overall objective of CFS; (see annex 1)
  3. There should be no duplication of past activities or current ones being carried out by other actors with comparable mandates;
  4. The resources available should be taken into account;
  5. There should be consensus among CFS stakeholders.

The process should result in the following outputs regarding CFS activities for the biennium 2016-2017:

  1. Major workstreams that are characterized by a broad-based and relatively long consultation and negotiation process on strategic topics recognized of major importance for food security and nutrition and lead to the finalization and endorsement of CFS key products;
  2. Other potential workstreams to be carried out by CFS, other than those that are already in place;
  3. Themes for future HLPE reports.

This process aims to help the Plenary in October 2015 take an informed decision on which issues to address and by which kind of activity.

For ease of reference, an extract from the CFS Multi-Year Programme of Work and Priorities (MYPoW) that was endorsed at CFS 40 in October 2014 and which includes the main activities to be carried out by the Committee in the biennium 2014-2015, can be found in Annex 2.

The Overall Process of Prioritization

After the multi-stakeholder dialogue in Bucharest on 31 March 2014 for the European region and given the impossibility to hold similar dialogues back to back with the other FAO Regional Conferences, the process will continue with an online consultation which will allow all CFS stakeholders to provide inputs to the process of selection of CFS activities for the biennium 2016-2017.

Following this online consultation, an Open-Ended Working Group meeting will be held on 30 June 2014 in Rome to discuss the outcomes, analyze the different activities proposed, merge and condense when possible and collect further inputs with a view to inform CFS 41

After CFS 41 in October 2014, the focus will move to the analysis of the proposals that were received and to their prioritization.

Internal consultative processes within the different CFS constituencies will take place to discuss and express preferences among the activities that have been proposed.

Two Open-Ended Working Group meetings will take place in the first half of 2015 with a view to finding consensus on the list of activities; the first to analyze and streamline the proposals put forward by CFS Constituencies and the second to present and discuss a prioritized list.  This list will be presented to CFS 42 in 2015 when the final decision on the proposed activities for 2016-2017 will be taken.

The Online Consultation

We would like to invite you to  respond to the following questions:

  1. What issues should be addressed by the Committee in the biennium 2016-2017?
  2. Explain the issue and describe why you are proposing it;
  3. What kind of activity do you propose to address this issue? Which kind of CFS workstream should be put in place to address it?
  1. A major workstream
  2. Another type of workstream
  3. An HLPE report

Luca Fratini
Chair of the Open-Ended Working Group on MYPoW

This discussion is now closed. Please contact for any further information.

Laura S. JIN FAO Forestry, Italy
Laura S.

Role of sustainable forests for food security and nutrition

1.       What issues should be addressed by the Committee in the biennium 2016-2017?

The issue of not fully understood link between forests and food security and nutrition should be addressed.

It is estimated that 1.6 billion rural people worldwide depend upon forests to some extent for their livelihoods (World Bank, 2002). Despite this figure, the traditional view of forests as a mere source of wood and income is still prevalent. During the International Conference on “Forests for Food Security and Nutrition” (May 2013), the provisioning role of forests as a source of nutritious food was highlighted.

Furthermore, the use of woodfuel as the main type of cooking fuel in about one-third of the World’s households indicates forests’ vital role in cooking practices and care. Therefore, woodfuel plays an important role in ensuring food security and nutrition as well. Based on the average household size in every country, this amounts to about 2.4 billion people (FAO STAT 2011).

However, there still remains a lack of evidence-based and comprehensive understanding on forests’ contribution to food security and nutrition. Consequently, the issues that should be addressed by the Committee in the biennium 2016-17 are those surrounding the vital and still not fully understood relationship between forests and food security and nutrition.

2.       Explain the issues and describe why you are proposing it

a)      Partial understanding of forests’ contribution to food security and nutrition needs to be improved to capture its contribution across all four dimensions of food security. 

In most cases the commonly known links are limited to the direct food consumption (food availability) and the contribution to income generation (economic access) from forests. A comprehensive picture, which includes the utilization and the stability dimensions, needs to be established. 

b)      Most of the existing analysis is scattered and systematic evidence on forests’ contribution to food security and nutrition at different levels, in particular, global, national and household levels, is lacking.

c)      The mentioned issues above need to be addressed in order to increase food security and nutrition via:

·         enhancing our understanding and strengthening capacity development in cross-sectoral forestry and food security and nutrition policies and programmes; and

·         enabling relevant policy considerations for forestry and food security and nutrition to be properly integrated and validated.

3.      What kind of activity do you propose to address this issue? Which kind of CFS workstream should be put in place to address it?

a)       A major workstream

b)       Another type of workstream

c)       An HLPE report

The 41st CFS should consider the topic of “assessing the role of sustainable forests for food security and nutrition” for an HLPE report. 

Mr. Xavier Meignien International Institute of Refrigeration / Institut international ...

Bonjour à tous,

La question des pertes et gaspillages après récolte est de mieux en mieux prise en considération dans le cadre de la recherche de la sécurité alimentaire. Cette évolution est une bonne chose car les pertes pèsent fortement non seulement sur la disponibilité en aliments, et particulièrement en aliments de forte valeur nutritive (dont de nombreux produits sensibles à des températures excessives) mais aussi sur le revenu des agriculteurs, le pouvoir d'achat des consommateurs, et indirectement sur l'environnement (changement climatique, consommation excessive de ressources limitées : eau, énergie, terres).

D'un autre côté, le défaut de logistique, et notamment de logistique du froid, peut être un frein à la mise en valeur de terres potentiellement productives et à l'amélioration des rendements là où il y a déjà une activité agricole: pourquoi en effet investir pour mettre en valeur de nouvelles terres ou pour appliquer des méthodes culturales plus performantes si la production ou le surplus de production qui en découlent ne peuvent pas être commercialisés correctement?

Il serait intéressant de faire l'inventaire des zones géographiques qui ont un potentiel de développement agricole mais ne bénéficient pas d'une desserte logistique correcte et restent donc inexploitées ou sous-exploitées, et d'évaluer les quantités d'aliments qui ne sont pas produites en raison de cette situation.

Meilleures salutations


Institut International du Froid (IIF) / International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR)

Katy Lee International Agri-Food Network, Italy

Dear Minister Counsellor Fratini,

As this discussion draws to a close today, I note that a number of sound contributions to the online forum have been made that would provide the CFS with real added-value and enable the multistakeholder model to truly shine.

Examples from a wide range of constituencies, not just our own, include: 1. the multiple contributions that people have made on nutrition in early childhood 2. the interesting proposal from Brazil on the multistakeholder model.

In addition, the proposals on: women's empowerment; food safety & mycotoxins; diverse diets to support growth in pregnancy; and technological innovations/approaches and efficiency in the agri-food chain were all very sound and merit serious consideration by the Secretariat and member countries.

There are few gaps in what has been proposed so far so allow me to make these final additions:

- Round Table on agricultural productivity

- HLPE report on agro forestry

Thanks so much everyone for your contributions.

Best wishes,


Slow Food , Italy
FSN Forum

Slow Food recommends that the CFS give a high priority to the following issues in the biennium 2016-2017:

1.b. The “Sustainability of the food system” should be a major work stream, which should include a reflection on the following related issues:

-         Environmental and social cost associated with the production and consumption of the food products. It is important to study the real costs of food products in order to understand which impacts are not properly valued and internalized in their costs. This knowledge should be integrated into policies ensuring that the externalities are internalized. Mechanism: Elaboration of an HLPE report

-         Animal welfare. Slow Food has been actively working to promote a holistic approach to food and agriculture for many years and good animal welfare practices are a fundamental part of this. They are important not only because they respect animals as sentient beings, but also because they benefit farmers, consumers and the environment. FAO data indicates that around 1 billion people depend on animals as a source of income, food, cultural identity and social status. It is estimated that 60% of families that live in rural areas keep animals. Animal welfare is of crucial importance to these communities in that a secure supply of food depends on the health and productivity of animals, and these in turn depend on the care and nutrition that animals receive. Good living conditions for animals means better animal health, less stress and subsequently less disease and use of drugs. While structural investments for the improvement of production facilities in the short term can be very costly for producers, the benefits in productivity and in improved product quality can increase income. Mechanism: Elaboration of an HLPE report

-         International, national and local tools available to bring policies into coherence with the right to food. Mechanism: Elaboration of an HLPE report, including the design of food policies, case studies and the identification of new ways of working in partnership and harmonized action at global, regional, national and local levels

-         The role of biodiversity for food security and nutrition. Mechanism: improve understanding of the multi-dimensional causes of biodiversity loss, the sharing of more effective analytical tools to assist in identifying root causes and the appropriate combination of political and technical responses to address them.

-         The economic, environmental and socio-cultural sustainability of small-scale farming and its contribution to global food security. In developed and developing countries all over the world, indigenous farmers and communities hold traditional knowledge, expertise, skills and practices related to environmental management and food security as well as to agricultural production and diversity. Traditional farming, fishing, pastoralism/herding, foraging and forestry are based on long established knowledge systems and practices that help to ensure food and agricultural diversity, valuable landscape and seascape features, livelihoods and food security. For millennia, these have provided rural communities with the necessary resilience to counter challenges and ensure survival. However, traditional livelihoods and indigenous plant varieties, landraces and animal breeds are now increasingly endangered by factors such as large-scale commercialization of agriculture, population dynamics, politico-economic discrimination, land-use/cover changes and the impacts of climate change. Mechanism: Elaboration of an HLPE report focusing on tools and strategies to support small-scale farmers beyond 2014 IYFF, including a reflection on “How to reshape the food systems in order to be more inclusive of small scale food producers who have generally been disadvantaged in the past, both as a result of inequitable food chains and because agricultural technologies and legislations have not taken into account their specific needs?”

-         “Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems”. Forecasts all seem to agree that in 2050 there will 9 billion people sharing the planet. Considering that today (with a world population of 7 billion) there are already one billion people who do not eat adequately, the outlook is not good. The most disparate voices are increasingly stressing the fact that, in order to feed everyone, it will be necessary to increase productivity by 70%, with cultivated arable land decreasing in the meantime. This explains the rush to genetically manipulate seeds to create hyper-productive plant species. This explains the idea of giving animals hormones to make them grow in half the normal time and the current abuse of antibiotics in intensive farming to prevent and cure diseases in an environment in which they spread more easily and more rapidly. This explains the inevitable destruction of forests to obtain more arable land (which nonetheless loses its fertility in the space of a few seasons). However, in all these arguments, there is an essential piece of information that is being ignored, namely that today the Earth already produces enough food for 12 billion people, but 40% of all food produced is wasted, never getting close to the table. As a recent FAO study highlights: “In medium- and high-income countries food is to a significant extent wasted at the consumption stage and early in the food supply chains. In low-income countries food is lost mostly during the early and middle stages of the food supply chain; much less food is wasted at the consumer level. The causes of food losses and waste in low-income countries are mainly connected to financial, managerial and technical limitations in harvesting techniques, storage and cooling facilities in difficult climatic conditions, infrastructure, packaging and marketing systems. Given that many smallholder farmers in developing countries live on the margins of food insecurity, a reduction in food losses could have an immediate and significant impact on their livelihoods.” Mechanism: offer policy guidance and a common understanding for all governments and other stakeholders to ensure that ensure that food losses and waste are properly tackled starting from the assumption that they are not accident, but they are organic to the current food system and that to fight them it is necessary to change the food system giving value back to food.

-          “The role of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture for food security and nutrition”. Mechanism: give follow up to the report considering that cultural and biological diversity is such that we cannot reasonably expect top down, generalized measures to solve our problems. Again, solutions need to focus on scale matching scale, and considering the overall costs of fine-scale assessment, policy design, implementation and enforcement, adapted to every ecosystem and culture, bottom up solutions and management must absolutely be promoted, by giving local institutions as much space and legitimacy as possible. We need to create or strengthen the conditions that allow this instead of continuously degrading them. This starts with participative, open dialogue and transparency at all levels, from policy lobbying, to bilateral agreements to markets and price fixation mechanisms.

-         Voluntary guidelines for securing small-scale fisheries. Mechanism: promote diffusion of the voluntary guidelines among FAO’s Regional fishery bodies and develop tools to support governments and stakeholders in the implementation.

1.b. As suggested in the MYPOW adopted in 2013, we support the launch of a CFS major workstream to develop a framework for implementing the post-2015 agenda on issues related to sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition (to be decided at CFS Plenary in 2015) i.e. once the post-2015 agenda will be adopted by the UN General Assembly.

Katy Lee International Agri-Food Network, Italy

Dear Minister Counsellor Fratini,

Thank you for your on-going leadership in this debate. In my previous submission I established that the International Agri-Food Network supports detailed work on Post 2015, as well as keeping the workload tight, focussed and targeted.

An additional idea for the major work stream is below for your consideration. We believe this is a crucial issue on which CFS can bring added value.

a) Major workstreams

The role of agriculture in development and economic growth - agriculture is an engine for development!


- Food security is closely connected with economic growth and social progress in developing countries. The food security agenda should focus on agriculture which constitutes the basis of many poor peoples’ livelihoods and the backbone of rural economies in most developing countries and empower them to be successful food producers.

- There is a need to support smallholder adaptation to changes in food demand and the challenges posed by evolving technology and sustainability requirements.

- Smallholder farmers need improved access to markets, the adaptation and adoption of appropriate technologies, institutional innovations and improved access to natural, financial, social and human capital.

- Food security is linked to food availability, distribution, variety, and incomes. The primacy of food availability in the face of a growing population demands an increase in productive capacity in farming around the world and a reduction in pre and post harvest losses and food waste.

- The key to addressing food insecurity is increasing agricultural productivity.

- CFS should look at all the tools that could be used to increase agricultural productivity, including new technologies, innovation, sustainable food systems, knowledge transfer, best practice, etc.

- Farmer organisations and cooperatives have a vital contribution to make to the development of agriculture and rural communities.

Ms. Petra Wolter FAO, Italy

I would like to submit a possible theme for CFS activities for the biennium 2016-2017, again on behalf of the Mountain and Watershed Team at FAO.

We are proposing a future HLPE report on “Understanding food insecurity in mountains”.

Mountain peoples are among the world’s poorest and hungriest: in developing countries, a vast majority lives below the poverty line and an estimated 300 million people are vulnerable to food insecurity.

Crop growth is slower at higher altitudes and farmers often achieve only one harvest per year. In addition, soils in mountain areas are often leached and degraded and do not provide enough nutrients to growing plants. Traditional mountain diets are often limited to starchy foods and characterized by low dietary diversity.  It is a sad fact that a gradient of poverty and hunger does exist: the higher the altitude, the higher the food insecurity.

Isolation not only limits the ability for mountain peoples to trade, but also limits income generation opportunities, thereby additionally undermining household food security. For many households, permanent or seasonal migration in search of complementary income has become an integral part of the livelihood system, often leaving women to manage the land. Climate change induced hazards such as storms, landslides and avalanches disproportionally affect mountain communities, disrupting infrastructures and access to production chains and markets.

So far, the dynamics affecting the life of mountain communities are not well known, and this has led to their marginalization or social and economic exclusion and under-estimation of indigenous knowledge, experience and economic systems.

An HLPE report on understanding food insecurity in mountains could analyze the current situation at a global, regional and national level, and provide recommendations for decision makers from a food security and nutrition perspective. The report could utilize the Mountain Partnership’s upcoming update of a 2003 FAO study that mapped vulnerability of mountain peoples trying to analyse the various dimensions of vulnerability through the lenses of exposure and resilience. The HLPE report would also be a way to address food insecurity in mountains in an integrated way, promoting coordination and collaboration across sectors.  


Dear Sir,

Thank you for allowing me to comment on the Selection and Prioritization of CFS activities for the Biennium 2016-2017.

The role that seafood plays in food security is often downplayed. Yet, animal protein is important because it is the source of the essential amino acid lysine, which plant protein cannot supply, and in addition seafood provides several micronutrients not available from other sources . Animal protein and in particular seafood must continue to be available to satisfy these nutritional needs. According to the FAO's State of the World Fisheries and Agriculture (SOFIA) 2014, fish now accounts for almost 17 percent of the global population’s intake of animal protein.

When compared to land-based animal protein production, there are several forms of fishing and aquaculture that have a negligible or low impact on the environment.  I suggest that the CFS examines the environmental impact of seafood production in the context of overall animal protein production to identify how seafood production can be increased with a minimum impact on the environment. As there are several institutions that already are tackling the management of wild fisheries, CFS might wish to focus on aquaculture. Once these sustainable sources have been identified, the HSE should focus on:

Minimising barriers to the development of aquaculture worldwide;
Encouraging studies into best practice in aquaculture in relation to environmental impact and sustainability;
Examining barriers to trade in seafood products.


Ivan Bartolo
Seafood Importers and Processors Alliance

Mr. Vijay Yadav Tokala Curtin University, Australia
Vijay Yadav

A. Issues to be addressed by the Committee in the biennium 2016-2017:

Prevent food wastage/food loss at all levels starting from Field level to Consumer level..

B. Explanation:

Many factors at different levels are responsible for Food Loss/ Food Wastage:

i.        Field Level:

·         Over Production: Improper production strategy of farmers would result in over production which ultimately leads to wastage and also very low returns to the farmer.

·         Mono-cropping in large areas: Growing single crop in large areas at a stretch may lead to production more than needed leading to wastage.

·         Improper cultivation practices: Lack of proper knowledge about cultivation, harvesting and package, lot of food grains, fruits and vegetables are lost.


·         Crop Diversification: Growing different type of crops in an area.

·         Enlighten farmers about advances in cultivation practices of different crops along with care to be taken while harvesting and also after harvest.

·         There should be a government policy to plan production strategy for farmers, to decide crop area based upon demand in the nation.

ii.      Post Harvest:

·         Judging proper maturity indices, based upon market availability would prevent food loss to great extent.

·         Enlightening farmers about proper post harvest, packing, storage techniques depending upon on crop, climate and demand would play a very important role in reducing food loss during storage and transport.

·         Conducting campaigns and courses to increase processing of over produced fruits, vegetables and grains into ready to eat products.

·         Grading of produce depending upon quality and market them based upon demand.

iii.    Market Level:

·         Encouraging market facility to diversified crops.

·         Strong policies are needed to prevent illegal storage of grains (which is common situation in developing countries).

·         Policy to decide price based upon grading, which would allow producer to get good price for his quality produce and also population of different economic status to get good food.

iv.    Consumer Level:

·         Educate people to prevent domestic food wastage by conducting campaigns in communities, schools, colleges and other public places.

·         Make a strong policy to prevent food wastage by levying extra tax on people wasting food in the restaurants.

·         A rule must be passed to make it compulsory to provide sample food before taking order in restaurants so that it is not wasted after being ordered.

·         Linking up restaurants with needy orphanages, juvenile homes etc… so that extra food can be transferred and not wasted.

All the countries in the world should come up onto single platform not only to prevent food wastage but also to maintain balance in food availability in different parts of world. International policies must in such a way to prevent wastage of excess of food in few countries and supply the excess to needy malnutrition and hungry nations.

C. Activities:

CFS team dealing with food loss/ food wastage  prevention can present it in better way highlighting the comparision between food wastage in world and present population statistics suffering/ dying from hunger.

Katy Lee International Agri-Food Network, Italy

Dear Minister Counsellor Fratini,

Thank you for the opportunity to suggest topics for the 2016-7 biennium at CFS. This has attracted a great deal of interest from the members of the International Agri-Food Network.

We have great respect for the excellent leadership of France previously and the current chairmanship of Italy to organise this group and fix priorities. It has been an important and inclusive process that has followed the unique multistakeholder CFS model that we are all so proud of. We believe the discipline of this process and its ability to allow CFS to focus on key issues is extremely constructive.

MYPoW structure: Along with country representatives, the Private Sector Mechanism welcomed the decision to streamline the CFS MYPoW to have only 1-2 HLPE reports, 1-2 Round Tables and 1-2 major work streams until at least 2017. If possible we would like to see this maintained.

a) Major workstreams

As highlighted by all members of the CFS Advisory Group and David Nabarro, Special Representative on Food Security and Nutrition for the United Nations, the clear priority for the 2016-17 time period will be for the CFS to remain responsive to the pivotally important Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals. As we recently read in a report from CFS Chair, Ambassador Gerda Verburg, the CFS can potentially bring enormous added value to the process.

Therefore, it would be an excellent idea if the CFS could devote major work streams to the implementation of targets on sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition as will be completed by the UN General Assembly. 

We suggest the CFS to take up each target area in turn, beginning with nutrition and progressing from there.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.



Prof. Hans Konrad Biesalski Food Security Center, University of Hohenheim, Germany
Hans Konrad

To bring reasons and consequences of hidden hunger in developed as well as in developing countries on the political agenda. The negative impact of malnutrition during the 1000 day window on physical growth and cognitive development and the consequences for later life and working capacity should be communicated to the public and the governance.

Prof. Dr. H. K. Biesalski
Head of
Dept. of Biological Chemistry and Nutrition
Director Food Security Center