Committee on Agriculture


Committee on World Food Security reports on follow-up to the World Food Summit

FAO’s Committee on World Food Security (CFS) convened at FAO Headquarters in Rome on 14 April for its first meeting since the World Food Summit last November. Much of the preparation for the Summit was conducted through the CFS. And the Committee now assumes major responsibility for monitoring and reporting on implementation of the Summit’s Plan of Action, which aims to reduce the number of undernourished people in the world to half their present level no later than the year 2015.

At this session the CFS will be requested to establish a timetable and procedures for reporting on national, sub-regional, regional and international implementation of the Summit’s Plan of Action, and to agree on a reporting format for the first reporting period.

A draft work plan for developing improved targets and more reliable indicators of national and global food security, and for establishing a food insecurity and vulnerability information and mapping system will be presented to the Committee for comment. The plan will include the development of standardized reporting formats to provide up-to-date information on these targets and indicators in subsequent reporting years.

Under a standing agenda item on Nutrition, delegates will discuss a document outlining FAO activities to meet the challenges posed by street foods. These ready-to-eat foods sold by street vendors have become a major part of urban diets and economies. In Malaysia, for example, street food sales by more than 100,000 vendors are estimated at more than $2.2 billion a year. Studies in Bangkok suggest that 90 percent of the population purchase street foods on a regular basis. At their best, street foods provide a healthy part of a daily diet for hundreds of millions of people. But action must be taken in many parts of the world to improve hygiene and nutrition education and ensure that street foods do not pose a health hazard.

Other documents to be presented to the Committee include a review of activities implemented under the Special Programme for Food Security and an assessment of the current world food security situation.

In relation to continuing the work of the World Food Summit, a Memorandum of Understanding is to be signed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the FAO Director-General. This document lays the foundation for future collaboration toward fulfilling an objective spelled out in the World Food Summit Plan of Action: “to clarify the content of the right to adequate food and the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger, as stated in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights....” Designation of a “right to food” proved to be one of the more contentious issues at the Summit. The Plan of Action invited the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to help resolve the issue.

Other resources:

15 April 1997


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