FAO Regional Office for Africa

Civil Society Consultation for the 31st Session of FAO Regional Conference for Africa

Meeting to contribute key agenda items for FAO Regional Conference.

24 February 2020Harare  The most recent estimates of the prevalence of undernourishment (POU), presented in the joint report by FAO, UNECA and African Union Commission “2019 Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition shows that the trend of deterioration in 2014-2018 has slowed in 2017–2018. However, there remain 256 million hungry people in Africa today, or one in five Africans is undernourished, and an additional 399 million people are moderately food insecure. 

The report further revealed that although many African countries are making progress towards reducing malnutrition, progress is too slow to meet six key nutrition targetsFood insecurity has been rising in Africa in recent years and the continent is not on track to eliminate hunger by 2030. 

The CSO Consolation 

Civil society plays a critical role in FAO’s work to tackle hunger and poverty in Africa. The Civil Society Consultation is organized autonomously by and for civil society actors in the region prior to the Regional Conferences of FAO, meant to gather key stakeholders, from different constituencies and countries.  

In collaboration with the National Organising Committee of the Government of Zimbabwe, CSOs will gather in Harare, Zimbabwe on 25-27 February 2020 for the CSO Consultation. The Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF) has been working for the organization in collaboration with the National Association of Non-Governmental Organization (NANGO), under the guidance of the Steering Committee of the Regional Civil Society Consultation in Africa and the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC). 

More than 40 participants from over 24 African countries representing diverse constituencies such as smallholder farmers, fishers, pastoralists, herders, ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, consumers, NGOs, women, and youth are selected by CSOs through the call for Expression of Interest and will participate in the CSO Consultation. Participating organizations discuss key topics pertinent to the region, and specific agenda items of the FAO Regional Conference, with the in-depth knowledge of the CSOs. The suggested topics may include, but not limited to: 

  • Intra-Africa Trade in Food and Agriculture; 

  • Building Resilience in the Context of Climate Change, Conflicts, and Economic Downturns: Addressing the Humanitarian-Development-Peace; 

  • Innovations in Food Systems and Inclusive Agribusiness Models for Job Creation, Focusing on Youth and Women 

  • Role of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) including the Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition – Food systems summit in 2021 as well as the voluntary guidelines for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries in the context of food security; 

  • Towards Development of an Action Programme to address Food Security and Nutrition Challenges in Landlocked Countries in Africa based on the experiences from Small Island Developing States (SIDS); and 

  • The UN Decade of Family Farming – the roles of the CSO and the peasant right. 

Through these discussions, the voices and views of civil society and stakeholders will be heard at the Regional Conference through spokespersons of their choice. A written declaration from the CSOs will also be presented at the Conference. 

About the Regional Conference 

The Regional Conference for Africa (ARC) of FAO is a high-level forum and the highest governing body of the Organization in the Africa region for Honourable Ministers, Ambassadors/Permanent Representatives and Senior Officials from member states as well as representatives of Non-State Actors including CSOs to review the recommendations made from the previous session of Regional Conference for Africa (ARC) and to discuss a number of key issues to achieve Zero Hunger and No Poverty in Africa. 

The 31st session of FAO ARC will be held under the theme, “Promoting Inclusive Agribusiness and Regional Integration for the Attainment of the SDGs”, in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, from 23-27 March 2020.