Committee on World Food Security

Making a difference in food security and nutrition

CFS Structure

The Committee on World Food Security is made up of Members, Participants and Observers. The membership of the Committee is open to all Member States of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) or The World Food Programme (WFP) and non-Member States of FAO that are Member States of the United Nations. Member States are encouraged to participate in CFS sessions at the highest level possible. Participants can be from representatives of UN agencies and bodies, civil society and non-governmental organizations and their networks, international agricultural research systems, international and regional financial institutions and representatives of private sector associations and private philanthropic foundations. The CFS may invite other interested organizations relevant to its work to observe entire sessions or specific agenda items.   

The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE-FSN) was created in October 2009 as an essential part of CFS to provide independent, scientific knowledge-based analysis and advice. The HLPE-FSN reports are requested by the CFS and their findings and recommendations serve as a basis for CFS policy discussions. The HLPE has two components. The first is a Steering Committee made up of internationally recognized experts in a variety of food security and nutrition-related fields. The second is a roster of experts which is used to build teams that act on a project-specific basis to analyze and report on issues related to food security and nutrition.

The CFS structure allows input from all stakeholders at global, regional and national levels. It comprises the Bureau and Advisory Group, the Plenary, the HLPE and the Secretariat.  

The CFS Bureau and Advisory Group

The Bureau is the executive arm of the CFS. It is made up of a Chairperson and twelve member countries: two each from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Near East and Latin America and one each from North America and South West Pacific.
The Advisory group is made up of representatives from the 5 different categories of CFS Participants. These are:

  1. UN agencies and other UN bodies
  2. Civil society and non-governmental organizations, particularly organizations representing smallholder family farmers, fisherfolks, herders, landless, urban poor, agricultural and food workers, women, youth, consumers and indigenous people
  3. International agricultural research institutions
  4. International and regional financial institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, regional development banks and the World Trade Organization
  5. Private sector associations and philanthropic foundations.

The Advisory Group helps the Bureau advance the Committee’s objectives in particular to ensure linkages with different stakeholders at regional, sub-regional and local levels and to ensure an ongoing, two-way exchange of information.


The Plenary session is held annually and is the central body for decision-taking, debate, coordination, lesson-learning and convergence by all stakeholders at a global level on food security issues. Visit the Plenary section to find out more.

The Secretariat

The CFS has a permanent Secretariat which includes staff from FAO, IFAD and  WFP. Its task is to support the Plenary, the Bureau and Advisory Group and the HLPE in their work. It is hosted at FAO HQ in Rome. Read more on the CFS Secretariat here.

Find out more about how the CFS works in the CFS Rules of Procedure.