Committee on World Food Security

Making a difference in food security and nutrition

Side Events

To enrich and complement the CFS 49 Plenary and to give its partners and other stakeholders an opportunity to highlight their work, CFS will organize 16 virtual side events over the four days – 4 per day, in parallel during the lunch break.

Explore the schedule below and register for side events.

Side Events Schedule

Monday, 11 October 2021 | 12:45 - 14:15 Rome time

SIDE EVENT 1 | Transforming Food, Land and Water Systems for Sustainable Healthy Diets

Organizers: Stanford University, WorldFish, Environmental Defense Fund, UN Nutrition, CGIAR, ILRI


  • Participants obtain an overview of the roles of aquatic foods and livestock-derived foods in sustainable food systems and healthy diets, including how they help vulnerable groups meet nutrient requirements and leveraging latest scientific research (e.g. Blue Foods Assessment)
  • Participants have benefited from a balanced debate about these foods, from several perspectives: health, sustainability, and equity
  • Participants appreciate the contribution of these foods to dietary diversity and interplay with biodiversity and climate change mitigation


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SIDE EVENT 2 | Food for Our Future: Youth Leading Radical Transformations Toward Economies of Well-being

Organizers: CSM (Youth working group), UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Food

Objectives: The HLPE’s report - Promoting youth engagement and employment in agriculture and food systems - identifies four pillars to protect and strengthen youth engagement in transforming food systems and building economies of well-being: rights, equity; agency; and recognition. This panel will explore these pillars from the perspectives of youth themselves.

Speakers will address the major challenges and threats to securing dignified livelihoods for youth, such as climate change, environmental destruction, lack of access to productive resources (land, water, seeds) and systemic racism, gender discrimination and social exclusion. They will also indicate ways for overcoming these challenges, presenting a variety of youth-led, community-based solutions centered around the realization of human rights, re-establishing healthy environments, and holistic food systems transformation.

The panel will particularly address why social transformations are needed for restoring ecosystems and achieving economies of well-being. Highlighted examples will include farmer-to-farmer training, land redistribution programs, and workers’ rights campaigns.

Following from the HLPE report, this side event will emphasize the diversity of youth experiences in food systems and society and will underscore the need for policy instruments based on intersectional, relational, anti-oppression, and context-specific approaches which nurture heterogeneity and intergenerational connections within and between rural and urban communities.




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Disclaimer from the organizers: The interpreters cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of the expressed opinions and bears no liability for any loss or damage of any kind whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from the use of the streamed video and audio. Only the speech given in the room and accompanying documents presented during the meeting are to be considered as original. Any streamed video and audio (including any interpretation via an audio channel) are intended to facilitate communication and do not constitute an authentic record of the proceedings.

SIDE EVENT 3 | Development Finance and Land Rights: Leveraging the VGGT to Enhance Food Systems, Climate Resilience, and Land Degradation Neutrality

Organizers: Land Portal Foundation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands – RVO, UNCCD, GIZ, FAO, USAID


  • Participants will hear about the cutting edge of philanthropy and development investment in land and property rights from world’s foremost experts.
  • Member countries and other key stakeholders will obtain key information that will support decision making processes that will lead to improved operationalization of the VGGT.
  • The side event will provide momentum that will generate additional interest in philanthropy and development investment for land and property rights.


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SIDE EVENT 4 | Prioritizing Climate Resilience: Building a New Policy Consensus with Smallholder Farmers

Organizers: GAFSP, IISD, SDG2 Advocacy Hub, Asian Farmers Association, Réseau des organisations paysannes et de producteurs de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (ROPPA), Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany


  • Highlight the importance of financing and investment to boosting the climate-resilience of smallholder farmers and meet ambitious climate and development goals.
  • Consensus on the key actions to drive forward change for smallholder farmers, particularly the role of financing impactful investments for climate-resilient and locally-led climate solutions.
  • Build momentum towards a shared policy agenda by engaging a wide range of stakeholders on needed actions and investments.


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Tuesday, 12 October 2021 | 12:45 - 14:15 Rome time

SIDE EVENT 5 | From Commitments to Action: The Importance of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines for a Coalition for Action on Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems

Organizers: World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), World Health Organization (WHO), International Food Policy Research Institute, CARE, EAT, The Club of Rome, FAO, Mexico, Indonesia, Sweden, Ghana , Centre for Food Policy at City University of London

Objectives: The CFS Voluntary Guidelines on food systems and nutrition are the only multilateral negotiated global policy instrument on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. They have the important objective of contributing to achieving sustainable food systems and improved nutrition, using coherent food systems transformation, appropriate and in accordance with and dependent on national contexts and capacities.

The UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), on the other hand, is the first global summit to create healthy, sustainable, and equitable food systems and has helped spur national level food systems pathways.

This side event brings these two together to discuss and explore opportunities and synergies to amplify and accelerate the implementation of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines by fostering coherent actions across the diverse food systems actors.

Specifically, this side event will explore how the Coalition for Action on Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems for All, an outgrowth from UNFSS, can work together with CFS on the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines.

The side event will focus on possible actions and opportunities to foster this much-needed alignment. It will be a moderated discussion to which all stakeholders can contribute to support the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines and related actions in various countries.


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SIDE EVENT 6 | Healthy Diets at the Nexus of Food Systems, Biodiversity, Climate and Nutrition: Global Summits, Local Transformation and the CFS VGFSYN

Organizers: UN Nutrition, WFP, FAO, World Bank (Agriculture and Food Global Practice)

Objectives: The session explores the nexus across food systems, biodiversity, nutrition and climate, with healthy diets as the common denominator. he year 2021 is marked by a series of major gobal events: the UN Food Systems Summit, the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15), the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), and the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit. Building momentum, commitment, and action across these efforts is the only means to accelerate the recovery and development needed to reach all 17 SDGs. These global events need to be fueled and realized through local evidence, experience and action. In this context, CFS products, in particular the VGFSyN, as well as context specific analytics can be important tools to move from global commitments to action at country level.

This session highlights the opportunities for building resilient, inclusive, and sustainable agri-food systems to ensure access to healthy diets from sustainable food systems for all through policies and programmes across the food system, climate, biodiversity and nutrition domains. Solutions need to be contextualized based on latest and locally specific evidence. The session encourages dialogue for synergetic solutions among various stakeholders: farmers, youth, women, member states, World Bank and UN agencies.


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SIDE EVENT 7 | Addressing Nutrition and Environmental Challenges: The Role of Cities and Local Governments for Inclusive and Sustainable Food Systems Transformation

Organizers: Urban Food Systems Working Group, Ad Hoc Working Group on Territorial Governance, FAO, GAIN, UCLG, UN Habitat


  • Raise awareness and common understanding on the importance of leveraging urban and territorial food systems, nutrition and governance innovations, local public service provision and rights-based spatial planning processes
  • Add to the body of knowledge and experience on how to progress multilevel, urban and territorial  food governance
  • Raise awareness on the importance of strengthening alliances and coalitions for urban and territorial food systems to build political momentum and buy-in /engagement around such alliances


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SIDE EVENT 8 | Women farmers and Indigenous women’s views on climate change, Covid-19 and the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment

Organizers: SEWA, IFPRI, FAO

Objectives: Advancing gender equality and women's and girls' empowerment is critical to achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Vision of the Committee of World Food Security (CFS) of ending hunger and ensuring food security and nutrition for all.

This side-event will use interactive modes of participation for the audience to provide actionable comments on the CFS Zero Draft Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in the Context of Food Security and Nutrition based on the key challenges faced by women farmers and indigenous women from climate change and Covid-19.


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Wednesday, 13 October 2021 | 12:45 - 14:15 Rome time

SIDE EVENT 9 | Human Rights, Nutrition and Law: Keys to Transform Food Systems

Organizers: Chaire de recherche en droit sur la diversité et la sécurité alimentaires; WHO; UNICEF; IDLO intergovernmental organization; FAO; UN-Nutrition

Objectives: The right to adequate food, the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment and the right to health, as well as other human rights, are central to the transition towards improved nutrition and sustainability in food systems.

Indeed, the implementation of all human rights is a generator of solutions in this transition, while also being important drivers for the seven cross-cutting areas identified by the CFS in the VGFSyN.

As demonstrated in the Study “Transforming agri-food systems: Legislative intervention for improved nutrition and sustainability”, the transition of food systems towards improved nutrition and sustainability is intrinsically linked to the existence of a coherent legislative framework and notably the implementation of human rights.

In this framework, the participation of civil society, non-governmental organizations, indigenous peoples and local communities, vulnerable groups, rural women and young people, smallholders, peasants, family farmers, fisherfolks, pastoralists, farmers, rangers as well as their organizations, cooperatives, networks, landless and food system workers’ and ‘Research, academic institutions and universities’ is key for creating enabling environments which support governments and policy makers to adopt legal, regulatory and fiscal measures needed to transform and strengthen food systems to protect and promote health and wellbeing for all.


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SIDE EVENT 10 | Bridging Agroecology and Biodiversity Action: Coalitions, Evidence, Policy Frameworks

Organizers: Agroecology Fund, Alliance Bioversity-CIAT, Biovision Foundation, Global Alliance for the Future of Food, IPES-Food, Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, UNESCO Chair on Food, Biodiversity, and Sustainability Studies, Switzerland, and WWF International

Objectives: This 49th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) virtual side-event will shine a light on emerging coalitions, evidence and policy actions to advance the strongly interconnected themes of agroecology and agricultural biodiversity, as pathways to transform food systems towards increased food security, nutrition, and sustainability.

In a landmark year with the negotiations of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), growing commitments on achieving Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN), and the CFS’ Policy Recommendations on Agroecological and other Innovative Approaches, this event will discuss common strategies to advance these frameworks through synergies and collaborative action, evidence mobilization, enabling policies and increased resources for food systems transformation.

Cet événement parallèle aura une interprétation en français. / Este evento paralelo tendrá interpretación al español.


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SIDE EVENT 11 | Youth Leadership for a Better Food Future: The World Food Forum (WFF) as a Movement by Youth and for Youth to Transform Agri-food Systems

Organizers: World Food Forum, FAO, FAO Youth Committee, Major Group for Children and Youth, Youth Alliance of Zero Hunger

Objectives: The side event will introduce the World Food Forum (WFF) as a major youth-led food movement and an alliance all related major youth groups and networks, aiming at the transformation of the global food systems to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The session will showcase the highlights and outcomes of the first ever WFF flagship event on Oct 1-6, 2021, which will celebrate youth empowerment and leadership, and which engages young agri-food systems stakeholders through various activity tracks, including cultural events, an “innovation lab”, food system education, and the Youth Action Assembly.

The session will also reflect on the kick-off activities throughout 2021, including the youth-related work of in collaboration with the UNFSS, and share the way forward for the WFF, based on a youth-designed action compendium and programme of work.

The interactive session will be led by youth representatives who will share how they wish the WFF to systematically report to and collaborate with the CFS and its members, on their joint journey towards a better food future for everyone, everywhere. Moreover, the side event will also explore possible avenues for young people to support grassroot level initiatives around the world.


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SIDE EVENT 12 | Water Tenure Approaches for Securing Rights, Advancing Climate Resilience and Food Security

Organizers: FAO, Environmental Law Institute, International Water Management Institute, Government of Rwanda, Government of Senegal, Government of Sri Lanka, German Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Objectives: The side event will enhance participants’ awareness and understanding of the importance of water tenure for sustainable, equitable, and climate-resilient water management, and engage participants in discussions on:

  • Cutting-edge design and application of water tenure assessment, informed by learning in diverse country contexts;
  • Innovative pathways to incorporate water tenure assessments into larger water governance and water accounting efforts to safeguard and make visible legitimate tenure rights; and
  • Leveraging collaboration among governments, civil society, and international organizations to promote harmonization across sectoral laws and governance institutions, thereby strengthening resource tenure rights of Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and rural women.


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Thursday, 14 October 2021 | 12:45 - 14:15 Rome time

SIDE EVENT 13 | Innovation as a Force for Good in the Fight against Climate Change and Malnutrition

Organizers: FAO; United Kingdom; CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security;Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture ; Italy


  • Opportunities to achieve joint outcomes for climate change and nutrition.
  • Role of innovation in delivering joint outcomes.
  • Opportunities to advance efforts through the Global Action Agenda for Innovation in Agriculture.

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SIDE EVENT 14 | How can data and digital technology support small-holder farmers and enable more equitable, inclusive and sustainable food systems?

Organizers: Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, FAO, United States, Digital Agriculture Association

Objectives: The upcoming Food Systems Summit has highlighted that data must underpin global efforts to accelerate progress on global food security and nutrition, alongside finance, innovation and technology, and governance.

More effective investment and collaboration on data systems and data governance frameworks, which ensure inclusion and support local knowledge will be required to support countries in developing their pathways for food systems transformation.

Following the launch of the CFS MY POW 2020-2023 workstream on “data collection and analysis tools”, this session will explore how key stakeholders will be working together to operationalise the summit outcomes and the CFS data workstream to ensure effective system-wide collaboration on data, at the global, regional and country levels. 


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SIDE EVENT 15 | Advancing Equitable Livelihoods for All Food Systems Workers

Organizers: CARE, IFAD, FAO, ILO, PSM, Antigua and Barbuda, Indonesia, Malawi, Republic of Turkey, Argentina, Hungary


  • What are the mechanisms required to ensure the regular collection, analysis, and publication of statistics on food systems workers at both national and international levels? - How to strengthen partnerships for accelerated action towards more and better jobs for youth in agri-food systems?
  • How to ensure the agency of food system workers by addressing their inclusion in collective bargaining, social dialogue, and workplace organization?
  • How to accelerate nationally defined social protection floors that guarantee at least essential health care, safe and nutritious foods, and basic income security to all, including the poor, food-insecure, and workers in the agri-food systems including migrant workers?


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SIDE EVENT 16 | Rethink > Repurpose > Reform: Why and how we Need to Overhaul Agricultural Support for Better Food Security and Nutrition

Organizers: FAO; UNDP; UNEP; World Bank; OECD; World Farmers' Organisation; Senegal National Council for Food Security

Objectives: A radical overhaul of the way governments financially support agricultural producers is urgently needed on a global scale. Currently, half a trillion dollars is spent by governments worldwide supporting producers, and if trends continue, this figure could top $1.8 trillion by 2030. Yet, most of today’s support is not fit for purpose, thus jeopardizing efforts to improve food security and nutrition. Support is heavily biased towards measures that are distortive, inefficient, unequally distributed, and harmful for the environment and human health. How can we redirect support to help transform food systems for Zero Hunger and ensure that nutritious food is available to all?

This CFS side event will bring global multi-stakeholders (UN agencies, academia, NGOs and Member Countries) to explain the state of global agricultural support. Attendees will also hear experts as they outline a 6-step policy guide to repurposing, and how doing so can help ensure food security and nutrition for all.


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See the schedule of side events as a .pdf-file here.