Committee on World Food Security

Making a difference in food security and nutrition

CFS Policy Products

Using a multi-stakeholder, inclusive approach, CFS develops and endorses policy recommendations and guidance on a wide range of food security and nutrition topics. 

These are developed starting from scientific and evidence-based reports produced by the High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) and/or through work supported technically by The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Food Programme (WFP) and representatives of the CFS Advisory Group

Major policy products

Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition

The CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition (VGFSyN) were endorsed at CFS 47 in February 2021. Resulting from a five-year intensive and inclusive multi-stakeholder consultation process and informed by the scientific evidence provided by the CFS High Level Panel of Experts, the Guidelines aim to support countries to eradicate hunger and malnutrition in all its forms by utilizing a food systems lens.

Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crises

The objective of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crises (CFS-FFA, the Framework) is to improve the food security and nutrition of populations affected by, or at risk of, protracted crises by addressing critical manifestations and building resilience; adapting to specific challenges; and contributing to addressing underlying causes.

The CFS-FFA is a short document that provides a broad framework that can be used by all stakeholders who may have a role in improving or impacting food security and nutrition in protracted crises.

SDGs
SDG 1 SDG 2 SDG 6 SDG 10 SDG 13 SDG 15 SDG 16 SDG 17

The proportion of undernourished people in protracted crisis situations is about three times as high as in other developing contexts – and the longer the crisis, the worse the food security and nutrition outcomes. In 2010 there were over 160 million undernourished people living in protracted crisis situations (State of Food Insecurity in the World 2010). These worryingly high figures were the starting point for CFS to work on developing policy guidance to improve food security and nutrition outcomes.

The CFS Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crises (CFS-FFA) represents the first global consensus on how to mitigate the threat to food security and nutrition during protracted crises. It recognizes that building resilience can boost capacity to absorb shocks and long-term stresses. Given the severity of undernutrition during protracted crises, nutritional needs require a special focus especially for at risk populations, the vulnerable and marginalized groups.

Implementation of the CFS-FFA will need many stakeholders to translate the political commitment to action on the ground. CFS stakeholders are both building awareness of the CFS-FFA among key stakeholders and also supporting countries in implementation.

In his statement for the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016, the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calls for all stakeholders to work together to improve the lives of those living under protracted crises. The CFS-FFA clearly has a role to play. Since endorsement of the CFS-FFA, activities under development with the Rome based agencies include:

  • Awareness-raising events and activities with UN stakeholders
  • Preparatory work in selected countries, based on a contextual analysis of the policy guidance of the CFS-FFA in support of policy assistance and coherence, and capacity development
  • Elaboration of a series of thematic Guidance Notes related to the CFS-FFA principles
  • Creation of a knowledge sharing platform on resilience
  • Operational research on shock-responsive social protection systems in humanitarian contexts and protracted crises to better understand the links between social protection and resilience-building
  • A medium-term research process to build the evidence base on the role of food security on peace, stability and social cohesion and the conditions required for successful food security related responses
  • Partnering for impact – the Rome-based Agencies are working closely together to improve collaboration and partnership in strengthening resilience, building on complementarities to better provide support to countries and regions
  • Advocacy on the CFS-FFA in global processes and policy dialogues including the ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment; World Humanitarian Summit; Inter-Agency Standing Committee Working Group; UN System Chief Executives Board etc.; and events such as the World Bank Fragility, Conflict and Violence Forum

At its 47th Session in February 2021, CFS held a Global Thematic Event (GTE) for taking stock of the use and application of the CFS-FFA. The GTE enabled a multistakeholder dialogue based on the experiences and good practices documented by CFS stakeholders, and contributed to monitoring progress in implementing the CFS-FFA at national, regional and global levels.

Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems

Responsible investment in agriculture and food systems is essential for enhancing food security and nutrition and supporting the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security.

SDGs
SDG 1 SDG 2 SDG 5 SDG 10 SDG 13 SDG 16

Eradicating hunger will require a significant increase in agricultural investment and, more importantly, it will require improving the quality of investment so that it benefits those that need it most.

The CFS Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems – known as RAI – acknowledge that the starting point for defining how responsible investment in agriculture and food systems can contribute to food security and nutrition is the recognition and respect for human rights. They are a set of ten principles that apply to all types and sizes of agricultural investment including fisheries, forests and livestock. They address all stakeholders and apply to all stages of the value chain. As a soft law instrument they are globally applicable and include actions to address a range of environmental, social and economic issues.

As the RAI principles were developed through a multi-stakeholder process, they already have wide buy-in. All CFS stakeholders are asked to collaborate, network and identify joint activities to promote the use of the RAI Principles at the local, national and regional levels.

CFS will organize a Global Thematic Event (GTE) at CFS 49 in October 2021 for taking stock of the use and application of the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems, endorsed in 2014. The GTE will provide an opportunity for an interactive multistakeholder dialogue to share experiences and good practices at national, regional and global levels. The event will look into the potential application of CFS policy outcomes, in particular the implementation of the RAI Principles and their contribution to food security and nutrition, thus supporting the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security, in line with the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Voluntary guidelines on the responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests in the context of national food security

The purpose of these Voluntary Guidelines is to serve as a reference and to provide guidance to improve the governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests with the overarching goal of achieving food security for all and to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security.

SDGs
SDG 1 SDG 2 SDG 5 SDG 10 SDG 13 SDG 16 SDG 17

The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security known as the VGGT promote secure tenure rights and equitable access to land, fisheries and forests as a means of eradicating hunger and poverty, supporting sustainable development and enhancing the environment.

The VGGT promote responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests, with respect to all forms of tenure: public, private, communal, indigenous, customary, and informal. Their overarching goals are to achieve food security for all and support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security. While supporting efforts towards the eradication of hunger and poverty, the Guidelines are also intended to contribute to achieving sustainable livelihoods, social stability, housing security, rural development, environmental protection, and sustainable social and economic development. The Guidelines are meant to benefit all people in all countries, although there is an emphasis on vulnerable and marginalized people.

They also serve as a reference and set out principles and internationally accepted standards for practices for the responsible governance of tenure. They provide a framework that States can use when developing their own strategies, policies, legislation, programmes and activities. They allow governments, civil society, the private sector and citizens to judge whether their proposed actions and the actions of others constitute acceptable practices.

The VGGT were endorsed by CFS at a Special Session in May 2012 and since then implementation has been encouraged by G20, Rio+ 20, United Nations General Assembly and Francophone Assembly of Parliamentarians. They are also used as a reference by donor institutions. In 2014 CFS held a stocktaking event to follow progress on the rollout.

The first Global Thematic Event (GTE) was organized at CFS 43 (2016) for taking stock of the use and application of the VGGT. The event confirmed that the VGGT have been widely used and applied in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America and Caribbean since they were endorsed by CFS in a Special Session in 2012, showing that Member States and many other stakeholders have been very active in contributing to their implementation.

Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition

The Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition (GSF) is a single, living document to be approved by the CFS Plenary. Its purpose is to improve coordination and guide synchronized action by a wide range of stakeholders. The GSF will be flexible so that it can be adjusted as priorities change.

The goal of the CFS Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition (GSF) is to provide an overarching framework and reference point for food security and nutrition strategies, policies and actions.

The GSF offers guidelines and recommendations for coherent and coordinated actions at global, regional and national levels that can support countries in their efforts to achieve the SDGs. It also emphasizes the importance of the country ownership of programmes to address food insecurity and malnutrition.

The GSF is targeted at decision and policy-makers and consolidates all the CFS policy work since the CFS Reform in 2009. It also takes into account other existing frameworks, guidelines and processes.

The GSF is dynamic and updated annually with the endorsed policy recommendations coming from CFS Plenary. In 2017 the Committee carried out a more in-depth periodic review of the GSF to incorporate new developments in the area of food security and nutrition, especially frameworks and recommendations from other fora. The first periodic update of the GSF was endorsed at CFS 44 in October 2017.

An online version of the GSF - the Online GSF - has been created and launched: this new, more user-friendly tool is easier to use and to disseminate. All stakeholders are invited to use it and promote it among decision makers in their country or organization.

Voluntary Guidelines to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of the national food security

The objective of the Voluntary Guidelines is to provide practical guidance to States in their implementation of the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security, in order to achieve the goals of the World Food Summit Plan of Action. They provide an additional instrument to combat hunger and poverty and to accelerate attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.

The Voluntary Guidelines represent the first attempt by governments to interpret an economic, social and cultural right and to recommend actions to be undertaken for its realization. Moreover, they represent a step towards integrating human rights into the work of agencies dealing with food and agriculture.

The Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security (the Guidelines) were endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) at its 30th Session in October 2004.

The Guidelines provide practical guidance to States and other stakeholders in developing and adopting a wide range of measures - including national strategies, institutions, legal frameworks, access to resources and assets, nutrition, national financial resources and monitoring – that positively contribute to the progressive realization of the right to food.

  1. The Guidelines take into account a wealth of important considerations and principles, including equality and non-discrimination, participation and inclusion, accountability and human dignity, and remind stakeholders that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interrelated and interdependent. They also support global efforts to end hunger and malnutrition, including subsequent efforts in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially SDG 2 “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition”.
  2. The importance of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security is reflected in the vision of the reformed CFS to “strive for a world free from hunger where countries implement the voluntary guidelines for the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security” [CFS 2009/2.Rev2]. This was an important development, as recognizing the human right to adequate food is fundamental to achieving food security. The realization of this right, and its related norms, are also part of the foundation and overarching frameworks of CFS, as outlined in the Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition (GSF) and CFS-endorsed policy guidelines and recommendations such as the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) and the CFS Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (RAI).
  3. A Global Thematic Event (GTE) was held at CFS 45 in October 2018 to take stock of the use and application of the Guidelines. The GTE provided an opportunity for an inclusive, multistakeholder dialogue to share national, regional and global experiences and good practices in the use and application of the Guidelines. A total of 56 contributions from CFS stakeholders (governments, UN Organizations, civil society and non-governmental organizations and academia) informed the Event. Contributions documented experiences in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.
  4. The GTE built on previous work at the 41st Session of the CFS in October 2014, where three Member States (El Salvador, India and Jordan) shared their national experiences. A Ten-Year Retrospective on the Right to Food Guidelines was produced in 2014 to enable stakeholders to take stock and understand what has worked, where the bottlenecks lie and how governments and their partners can be most effective in the fight against hunger and malnutrition.

CFS Policy Recommendations

Policy recommendations | HLPE Report

With a core focus on the following SDGs:

SDG 1 SDG 2 SDG 15 SDG 16 SDG 17

With contributions to SDGs:

SDG 5 SDG 6 SDG 7 SDG 9 SDG 10 SDG 12 SDG 13
Policy recommendations | HLPE Report

With a core focus on the following SDGs:

SDG 1 SDG 2 SDG 9 SDG 12 SDG 15 SDG 16 SDG 17

With contributions to SDGs:

SDG 3 SDG 4 SDG 5 SDG 6 SDG 7 SDG 8 SDG 10 SDG 13
Policy recommendations

With a core focus on the following SDGs:

SDG 1 SDG 2 SDG 7 SDG 8 SDG 16 SDG 17

With contributions to SDGs:

SDG 4 SDG 5 SDG 6 SDG 9 SDG 10 SDG 11 SDG 12 SDG 13

SDG 14 SDG 15
Policy recommendations | HLPE Report

With a core focus on the following SDGs:

SDG 1 SDG 2 SDG 6 SDG 16 SDG 17

With contributions to SDGs:

SDG 5 SDG 9 SDG 10 SDG 12 SDG 13 SDG 15
Policy recommendations | HLPE Report

With a core focus on the following SDGs:

SDG 1 SDG 2 SDG 12 SDG 16 SDG 17

With contributions to SDGs:

SDG 5 SDG 7 SDG 9 SDG 10 SDG 13
Policy recommendations | HLPE Report

With a core focus on the following SDGs:

SDG 1 SDG 2 SDG 14 SDG 16 SDG 17

With contributions to SDGs:

SDG 5 SDG 6 SDG 8 SDG 10 SDG 13 SDG 15
Policy recommendations | HLPE Report

With a core focus on the following SDGs:

SDG 1 SDG 2 SDG 7 SDG 16 SDG 17

With contributions to SDGs:

SDG 5 SDG 9 SDG 10 SDG 13 SDG 15
Policy recommendations | HLPE Report

With a core focus on the following SDGs:

SDG 1 SDG 2 SDG 16 SDG 17

With contributions to SDGs:

SDG 5 SDG 6 SDG 8 SDG 9 SDG 10 SDG 12 SDG 13 SDG 15
Policy recommendations | HLPE Report

With a core focus on the following SDGs:

SDG 1 SDG 2 SDG 13 SDG 16 SDG 17

With contributions to SDGs:

SDG 5 SDG 6 SDG 9 SDG 10 SDG 11 SDG 12 SDG 15
Policy recommendations | HLPE Report

With a core focus on the following SDGs:

SDG 1 SDG 2 SDG 16 SDG 17

With contributions to SDGs:

SDG 3 SDG 5 SDG 8 SDG 9 SDG 10 SDG 11 SDG 13
Policy recommendations

With a core focus on the following SDGs:

SDG 1 SDG 2 SDG 16 SDG 17

With contributions to SDGs:

SDG 5 SDG 10 SDG 13
Policy recommendations

With a core focus on the following SDGs:

SDG 1 SDG 2 SDG 5 SDG 16 SDG 17

With contributions to SDGs:

SDG 3 SDG 10 SDG 13
Policy recommendations | HLPE Report

With a core focus on the following SDGs:

SDG 1 SDG 2 SDG 16 SDG 17

With contributions to SDGs:

SDG 5 SDG 8 SDG 10 SDG 13
SDG 13
Policy recommendations | HLPE Report

With a core focus on the following SDGs:

SDG 1 SDG 2 SDG 16 SDG 17

With contributions to SDGs:

SDG 5 SDG 10 SDG 12