Committee on World Food Security

Making a difference in food security and nutrition

13 November 2021 | Remarks by CFS Chair at the Ministerial-level discussion of the Alliance for Multilateralism at the Paris Peace Forum 2021

13 Nov 2021

Check against delivery

Thank you, Elisabeth Ministers,

Madame Secretary of State,
ED of the World Food Program,
Excellences, participants,
all protocols observed,

Allow me first to thank Minister Le Drian and Minister Maas for inviting the Chair of the Committee on World Food Security to be part of this Ministerial discussion on how to foster inclusive and sustainable food systems for achieving a zero hunger and malnutrition world, that help to end rural poverty and boldly contribute to action on climate and biodiversity. In particular, thanks to France, Germany and the EU for your continued political and financial support to the Committee.

The CFS is a governance body of the United Nations that was reformed in 2009 to be fit-for-purpose to confront the food price crisis at that time, future crises, and the long-term structural causes of hunger and malnutrition. It was reformed under the principles of inclusion, country leadership, science&evidence-base, and adaptability to respond to future challenges. It created the High Level Panel of Experts (the CFS HLPE) as its science-policy interface to facilitate evidence-based policymaking. In short, a Committee that is fully aligned with the Principles and vision of this Alliance for Multilateralism.

Today, 133 CFS Member States of the United Nations work together with Civil Society, Private Sector, Indigenous peoples and farmer organizations, Philanthropic organizations, the CGIAR, the IFIs, the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, and the United Nations Development System –notably, FAO, IFAD, WFP, WHO, and UN Nutrition - to address complex and commonly contentious issues that are key to achieving SDG 2 through sustainable and inclusive food systems.

Since 2009, the Committee has delivered globally agreed Voluntary Guidelines and Recommendations, Principles, and policy frameworks that are cornerstones of well-functioning food systems; on the governance and tenure of land and natural resources; on responsible investments in agriculture; on climate change, water management and empowering smallholder farmers, to name a few. Earlier this year, we adopted Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition and Policy Recommendations on Agro-ecology and other innovative approaches.

While these policy consensuses are not legally-binding international law, they do represent the most inclusive policy convergence processes in the United Nations.

The Secretary-General’s Statement of Action of the Food Systems Summit calls on the CFS to play the essential role it was designed and expected to play by you, as the foremost inclusive multilateral platform for policy convergence and coordination in this issue.

How can this be done? I see four ways.

First, by widely disseminating the existing policy consensus in a way that they better inspire governments’ policies and strategies, and empower all stakeholders; and embracing the work the Committee is doing next - on Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s/Girls’ empowerment, on Youth in food systems, as well as on Data and Reducing Inequalities to achieve food security and nutrition for all. With these policy products, we need to connect global to local.

Second, by offering its inclusive global platform as a space for connecting country-led national pathways and strategies for sustainable food systems, food security and nutrition. That is, being the space in which countries –developing and developed alike- share their efforts, showcase and review their progress and connect with the financing-for-development community (public IFIs and private investors), civil society, businesses and the research and science community. This may be done in a way that showcases how national pathways and policies are connected to the NDCs, NAPAs and overall SDG strategies at the country level, and linked to the HLPF’s Voluntary National Review process and SDG 2 review. In this way, connecting local to global.

Third, providing its platform to multi-stakeholder alliances, coalitions and initiatives to share progress, connect with each other, and be accountable - in a structured way. The CFS may provide its space for transformative coalitions such as those on School Meals, Agro-ecology, Family Farming, and Indigenous Peoples or Territorial Development, to mention some examples. This is the multi-stakeholder horizontal connector.

Finally, the CFS offers a tried-and-tested, independent science-policy interface - its High Level Panel of Experts - which, designed on the basis of the IPCC concept, should be adequately reinforced and provided more resources and autonomy, could join efforts with other key independent bodies such as the IPCC and IPBES to form a network that provides coordinated scientific evidence to inform the food system transformation process. This is the knowledge-policy and inter-disciplines connector.

In this way, CFS can complete the reform envisioned by you in 2009, live up to its potential, and contribute in the largest way possible to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. Thank you.

 More information on the event is available here.