Committee on World Food Security

Making a difference in food security and nutrition

25 March 2022 | Statement by CFS Chair at the FAO Technical Briefing on "The impact of COVID-19 and the War in Ukraine on the Outlook for Food Security and Nutrition"

25 Mar 2022

Thank you very much, dear Chief Scientist.

Thank you to the FAO Director-General QU Dongyu  for convening this briefing.

I cannot but begin by adding my voice to the expressions of solidarity with the victims of this war. As Ambassador of Spain, I adhere to the intervention of the European Union and to the one of my country, as well as to the strongest call for the end to this war.


Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

Now in my capacity as Chairman of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS).

I would like to support the words of the UN Secretary General, those of the FAO Director General today, and the text of the relevant Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly.

Today, conflicts, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic are recognized as among the most important drivers of food insecurity and hunger. In this context, our first priority should be to address their root causes, act on their immediate impacts, and prevent them in the future.

Our priority today is, as in all conflicts, to cease hostilities. It is to end the war.

The impact of this war is already being transferred to hundreds of millions of people around the world through our interconnected food systems, and the most vulnerable, poor and excluded will be the hardest hit.

This war is a systemic shock on top of existing conflicts, pandemic and droughts.



The CFS was created in 1974 and reformed in 2009 to address crises such as the one we are experiencing now.

The CFS is not a technical committee of FAO.  It is a Committee in FAO with the function of assisting the FAO Conference and reporting also to the UN General Assembly through ECOSOC, on global food security and nutrition.

The core of the CFS reform in 2009 was to broaden its membership, which today is 133 Member States, and extends active engagement of the entire UN system – FAO, IFAD-WFP and other agencies; as well as the international financial institutions (IFIs), WTO and the CGIAR, in its proceedings. And, importantly, it involves civil society and the private sector through self-organized coordination mechanisms. That is why the CFS vision is to be the most relevant intergovernmental and inclusive platform to address food security and nutrition (FSN) issues within the UN.

This was based on international consensus that FSN issues cannot be tackled by just one sector, agency or actor. It strongly involves food production. But also access to food, social protection, humanitarian action, trade, international financing and so many other factors. These are systemic and complex challenges that require multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder responses.

The work of CFS is based on the recognition that the voice of science needs to be heard, but also that of producers, workers, indigenous peoples particularly women and youth, businesses and the private sector.

Based on these principles, over the past 12 years, the Committee has addressed critical issues for global FSN, both in crisis situations and in preventing and addressing their root causes.

This has included the development of policies that prevent the exacerbation of crises, or the generation of counterproductive impacts, as well as the development of policy guidance that address important trade-offs. This included guidelines on responsible governance of land, forests and fisheries, 10 years ago, to prevent land grabbing.

It has included agreement on applicable policies on Biofuels; on how to deal with protracted crises; on connecting small-scale producers to markets; on preventing price volatility, on social protection; and most recently, on Food Systems and Nutrition and Agro-Innovations.  

The Committee, in the course of the years after its reform in 2009, has developed voluntary policy agreements that were adopted inter-governmentally. I invite all stakeholders to make full use of this body of agreements that we have already negotiated, as public goods.



Last week the Committee held a joint substantive session of its Bureau and Advisory Committee on the impact of this crisis. I have convened a special session in April for the same purpose, following the FAO Special Council on the 8th, to address the Committee's response to this global food crisis.




The Committee stands ready to serve its mission as an open, inclusive, intergovernmental platform for policy coordination, as always, now more intensively in the coming weeks and months, hand in hand with FAO and the rest of the UN system and family, and listening to civil society and the private sector.

The Committee is at the disposal of the UN Secretary-General to assist in the concerted efforts of the international community through the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance, under his leadership.

I have no doubt that Members will make full use of the Committee on World Food Security as one of the powerful tools at our disposal to deal with the effects of this crisis.

Thank you very much.