Committee on World Food Security

Making a difference in food security and nutrition

6 October 2022 | Opening Remarks by CFS Chair at the FAO Event "Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the CFS VGGT"

06 Oct 2022

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Friends, colleagues, good morning.

I warmly welcome you all to this event to commemoration the 10th anniversary of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (CFS VGGT).

Our gratitude to you Ben Davis, Adriano Campolina and the entire FAO land tenure team and the Inclusive Rural Transformation and Gender Equality Division in FAO, for organizing this event and for the incredible work you continue doing on land tenure and in promoting the use of the guidelines. Special gratitude to IFAD, our hosts today and a key supporter of CFS’s work.

Developed, negotiated and adopted at CFS on 11 May, 2012, the VGGTare more important today than they were 10 years ago when we endorsed them.

Today we are facing both a food crisis and a cost of living crisis that are devastating communities and countries around the world.

As the SOFI report reminded us, more than 800 million people go to bed hungry and this number is growing by day. Healthy diets remain costly and out of reach for billions of people, and diet-related diseases have become the world’s number one killer.

COVID-19, climate shocks and conflicts including the war in Ukraine have made the situation truly dire.

At a challenging time like this, land governance and secure tenure are mission critical.

When the prices of fuel, food and agriculture produce in general spike, as they did back in 2008 and as we are seeing in the past months, pressures over land tenure increase. They increase the appetite for biofuels and may attract speculative capitals and trigger land grabbing. 

Responsible and rights-based governance of land tenure and other natural resources is more essential than ever in times of crisis.

Crucially, it is essential to protect and support small-scale and family farmers who are its custodians. According to FAO, land and soil supply over 95% of our food. It is the arena where the world’s smallholder and family farmers produce the 80% of the food we consume.



Land is our number one lifeline; It is the bedrock upon which food security and nutrition, nature and livelihoods rely.

When healthy and well managed, land supports biodiversity; water; crops, forests and livestock; territories and landscapes; tradition and cultures; and not least, the livelihoods of those who rely upon its resources.

However, secure land tenure rights are simply not where they need to be to address the current food crisis and to meet the ambition of the 2030 Agenda. We need to act now and together to manage our resources sustainably, especially to improve the way land is used and governed, and how basic human rights are protected in doing so.

Through the VGGTs and the CFS’s many other policy tools, we have time-tested resources to help countries achieve the 2030 sustainable development goals, and shape their national transition pathways to end hunger, malnutrition, and extreme poverty.



As you may be aware, CFS was established as an intergovernmental committee in 1974 and reformed in 2009 to become the UN’s multi-stakeholder platform where today, 137 governments, come together with UN agencies and other key stakeholders to negotiate and agree on science and evidence-based policy frameworks to address structural causes of hunger and malnutrition.

The VGGT are hailed as one of most successful of CFS policy guidance. They have been used by countries and stakeholders around the world to inform national policies, legislations, and development programmes.

While a lot more still needs to be done, this event, coming a few days before the 50th Plenary session of CFS (CFS 50) to be held next week, is a reminder of what we can achieve when we work together.

I wish you all the best in your discussions and look forward to seeing you next week.