Committee on World Food Security

Making a difference in food security and nutrition

Gabriel Ferrero of Spain Elected New Chairperson of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS)

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Rome, 14 October 2021 - The United Nations (UN) Committee on World Food Security (CFS) today elected r Gabriel Ferrero y de Loma-Osorio of Spainas its new Chairperson during its 49th Plenary Session (CFS 49). Mr Ferrero replaces Thanawat Tiensin of Thailand whose term has come to an end. Mr Ferrero will serve from October 2021 to October 2023.

Speaking immediately after his election, Mr Ferrero said, “CFS offers what no other existing international platform does: an inclusive multilateral space where all stakeholders come together to share, learn, deliberate and achieve consensus on complex systemic issues for achieving food security and nutrition, providing also a knowledge-governance interface that is open, transparent and participatory. I thank CFS Members for the trust they have placed in me to lead this Committee at a time when its work is most needed to address the run-away global hunger and malnutrition.”

He further outlined his leadership priorities for the next two years. “The time is now to make CFS a more effective and responsive body that serves as a centre of gravity of global collective efforts towards the achievement of SDG 2 on Zero Hunger, contributing to the rest of the SDGs. I look forward to working with you all to make this happen.”

Handing over the reins of the Committee, outgoing Chairperson, Mr Thanawat Tiensin of Thailand said, “Leading this important Committee has been an absolute privilege. The last two years, which coincided with my term, have been particularly difficult given Covid-19 pandemic and rising global hunger and malnutrition. That said, CFS has shown great leadership at such a difficult time producing key policy products and scientific evidence to guide the world to meet the challenge. I wish my successor all the best and urge them to take advantage of the renewed global food security momentum to take CFS to the next level of impact at the national and regional levels.”

Speaking in the closing session of the Plenary, QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) congratulated the new CFS Chairperson, Mr Gabriel Ferrero y de Loma-Osorio of Spain, and thanked Mr Medi Moungui of Cameroon who also vied for the Committee’s Chairpersonship. The Director-General emphasized, “Your election comes at a crucial time for the CFS after endorsement of the new FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031 and the follow-up to the UN Food Systems Summit. You can count on FAO’s continued commitment to support the work of the CFS. We will continue to promote and advocate CFS meaningful products through our offices worldwide.”

The FAO Director-General also thanked the outgoing Chairperson of CFS. “I would like to thank my friend Thanawat Tiensin for his hard work and dedication to the work of the Committee over the past challenging two years. Under your leadership, the CFS has become more inclusive and cooperative, has endorsed important guidelines and major policy products that further strengthen the work towards food security. The complex challenges that lie ahead will require us to collectively and coherently work more and better together. For Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment and a Better Life for all, leaving no one behind.”

The CFS Plenary also confirmed 12 new countries as its Bureau Members with another 12 as their alternates. The new CFS Bureau Members are: Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kuwait, Mauritania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russian Federation, South Africa, Switzerland, United States of America, and Zambia. More details here: https://www.fao.org/cfs/about-cfs/bag

The new CFS Chairperson and his Bureau will have their job cut out for them to drive the Committee’s Multi-Year Programme of Work (MYPoW 2020-2023). The work of the Committee has never been more critical given worrying state of global food security. The new team also comes in the wake of the UN Food Systems Summit that mobilized wide-scale commitments to transform food systems. CFS and its science-policy interface, the High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE), will play a critical role in the follow up of the Summit’s outcomes.

The next two years will also see CFS conclude critical components of its current programme of work including on gender and women’s and girls’ empowerment, youth engagement and employment in agriculture and food systems and data collection and analysis and on reducing inequalities for food security and nutrition. During the same period, CFS will agree on priorities for its next biennium.

Besides the election of a new Chairperson and Bureau, the Plenary looked at a number of issues including the 2021 State of Food Security and Nutrition report, uptake of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition, the CFS Multi-Year Programme of Work, and other ongoing CFS workstreams and priorities.

Keynote speakers at CFS 49 included António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General; Collen Vixen Kelapile, President, United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Heads of the Rome-based Agencies; Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Center of Sustainable Development at Columbia University; and Martin Cole, Chairperson of the CFS High-Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) Steering Committee. The Plenary also included a special session by the CFS Secretariat on alignment between CFS and the three Rio Conventions – UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Speakers in this session included Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director and the Executive Secretaries of the three Rio Conventions.

More information is available on the CFS 49 website: https://www.fao.org/cfs/plenary/cfs49

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