Committee on World Food Security

Making a difference in food security and nutrition

Remarks by CFS Chair at the 2022 Global Food 50/50 Report

18 Oct 2022

Friends and Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to join you today and celebrate the launch of this second Global Food 50/50Report.

Congratulation to the Global Health 50/50 initiative with CGIAR-IFPRI and UN Women, two key longstanding partners of our UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS), for excellent report.  

This report comes at a crucial time for two reasons:

First, the world is witnessing an unprecedented global food security and cost-of-living crisis associated with the interlinked shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change impacts, and conflicts including the war in Ukraine.  

Despite women and girls standing at the forefront of addressing this crisis, struggling to manage their multiple roles with related burdens, they remain the worst affected, often eating least and last.

Second, we convened the 50th Plenary session of CFS here in Rome. One of its main outcomes was an agreement by members to continue work on draft Guidelines on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls in the Context of Food Security and Nutrition.

This is critical. As you may already know, negotiations on these guidelines did not conclude in July as expected.

This recommitment by members is a welcome development. I am grateful to UN Women for the support and leadership you have provided in this process. We were grateful to receive a CFS 50 message by Ms Sima Sami Iskandar Bahous, Executive Director of UN Women which was delivered in person by our dear Jemimah Njuki. We count on your continued support to finalize the guidelines and promote their use thereafter.
The Global Food 50/50 report is a useful resource. It gives us reliable and rigorous evidence of prevalent gender discrimination in the global food system, where women are acutely underrepresented in the leadership of global organizations working on food security and nutrition.

This is key. The report points to a very specific area of intervention that Members and other stakeholders can target using the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in the Context of Food Security and Nutrition once endorsed.

These guidelines will be an instrument to foster greater coherence among gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment, and food security and nutrition agendas, and promote mutually reinforcing policy and programmatic interventions.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Notwithstanding some progress made over the years, which we must protect and guard jealously, it is regrettable that women are still far from being equally represented in the top positions of global food system organizations as revealed in the 50/50 Report.

As the 50/50 Report outlines, it is urgent that we create just and equitable agriculture and food systems by encouraging women’s leadership in global food system organizations, developing workplace policies that enable women to thrive, and pursuing outcomes that improve the food security and nutrition of women and girls. All these should be done while addressing the root causes of gender inequalities.

Accountability mechanisms, such as the Global Food 50/50 Report, are an important tool to guide us toward reaching this goal. And accountability is one of the key roles of CFS in accordance with its 2009 Reform Document.

With my presence here today, I reiterate CFS’s engagement in promoting policies and practices towards global food system that is firmly accountable for progress toward gender equality.

As many of you might already know, the CFS, which I am honored to chair, serves as the multistakeholder and most inclusive global food governance body of the United Nations, where 137 Members States of the UN are joined by civil society, private sector, research and academia, UN agencies and programs, international financial institutions, foundations, and others, to deliberate upon and drive convergence on global policies to address systemic and structural causes of hunger and malnutrition in support of the efforts led by countries. 

Once again, congratulations on the launch of this report. I wish you all the best in today’s discussions and look forward to continued partnership with you all.

Thank you!