Committee on World Food Security

Making a difference in food security and nutrition

Remarks by CFS Vice-Chair at a preparatory event on parliamentary action on tackling gender inequality to achieve food security and improved nutrition for all

27 Oct 2022

Excellencies, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great honour for me to be with you today, as the Vice-Chairperson of the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS).

Advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls  is more urgent now than ever. We are experiencing an unprecedented global food security crisis.

Once again, women who serve as society’s shock absorbers by eating least and last, are disproportionately affected by the crisis. Women’s right to food is under threat.

But we have other reasons to give special attention to women and girls in these challenging times. Supporting the rights and empowerment of women is one of the most effective ways to improve food security and nutrition for all because of the multiple roles that women play across the food system. I know this. I have seen it in action back home in Kenya.

Women are central to ending hunger and ensuring food security and nutrition for all, progress towards the realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security and in achieving all Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

These women are your constituencies. They are counting on you for public policy changes that will give prominence to their work.

As the First Parliamentary Summit held in Madrid in 2018 clearly stated, “Parliamentary alliances are key to positioning the fight against hunger and malnutrition at the highest level of political agendas”.

Placing gender equality and women’s empowerment top of national and local agendas is in your hands. You have the power and mandate ranging from representation to legislation, budget and oversight. 

The Committee on World Food Security is ready to support you.  

CFS serves as the global food governance body of the United Nations where 137 Members States of the UN - including most of your countries - are joined by civil society, private sector, research and academia, UN agencies and programmes, 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. 

To this end, CFS is developing Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls Empowerment in the context of Food Security and Nutrition to be endorsed by the end of 2023.

The preparation of the Guidelines which has been ongoing for the last two years, has been fully inclusive with the participation of hundreds of stakeholders from different sectors, including several parliamentarians, through global and regional consultations.

The Guidelines will provide concrete policy guidance to governments, to you Parliamentarians, UN agencies and other stakeholders, based on good practices and lessons learned on gender-responsive public policies for food security and nutrition.

The Guidelines will address key challenges for gender equality and empowerment such as:

  • Elimination of all forms of gender-based violence;
  • Women’s participation, voice and leadership in policy- and decision-making at all levels;
  • Recognition, reduction and redistribution of unpaid care and domestic work;
  • Women’s economic and social empowerment;
  • Women’s access to and control over natural and productive resources;
  • Women’s and girls’ access to education, social protection and food and nutrition assistance; and
  • Women’s and girls’ empowerment in conflicts, humanitarian crises and emergencies.

Excellencies, colleagues,

Significant progress towards gender equality has been made globally over the last decades, but progress has been discouragingly slow, has recently slowed down and even regressed in some parts of the world.

It is a particularly difficult moment for women and girls with the compounded effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts and climate change.

The world is counting on you not only to take immediate action to help women and girls in this difficult moment but also to address the structural causes of gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment!

Let’s fight together to end  hunger and malnutrition without discrimination!

Thank you for your attention.