Consultation for the development of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in the Context of Food Security and Nutrition
An increasing number of people are not able to realize their right to adequate food. In 2020, between 720 and 811 million people in the world faced hunger, up to 161 million more than in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionally affected women and girls, in part as a result of gender inequality and discrimination. In this context, urgent actions are needed to address the challenges, gaps and barriers that hinder progress in achieving gender equality and the full realization of women’s and girls’ rights in the context of food security and nutrition.
Advancing gender equality and women's and girls' empowerment is critical to achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the vision of the Committee of World Food Security (CFS) of ending hunger and ensuring food security and nutrition for all. To guide progress on gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment, CFS at its 46th Session in October 2019 decided to develop Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in the Context of Food Security and Nutrition.
The Guidelines are intended to support governments, development partners and other stakeholders to advance gender equality, women’s and girls’ rights and empowerment, as part of their efforts to eradicate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition, through appropriate policies, investments and institutional arrangements. They aim to foster greater policy coherence between gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment, and food security and nutrition agendas, and promote mutually reinforcing policy measures.
Following the endorsement of the Terms of Reference for the Guidelines by the Committee in February 2021, a Zero Draft of the Guidelines has been prepared as a basis for a consultative process, which includes six regional consultations (Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia, Near East, Africa, Asia and Pacific and North America) and this electronic consultation.
CFS now invites all actors involved in addressing food insecurity and malnutrition1 to provide feedback on the Zero Draft of the Guidelines, which is made up of four parts:
- The first part provides the background and rationale of the Guidelines, their objectives and information on their nature as well as their intended users.
- The second part presents the core principles that underpin the Guidelines, taking into account the CFS Vision of ending hunger and ensuring food security and nutrition for all, and for the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security.
- The third part is organized into nine sections/themes. Each section presents a problem statement, a narrative and related policy areas for discussion. This part is intended to frame the discussions in the consultations and inform the preparation of the upcoming versions of the document. It presents initial ideas regarding the issues and topics to be considered and discussed by CFS stakeholders.
- The fourth part includes provisions regarding the implementation of the future Guidelines and the monitoring of their use and application.
In providing comments on the Zero Draft of the Guidelines, you are invited to focus on the following guiding questions:
- Does the Zero Draft appropriately capture the main challenges and barriers that hinder progress in achieving gender equality and the full realization of women’s and girls’ rights in the context of food security and nutrition? If not, what do you think is missing or should be adjusted?
- Does Part 2 of the Zero Draft satisfactorily reflect the core principles which should underpin the Guidelines? If not, how do you propose to improve these principles?
- Do the nine sections of Part 3 of the Zero Draft comprehensively cover the policy areas to be addressed to achieve gender equality and the full realization of women’s and girls’ rights in the context of food security and nutrition? If not, what do you think is missing?
- Does Part 4 of the Zero Draft provide all the elements necessary for effective implementation and monitoring of the use and application of the Guidelines? If not, what do you propose to add or change?
Comments are accepted in all UN languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish).
The outcomes of the consultation process will contribute to the preparation of the First Draft of the Voluntary Guidelines, which will be negotiated in spring 2022. The final version of the Guidelines will be presented for endorsement by the CFS Plenary at its 50th Session in October 2022.
Thank you very much for engaging in this critical process to ensure all voices are heard in the development of the Guidelines.
We look forward to receiving your valued input to make these guidelines a reality.
Françoise Trine, Marina Calvino and Alyson Brody
 These include governments; intergovernmental and regional organizations, including UN agencies and bodies; civil society, private sector; research institutions and academia; development agencies, including international financial institutions and philanthropic foundations.