Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Member profile

Magdalena Ackermann

Organization: Society for International Development
Country: Italy
I am working on:

Capacity development
From May I will be working with the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN)

This member contributed to:

    • CSIPM Comment to HLPE consultation on the V0 draft of the HLPE 3rd Note on Critical, Emerging and Enduring Issues (CEEI), 22 May 2022 

      A. General remarks: 

      The periodic HLPE CEEI note is a highlight of the CFS policy process, since it represents the moment in which this unique team of analysts is given an opportunity to step back from specific assignments and share with CFS Members and participants its overall reflections regarding what is on the horizon to which the Committee needs to be attentive. Framing the context of this reflection is, of course, a fundamental part of the exercise. Past CEEI notes have defined the terms ‘critical and emerging’ and have clarified the criteria for identifying them [1]. We urge the HLPE to revisit and deepen this framing section of the note in light of the updated conceptual and policy frameworks as described in the 2020 HLPE global narrative report, taking into account the 6 dimensions of FSN, and given the addition of the term ‘enduring’. We welcome the fact that the scope is further expanded to the notion of “enduring” issues. This recognizes the need not only to identify critical and emerging issues, but also to look at WHY already existing issues are not being addressed adequately. In clarifying what is meant by “enduring”, it is critical that the note identifies the structural causes or drivers of why many issues are not just persisting but worsening

      We also welcome the inclusion of some themes of high importance to the CSIPM, such as the those on revitalizing climate policies for food security and nutrition and on recognizing the role and rights of food system workers. We note that, the issue of agricultural workers’ rights was already a pressing one presented by the CSIPM on 2016 [2], and it is still and should be addressed by the HLPE note on CEEI.

      The CSIPM recognizes that, although certain issues have been analyzed by the HLPE, discussed and negotiated at the CFS, they have not been addressed appropriately and therefore remain critical and enduring. We refer to our critical assessments of the policy convergence processes related to Food Systems and Nutrition and s to Agroecology and other Innovations, motivated by the fact that the outcomes were inadequate to address the concerns of our constituencies and communities. Despite widespread political engagements to end hunger, among other international commitments, there is a growing gap between engagements and policies, on the one hand, and the realities and challenges faced by the communities in their territories on the other. The CEEI report should identify the critical issues that point to systemic failures of the current dominant agro-industrial food system, further aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the food price crisis resulting from the war in Ukraine. This gap also highlights the need for much stronger food governance mechanisms at different scales and across different sectors. 

      This worsening reality calls, as the HLPE global narrative highlighted, for a comprehensive food systems analysis of the different issues and the need for radical transformation of food systems. The CEEI note should apply this systems analysis, point to links between the CEEIs and explain why certain issues need to be prioritized by the CFS on the basis of their capacity to bring about transformational leverage of food systems rather than simply making incremental contributions to “improving” or “alleviating” impacts without addressing the root causes of the CEEIs. The 0 draft is limited in this respect as it is mainly a description of 7 separate issues.

      The HLPE CEEI note will be a major contribution to the CFS 50 in a context of one of the most severe multi-layered food crisis in decades. Therefore, it should further build on and update the analysis of the trends, challenges and opportunities of the global narrative report, including the causes, vulnerabilities and obstacles exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and other conflicts, and climate impacts. The multiple crisis highlights the need for global coordination, as already recommended in recent HLPE reports. This note should include elements on how improved coordination and good governance can be envisaged at different scales and across sectors.

      B. Propositions of other relevant issues 

      Several themes have been highlighted in the consultations within the CSIPM. As highlighted in the CSIPM comments on the proposed HLPE theme for the 2024 report, the three topics proposed by the HLPE note, as integrated in the 0 draft, are all relevant to CSIPM constituencies. Several issues put forward previously by the CSIPM remain pressing and critical: agrobiodiversity and genetic resources [3], impacts of trade policies [4]. The issue of how to achieve radical transformation of food systems remains on the agenda, as was shown by the low ambition of the CFS outcomes on agroecology and food systems and nutrition. Other issues have been identified as pressing critical issues: market concentration [5], growing landlessness, migration, human rights violations, food governance.

      Compared to the previous HLPE notes on CEI, the specific issue of “Strengthening governance of food systems for an improved FSN” has not been taken up as a separate issue. Past note highlighted that “Agriculture and food systems will need a radical transformation in the future decades. This will require an improved governance. Among the key challenges: how to better articulate governance systems at different scales and across different sectors in the overall framework of the 2030 Agenda and in the perspective of the progressive realization of the right to adequate food?” [6]  This issue is even more urgent today. 

      The current food multilayered food crisis has shown the dependencies and fragility of international trade and global value chains, as well as the resilience of local, diversified, agroecological territorial food systems. The HLPE already identified the need to address the impacts of Trade on FSN as a critical issue [7]. The report “Voices from the ground” underlined that the COVID-19 crisis “has demonstrated that increased liberalisation of trade goes hand in hand with increased vulnerability and shocks for food importing countries. While regional and international trade can play an important role in the short term to prevent hunger and food-related conflicts, it must be subject to enforceable regulation that upholds the public interest. States must reaffirm their sovereign regulatory role over markets, including through stopping food-related speculation and derivatives, regulating prices, public procurements, public storage and market regulation, secure land and resource rights, enforced labour inspections and mandatory environmental laws.” [8] The UN Special Rapporteur concludes that “Until now, trade policy has primarily focused on economic frameworks and has either ignored or marginalized people’s human rights concerns. (…) International trade is of particular importance and a core element that must be addressed to ensure the full realization of the right to food. [9] This has becoming even more pressing today with the current crisis. It is further marginalizing small scale food producers who are the main protagonists for feeding the world sustainably. 

      With the current food price crisis we face, the third in 15 years, there is once again a re-emerging issue we face that was identified in the first HLPE note: “The increasing role of financial markets in food security and nutrition” [10]. This shows that the CEEI note should analyze why measures taken since the food crisis of 2007-08 have been insufficient. Financial markets play a major role in many dimensions of food systems. They are evident in the consolidation of power concentration in food systems, including through land grabs, acquisitions, investments in technologies. Financial markets are also important in commodity markets with, among others, indexed commodity funds, that link a number of commodities together, shifting the investor’s interest away from prices in any given commodity towards risk-hedging investments in a bundle of unrelated commodities. The rules of investment and finance are profoundly important in shaping economies and the transition of food systems.

      To conclude, we urge the HLPE to develop a note that identifies the structural causes or drivers of the multilayered food crisis that need be addressed to achieve the urgent and radical transformation of our food systems grounded in human rights. The CFS has the mandate and the capacity to address the fragilities of the world’s food system which the current crisis is dramatically highlighting. It has the mandate to coordinate responses that place the needs of workers, migrants, women, smallholder food producers, Indigenous Peoples, consumers, the urban food insecure, refugees and displaced, the landless and communities in protracted crises at the center of policy proposals.


      [1] See,…, p 3 to 5










    • CSM’s collective contribution to the CFS e-consultation

      The Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSM) facilitates the voices from sectors of those most affected by hunger and malnutrition. Through an active internal consultation, which has been ongoing for the past 6 months with all sub-regions and constituencies, we have drafted the following common position to convey our messages, experiences and demands for the CFS policy convergence process on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE).

      Through this extensive CSM contribution, we are contributing from the knowledge and experiences from territories of all regions. We feel this document is of particular importance given the absence of an HLPE report for this CFS policy process. We have suggested a number of very fundamental changes, and we look forward to them being reflected in the process and in the document that will come out of the Regional and online Consultations.

    • Dear CFS colleagues,

      On behalf of the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples' Mechanism (CSM) Working Group for Food Systems and Nutrition, we are pleased to share our collective submission and comments on the Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition.


      Best regards,

      CSM WG on Food Systems and Nutrition