Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Member profile

Ms. Marina Calvino

Organization: FAO
Country: Italy
Field(s) of expertise:

Marina Calvino has over 15 years of experience in international cooperation and in the management of non-profit organizations, with a M. Sc. in gender studies and around 10 years of gender-related professional experience focused on institutional gender mainstreaming, advocacy, policy analysis and research.

Before joining the CFS Secretariat to support the GEWE Workstream, she was Secretary General of the Italian Committee of the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) and Head of the International Cooperation of the Italian Red Cross, after having worked in the sector of international relations and development cooperation by public administrations, research bodies, FAO and other Organizations in the agriculture, rural development, and food security sectors.

Marina has a deep knowledge of FAO governance and member relations at technical and political level. She was Executive Board Member of the FAO European Commission on Agriculture (ECA), and she consolidated her experience in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment as Chairperson of the FAO ECA Working Party on Women and Family in Rural Development.

This member contributed to:

    • Message from the facilitator 

      Dear all,

      We would like to thank all CFS stakeholders and FSN Forum Members who have provided their contributions on the Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in the Context of Food Security and Nutrition via this online consultation.

      We are very satisfied with the positive response to our call, with 113 contributions received.

      We also appreciated the male contributions to this process, which on these issues is not obvious and often in the minority, a special thanks!

      Your diverse comments are really precious and informative, they contributed to strengthen the structure and contents of the Zero Draft and have also provided us with several interpretations of the same issues and included further perspectives; they often provided better clarity on priorities and actions to be taken.

      We also appreciated very much the references to good practices, carried out in the context of projects and programs at regional, national and local level, promoted by governments, CSOs, and the private sector, and the analyses offered by various experts and exponents of the academic world.

      Some experiences are truly encouraging and inspiring, others make us understand how there is need for greater innovation and much more attention to solve many of the problems and barriers experienced by women and girls, in all regions of the world.

      Your input will be taken into account in preparing the First Draft of the Voluntary Guidelines that will be presented to an open meeting early next year.

      Thank you very much for having participated with your time and expertise in this process, in the inclusive perspective that distinguishes the CFS mission, and that has enriched us a lot!

      Follow next steps of this process on our CFS Gender Equality and Women's and Girl's Empowerment Workstream webpage.

      With my best regards,

      Marina Calvino

      CFS Secretariat

    • Message from the facilitator

      Dear FSN Forum members and dear participants in the CFS Gender Regional Consultations,

      Here I am again, to tell you about some of the points discussed during the last CFS regional consultation. I remind you that the two-day webcast is available on the webpage, while the Co-Chairs' summary will be published soon. This consultation for the North America region was not exactly like the others, given its "regional dimension" limited to only two countries, but it was very well attended and participatory as well. The event saw the presence of several experts on behalf of governmental institutions of Canada and the USA, numerous civil society and private sector representatives, and some experts from academia.

      We appreciated also the presence and the contributions as keynote speakers of Ambassador Gabriel Ferrero de Loma-Osorio, CFS Chairperson; Mr Paul Samson, Assistant Deputy Minister, Programs Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; Ms Maura Barry Boyle, Senior Deputy Assistant to the Administrator & Interim Global Water Coordinator, USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security; and Ms Joanna Veltri, Chief, IFAD Americas Liaison Office, who delivered a Joint Statement on behalf of FAO, IFAD and WFP.

      On the second day the discussion focused on sections 3.1, 3.2 and 3.6 of the Zero Draft.

      Last week, on 25 November, we commemorated the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and in this message I would like to focus on this topic in relation to our Voluntary Guidelines (VGs). As many of you might already know, one of the sections of the Zero Draft (Section 3.2) is dedicated to the elimination of violence and discrimination against women for improved food security and nutrition.

      The COVID-19 pandemic, violent conflicts, humanitarian crises and climate-related disasters have led to a further intensification of violence against women, highlighting the need for urgent action.

      However, evidence exists that violence against women and girls can be ended if a comprehensive approach is taken that tackles the root causes of the problem, transforms harmful social norms, ensures that survivors are provided with the services they need, and ends impunity.

      In fact, among the various interventions in the North America Regional Consultation, some experts highlighted that women facing gender-based violence (GBV) often stay where they are because they do not see a way out. In addition to addressing the root causes of GBV, as policy areas and actions to be included in the VGs they suggested to focus on building women’s resilience, to make them able to escape situations of abuse and to be empowered. In this direction, participants also raised the need to ensure adequate and accessible provision of publicly funded services to women survivors of GBV.

      One participant reported that throughout North America, indigenous women are especially vulnerable to severe violence, highlighting that both the US and Canada have initiatives to address "Missing and murdered Indigenous Women". She affirmed the need to expressly address and step-up security and justice for indigenous women and for others facing particular discrimination in the social system.

      Participants also stressed other key challenges and barriers, including the risk for some women in leadership positions who often become target of violence and the need to think on how to combat this issue, and the necessity for a better analysis of the linkages between GBV and humanitarian crises, including COVID-19 and climate disasters.

      Finally, as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women reminds us, we all have a role to play to achieve a brighter future free from violence. I trust the Voluntary Guidelines can create extraordinary momentum and promote commitment to the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls in the context of food security and nutrition.

      Thank you all for your attention and for your appreciated contribution to the development of this policy product.


      Marina Calvino

      CFS Secretariat

    • Message from the facilitator

      Dear participants and FSN Forum members,

      As promised, here I am to report some of the outputs of the regional consultation for Asia and the Pacific.

      We are very satisfied with the active participation during the regional consultation for Asia and the Pacific and we really appreciated the presence of the following keynote speakers: the CFS Chairperson, Mr. Gabriel Ferrero de Loma-Osorio; H.E Lenny N. Rosalin, Deputy Minister for Gender Equality, Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection of Indonesia, and Chair of the ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW); Dr. Lok Nath Paudel, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development of Nepal; and Mr. John Aylieff, Regional Director, World Food Programme (WFP), Asia and the Pacific.

      As in previous consultations, the second plenary discussion on Day 2, intended to discuss Part 3 of the Zero Draft, started with the three themes/sections identified by participants as priority at the time of registration: Section 3.1 Women’s participation, voice and leadership in policy and decision-making at all levels; Section 3.3 Access to education, capacity building, training, knowledge and information services; and Section 3.4 Women’s economic empowerment in the context of sustainable food systems.

      I mention here only some of the many comments received to possibly further stimulate the discussion on the FSN Forum, while I invite you to read the full report on our webpage to learn more.

      There was a caution that while promoting women’s economic empowerment is very positive, this should not be at the expense of instrumentalizing women by placing the sole responsibility for food security on their shoulders. A truly transformative approach needs to address systemic inequalities and ensure that women’s triple burden of work is not compounded. What in your experience would help to enable this transformative approach? And who should lead it?

      Furthermore, there were calls to include the issue of male out-migration in the draft, and to document and respond to its impacts on the women who are left behind: in particular, we need to understand the challenges and needs of female-headed households. What policies and actions could be of help in addressing them?

      On intersectionality and multi-dimensional approaches, there were calls to move beyond a gender binary approach and to reflect the specific needs of LGBTI people and others facing discrimination. These issues were raised several times during the regional consultations. However, there were some debates on this among the participants and a call to use only internationally agreed terms. I appreciated a useful clarification from a participant that we need to ensure non-discrimination to ensure no-one is left behind on the grounds of race, gender identity, religion and other differences.

      Finally, I have very good news. At the request of some participants, we have been able to extend the deadline for this e-consultation to November 30th.

      So, I warmly invite you to post your comments, if not already done, or in the hope that my questions have stimulated further reflection.

      Thank you and see you soon!


    • Message from the facilitator

      Dear FSN Forum members and dear participants in the CFS gender regional consultations, 

      I am back to you for a brief update.

      Yesterday we concluded the last of the six regional consultations, the one for North America. Also this one saw a very qualified participation, and the discussion was very stimulating and full of ideas. I will tell you more about it in the next digest.

      Today, in fact, I want to inform you that the consultation report for the regional consultation on the Near East and North Africa (NENA) is available on our web page, both in English and Arabic.

      The NENA consultation saw 74 participants from the different constituencies of the CFS: representatives of the region’s governmental institutions, civil society and the private sector, as well as international organizations, and academia.

      We were honored by the presence of three keynote speakers: Ms Dina Douay, Director of the Women, Family and Childhood Department of the League of Arab States; Ms Ekram El-Huni, Regional Programme Coordinator, UN Women; and Mr Naoufel Telahigue, IFAD Country Director.

      There was general consensus that the Zero Draft is comprehensive and clear, but some additional key challenges and gaps have been identified by the stakeholders. I will point out some of them.

      Participants raised concerns about the challenge of implementing the Guidelines in the region because of the lack of constitutional basis for the Right to Food in many countries. They noted that the fact that the Guidelines are voluntary makes this even more challenging, given the lack of policy foundations and often poor political will. Participants stressed the need for concrete measures to ensure the Guidelines are effectively translated into practice. The need to mobilize investment funds and networking to implement the Guidelines in addition to securing political commitment and engagement of civil society was raised. 

      Another comment related to implementation on the ground and the need to engage men as allies in the process of empowering women, enabling them to understand why this is important and how it will benefit everyone. It is important to do this in order to address any potential tensions that may arise if men perceive they have to give up some of their own privileges. 

      Furthermore, participants stressed the need to address and acknowledge the tensions between statutory and customary laws in relation to gender equality – just because a law exists does not mean it will be respected. This is true for issues such as land ownership. 

      There was also a call for a more transformative approach to the Guidelines, and to go beyond a presentation of the issues and problems and also present success stories and lessons learned on what works within and outside the region.

      There was a critique about ‘gender washing’, where commitments on gender are not translated into action. For example, a recent study of 51 food and agriculture organizations showed that although 90 percent had gender policies in place, most of them did not support these policies with structures or processes. Only one third had gender strategies and 70 percent of the CEOs were male and were mainly from high income countries. 

      In this last week of the online consultation, I would like to launch one last challenge counting on your experiences and expertise: what in your opinion can be the solutions to overcome the obstacles highlighted by the participants of the regional consultation for the NENA region? What are the necessary policy actions and concrete measures to ensure the Voluntary Guidelines are effectively translated into practice? Could you share success stories and learning on what works within and outside your region?

      Grateful of your attention and active participation, I am looking forward for your feedback on these crucial questions.

      With my best regards,


    • Message from the facilitator

      Dear all,

      We are already well on our way in our consultation process, what a journey! 

      First of all, I would like to thank each of the participants for the numerous and valuable contributions we have received, and I invite those who have not yet done it to post their comments as soon as possible, as our online 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 will close soon on 23 November. 

      All comments coming from the regional and the electronic consultations address diverse topics covered in the Zero Draft. As you will understand, collecting elements from the various regions of the world, without reducing the complexity or neutralizing the differences, as well as taking into consideration local experiences that can represent good practices and inspire effective policy actions, is the biggest challenge. In this sense, your contributions are of great support to our work!

      Just to mention some of the latest remarks received on the FSN Forum, I quote some interesting suggestions on access to financial resources, like those from John Ede (Nigeria), who proposed to promote financial literacy specifically for women farmers, and Laura Fernandez Lord (Spain) whose articulated comments relate to access to financial services and technology. Nawal Abdel-Gayoum Abdel-Rahman (Sudan) suggested supporting women with rewarding and non-pressurizing financing terms for capital recovery. He also pointed out another priority objective for policy action, that is to provide a stable, safe and clean environment for women and girls. 

      On education, Lizzy (Nigeria) reminded how poor education limits women’s food security and nutrition among other needs, and she suggested that nutrition sensitive agriculture should form part of the curricula for a healthier motherhood. Amin Abu-Alsoud from JICA Palestine outlined the crucial issue of gender mainstreaming in public advisory and extension services to avoid technical and marketing information gaps in agriculture. 

      Finally, İlkay Unay-Gailhard (Germany) emphasized how the influence of social and cultural norms on career choices are often neglected in policy making. She suggested that policies aimed to achieve gender equality and the full realization of women’s and girls’ rights in the context of food security and nutrition should be designed to induce changes not only in rural but also in urban areas.

      On the regional consultations’ side, I inform you that the recording of the Regional Consultation for Africa, held on 21-22 October, and the Co-chairs’ summary of this event are both available on the webpage of the regional consultations. The meeting was attended by 115 participants and we are grateful for the valuable and inspirational remarks by distinguished keynote speakers H.E. Nyeleti Brooke Mondlane, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Action of Mozambique; H.E Ambassador Josepha Sacko, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment of the African Union Commission and Mr. Haile Menghestab, Regional Director for Southern Africa, WFP. 

      With regards to the regional consultations for the Near East and North Africa, and the one for the Asia-Pacific region, recordings are available here, while the Co-chairs’ summaries will be published soon. I invite those who have participated in these events and who want to add elements to the discussion, to do so by signing in or registering to the FSN Forum. All contributions received to the online consultation will be considered as those collected during the regional events in the elaboration of the preliminary First Draft of the Voluntary Guidelines. 

      Now let me go back to the final preparations for the last of the regional consultations, the one for North America. I am sure it will give us further interesting perspectives on the Zero Draft. I will update you on these last events soon, stay tuned and please, don’t forget to post your contributions!

      Marina Calvino

    • Message from the facilitator

      The CFS Gender Regional Consultation for Europe and Central Asia took place on 27-28 September. This was the second one of the series of six consultations planned to take place in September-November 2021. This Consultation was also very well attended by around 90 participants and more following the webcast. The plenary discussions saw the contributions of all CFS constituent groups: representatives from governments, UN System, civil society, research institutions, private sector and others, sharing precious information on challenges and potential solutions to align the future CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in the Context of Food Security and Nutrition with national and regional priorities and needs.

      Ms Tanja Grén (Finland) and Mr Tomas Duncan Jurado (Panama), Co-Chairs appointed by the CFS Bureau to facilitate the policy convergence process, presented the Zero Draft of the Guidelines, the main background document for the consultation.

      The plenary discussion was inspired by three keynote speakers: H.E. Ms Narbaeva Tanzila Kamalovna [1], Chairperson of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Ms Carin Jämtin, Director General, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), and Mr Raimund Jehle, FAO Regional Programme Leader, FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia. They underlined the importance of the CFS future Guidelines and their support to their implementation once agreed by CFS in October 2022.

      There was general consensus by participants that the Zero Draft is comprehensive and clear, but many of them identified some additional key challenges and gaps as, among others, the importance of taking a systemic, holistic approach to gender equality and food security – moving away from the siloization of issues – and several calls to be ambitious and aim high in the aspirations of the Guidelines. For example, participants highlighted the need for more reference to gender-responsive budgeting as a policy strategy and for more language on justice in the Guidelines, and for the active engagement of boys and men in gender transformative food security and nutrition interventions, in order to raise awareness and promote changes in behavior. The need to integrate a social norms’ focus in all policy areas was also raised.

      On the second day, the plenary discussion dedicated to Part 3 of the Zero Draft started with themes/sections 3.2, 3.3. and 3.5, and then moved to other sections of interest.

      On section 3.2, “Elimination of violence and discrimination against women for improved food security and nutrition”, issues and gaps raised by participants included prevention, intersectionality and violence based on sexual orientation. In fact, many participants stressed that the Guidelines need more of an intersectional approach that reflects and embraces diversity, including indigenous and rural women, age, ethnicity, race and disability; and more recognition of gender-based violence in all its forms.

      Technical and vocational education and access to financial services were at the center of the discussion on section 3.3: “Access to education, capacity building, training, knowledge and information services”. Some interesting examples to inspire policy areas were presented from Uzbekistan, Belarus and North Macedonia.

      With regards to section 3.5, “Access to and control over natural and productive resources”, the main issues raised were around property and land rights, resilience and intersectionality.

      The discussions are documented in the Co-Chairs’ Summary available on the dedicated webpage in English, and in Russian in the forthcoming days.

      We would also like to take this opportunity to thank those who have already contributed to the online consultation, providing us with their insightful feedback. We look forward to receiving further input, which will be crucial in the process of developing the Guidelines.