Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)


HLPE 3rd Note on Critical, Emerging and Enduring Issues - consultation on the V0 draft

The Committee on World Food Security, the foremost intergovernmental and international evidence-based and multi-stakeholder platform related to food security and nutrition, mandated its High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) to “identify emerging issues, and help members prioritize future actions and attentions on key focal areas” (CFS reform Document, 2009). In October 2013, the CFS requested the HLPE to produce a Note on critical and/or emerging issues (CEI) affecting food security and nutrition (FSN). This request came in the context of the CFS’s own ongoing discussion on the selection and prioritization of its activities. The HLPE published this first CEI note in August 2014. In October 2015, at its 42nd Plenary Session, the CFS decided that this HLPE note shall be updated at least every four years, depending on funding availability and the HLPE workload, and released in due time to be used at the starting point for the process of elaboration of the following CFS multi-year programme of work (MYPoW). The second note on CEI (2017) informed the MYPoW 2020-2023. The HLPE is now developing the third note, which has been renamed “Note on critical, emerging and enduring issues” (CEEI), recognizing that some of the key issues affecting food security and nutrition continue to exist, to inform the preparation of the MYPoW 2024-2027.

This draft note identifies seven key issues affecting FSN (presented in no particular order):

1. Building resilient supply chains for FSN

2. Urban and peri-urban food systems

3. Conflicts and the fragility of food systems

4. Revitalizing climate policies for FSN

5. Recognizing the role and rights of food system workers

6. Building a meaningful interface for diverse knowledges and practices for FSN

7. Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases challenging FSN.

This V0 draft of the CEEI note is published for e-consultation on the FSN forum platform from 25 April to 17 May 2022.

Questions to guide the e-consultation on the V0 draft of the HLPE CEEI note

With this e-consultation, the HLPE Steering Committee is seeking your feedback.

In particular, you are invited to:

1. Share your feedback on the proposed list of selected critical, emerging and enduring issues (CEEI):

  1. Are the seven CEEI identified by the HLPE the most important issues affecting food security and nutrition, globally and in specific contexts?
  2. Are there any other key issues that should be added and elaborated? If yes, please provide a justification of why they are “critical”, together with relevant literature and data.
  3. All the issues are interlinked, however, for the purpose of analysis and focus they have been presented separately. Please let us know if in your view some of the issues could be combined, or if the linkages between different issues should be further strengthened in the analysis.

2. Share your inputs on one or more of the seven CEEI listed:

  1. Are the drivers and trends identified fully capturing the link of each respective CEEI with FSN outcomes?
  2. Is there any aspect of direct or indirect FSN outcome that should be further elaborated?
  3. Is there any missing reference to key literature and data?
  4. Is the list of questions identified for each CEEI adequate to guide the development of a report on the topic? Would you suggest any additional questions or dimensions that should be further elaborated?

We thank in advance all the contributors for reading, commenting and providing inputs on this V0 draft of the CEEI 3rd Note. We look forward to a rich and fruitful consultation!

Évariste Nicolétis, HLPE Coordinator

Paola Termine, HLPE Project Officer

This activity is now closed. Please contact [email protected] for any further information.

* Click on the name to read all comments posted by the member and contact him/her directly
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Jacopo Valentini


Comments on the draft HLPE 3rd Note on CEEI from WFP’s Climate & Disaster Risk Reduction Programmes Unit:

1. General Comment: The Note on Critical, Emerging and Enduring Issues” (CEEI) affecting Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) is addressing the issues in a silo, while we know that climate, conflict, covid etc. interact and operate in a system. We need to focus on addressing those issues systematically and holistically and develop policies and programing that align objectives, incentives and finance. Maybe a food systems lens could help solve this challenge.

2. Comments specifically regarding Revitalizing Climate Policies for FSN:

a. In what ways have our understandings of the dynamics between climate change, FSN and food systems changed since the HLPE report on climate change was published in  2012? What are the implications of our current understanding of the links between climate and FSN for food security investments and policies and nutrition outcomes? To what extent do the most recent climate policy agreements address food security and climate interactions, and what additional policy directions are needed?

The understanding has changed, also thanks to the UNFSS, the policies however are lagging behind. 

b. What regions and populations are most negatively affected by the synergistic dynamics between climate change and food systems? What are the food systems and regions that contribute most to these dynamics?

Not sure if this framing is useful, as all regions and populations are affected. Maybe better to phrase it in a way to understand how different regions and populations are affected. 

c. To what extent do recent climate-focused technologies and practices for food and agriculture represent real opportunities to build climate resilient food systems and what are their potential costs and challenges might arise especially on fragile groups and fragile environments?

This is a large topic and basically includes the UNFSS game changing solutions. Here maybe a stock take of what UNFSS Alliances and coalitions are working on could help. 

d. What measures are best suited to building more climate resilient food systems for small-scale producers and other vulnerable and marginalized food system actors? 

Again a very large and ambitious topic and UNFSS solutions could shed light.

e. What specific role and policy developments are needed to recognize the role of women in FSN in times of climate emergency and natural disasters?

What about youth?

Aportes al Foro:3ª Nota del GANESAN sobre Cuestiones críticas, emergentes y duraderas - consulta sobre el borrador V0

Mylene Rodríguez Leyton

Docente investigador 

Universidad Metropolitana 

Barranquilla, Colombia

1. Compartir sus comentarios sobre la lista de las cuestiones críticas, emergentes y duraderas seleccionadas:

a. ¿Son las siete CCED identificadas por el GANESAN los problemas más importantes que afectan la seguridad alimentaria y la nutrición, a nivel mundial y en contextos específicos?

Las 7 cuestiones mencionadas son claves e importantes para la seguridad alimentaria y la nutrición; si bien representan los aspectos más relevantes de estos últimos tiempos de pandemia, sugiero que podría incluirse también no solamente el papel de los derechos de los trabajadores del sistema alimentario sino el enfoque del derecho humano a la alimentación.

b. ¿Hay otras cuestiones clave que deberían ser añadidas y desarrolladas? En caso afirmativo, proporcione una justificación de por qué son "críticas", junto con la literatura y los datos relevantes.

En mi concepto falta desarrollar la dimensión nutricional de la seguridad alimentaria más allá de ser abordada como una consecuencia de los aspectos claves a tratar, puede revisarse como la situación actual de malnutrición se afectó por la pandemia COVID 19 y sus posibles efectos en otros aspectos claves y como las situaciones de exceso de peso y su relación con las enfermedades no transmisibles y sus efectos sobre el sistema de salud y la productividad.

Para el tema relacionado con la pandemia COVID 19 y los efectos de en la seguridad alimentaria y nutricional abordar las lecciones aprendidas especialmente en lo relacionado con las medidas de contención durante la cuarentena, para lo cual envío las referencias mencionadas a continuación.

Referencias sugeridas

1. Global assessment of the impacts of COVID-19 on food security:…

2. COVID-19’s impacts on incomes and food consumption in urban and rural areas are surprisingly similar: Evidence from five African countries:…

3. The logics of war and food (in)security…

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










Contribución de ETC Group a la consulta electrónica sobre el borrador V0 de la nota CCED del GANESAN

3ª ª Nota del GANESAN sobre Cuestiones críticas, emergentes y duraderas

1. Compartir sus comentarios sobre la lista de las cuestiones críticas, emergentes y duraderas seleccionadas:

¿Son las siete CCED identificadas por el GANESAN los problemas más importantes que afectan la seguridad alimentaria y la nutrición, a nivel mundial y en contextos específicos?

¿Hay otras cuestiones clave que deberían ser añadidas y desarrolladas? En caso afirmativo, proporcione una justificación de por qué son "críticas", junto con la literatura y los datos relevantes.

Las nuevas tecnologías de edición genética, como la denominada “impulsores genéticos” pueden presentar amenazas hacia distintos sistemas alimentarios. Los impulsores genéticos se han probado en amarantáceas consideradas malezas, para devolverles la vulnerabilidad a los pesticidas. Las amarantáceas son alimento principal en poblaciones del sur de México y los Andes. El cruzamiento entre especies que incorporan impulsores genéticos y especies convencionales, así como el desplazamiento de los genes de organismos impulsores-genéticos hacia sistemas alimentarios que tienen amarantáceas, amenazan distintos sistemas alimentarios. Los impulsores genéticos están ganando legitimidad como estrategia de conservación, de control de poblaciones consideradas plagas. El avance de los impulsores genéticos y sus posibles implicaciones para los sistemas alimentarios podría tomarse en cuenta como CCED por el GANESAN.


Grupo ETC, 2018, “Exterminadores en el campo”. Impulsores genéticos: cómo favorecen la agricultura industrial y amenazan la soberanía alimentaria”. Disponible en castellano, inglés y francés en:

CSS / Ensser/ VDW, 2021, Genetically engineered gene drives: IUCN report on Synthetic Biology lacks balance. A critique of the IUCN report ‘Genetic Frontiers for Conservation: An assessment of synthetic biology and biodiversity conservation’ –with regards to its assessment of gene drives

May 2021, Authors: Mark Wells, PhD & Ricarda Steinbrecher, Ph

Disponible en inglés, castellano y francés en

Below are USG comments on the Zero Draft of the HLPE’s 3rd Note on Critical, Emerging, and Enduring Issues :

The United States appreciates the HLPE’s efforts in producing this Zero Draft of the 3rd Note on Critical, Emerging, and Enduring Issues (CEEI).  While we see value in addressing several of these issues, we see particular relevance in the original three that the HLPE identified, on which we’ve previously provided comment:

1. Building resilient supply chains for FSN

2. Urban and peri-urban food systems

3. Conflicts and the fragility of food systems

Revitalizing climate policies for FSN is certainly relevant but may be best addressed as a cross-cutting theme for all CEEI’s that form the basis of the MYPoW.  This perhaps answers question 1c., which asks whether any of the issues can be combined.  With regard to the rationale and the key questions, we believe more emphasis could be placed on the positive role that innovations in agriculture can play to mitigate the food security impacts of climate change, including precision agriculture, biotechnology, climate smart agriculture, and more.  

While we agree that issues 5 (Recognizing the role and rights of food system workers), 6 (Building a meaningful interface for diverse knowledge and practices for FSN), and 7 (Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases challenging FSN) are indeed critical issues, it is less clear how the CFS would tackle them within its mandate and MYPoW, given the extensive overlap they have with subjects such as labor rights, intellectual property, and health.  Given that the MYPoW is limited and that we must identify the most critical, enduring, and emerging issues relevant to the CFS, we encourage the HLPE to move forward with the first three issues. 

For each of the CEEIs, it is paramount that the HLPE consider and respect the work and mandate of other international bodies.  The added value of the CFS’s Multi-Year Program of Work (MYPoW) is in its ability to fill gaps in existing policy guidance and compliment the work of other bodies.  Therefore, ensuring that each of the CEEIs are closely linked to food security is important for maintaining an appropriate scope that stays within the expertise of the HLPE and CFS.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Below are comments from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, for the first three items:

1) Building resilient supply chains for FSN 

The pandemic and the war in Ukraine have also magnified several differences that are not directly mentioned in the narrative, such as (a) the greater vulnerability of the poor and other disadvantaged groups (e.g., women, youth, the landless and refugees); (b) the important regional and national differences in policy reactions, demographics, food and economic system structures; (c) the digital divide between rich and poor (e.g., internet access and disruptions in schooling in developing countries). 

Additional suggested questions: 

  • How can access/investments to information and communications (e.g., early warning systems, development of improved data and indicators, and digital technology) be increased to anticipate shocks?
  • What are the various instruments needed to absorb shocks (e.g., better access to finance and liquidity, infrastructure and digital connections, and R&D for improving food production systems)? 
  • How can transformation in governance models support the transition towards resilient food systems? 

2) Urban and peri-urban food systems 

In the narrative there is a strong focus on the importance of the municipal governments in FSN, however, national activities including political will and finance are needed too to drive impactful change at larger scales. 

Additional suggested questions:  

  • How to engage citizens and empower them to drive inclusive change and provide next to top-down also bottom-up approaches? 
  • What are the main lock-ins at different levels preventing FSN in urban and peri-urban settings and how to overcome them? 

3) Conflicts and the fragility of food systems 

While short term emergency support measures are important, they do not replace the importance of refocusing the food sector in the long run towards sustainability and resilience. Food sustainability is fundamental for food security. Innovation through research, knowledge, technology, agro-ecology and adoption of best practices can mitigate pressure on costs without hurting production capacity, leading to long-term progress in productivity to achieve the green transition.  The current crisis confirms that we need to accelerate the food systems transition towards sustainability to better prepare for future crises.

Additional suggested questions:  

  • How can research and innovation help mitigate food insecurity?
  • How can the UNFSS coalitions assist and be the enablers of change for food sustainability and resilience to ensure food security?

Best regards,


Research Policy Officer

Plant production, food safety and microbiome 


The identified CEEIs are crucial issues to sustainable food security and nutrition (FSN). Each issue is inevitably broad since any attempt to narrow down issues to specifics will amount to a litany of issues that could make the report verbose. However, I feel inequality and inequity in food systems could stand alone, although they were captured under some of the CEEIs.

Building resilience in food systems for sustainability is the goal of all the efforts that will be put into the system including this consultation.  This is why many of the CEEIs such as rural-urban continuum, climate change, conflicts the fragility issues featured prominently- seem like duplications. Revitalizing climate policies and infectious diseases are environmental issues which could be merged as such. Climate issues are not limited to policies alone but also other relevant issues were identified. The issue could be tagged Climate Change in food systems or Climate Change and infectious diseases challenging in food systems.

The drivers and trends identified as they are well captured


The following could be considered

Building resilient supply chains for FSN- The roles of research and innovations in building resilience need to be highlighted

Urban and peri-urban food systems- The need to capture rural in this heading in order to highlight issues of migration and agricultural employment for youth.

Conflicts and the fragility of food systems- Local conflict resolution strategies.

Revitalizing climate policies for FSN- reflect content in the title of the issue.

Recognizing the role and rights of food system workers- the roles of those working in the formal sector in the food systems at local levels are not covered.

Building a meaningful interface for diverse knowledges and practices for FSN- The need to highlight information management and how food systems actors could benefit from digitization.

Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases challenging FSN. The need to address what know about infectious diseases and preventing them.