Committee on World Food Security convenes in Rome

FAO Director-General hails partnership potential as CFS opens 51st Plenary Session

The opening of the CFS plenary.

©FAO/Giulio Napolitano

Rome  Ministers and high-level representatives from around the world and stakeholders from various sectors gathered today for the opening of the 51st Plenary Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), taking place at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) headquarters in Rome from 23 to 27 October.

In his opening remarks through a video message, the FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, highlighted that “the pressing issues of 50 years ago (when the CFS was established) continue to shape global food insecurity today.”

He hailed CFS’s open platform and engagement “to foster collaboration with a wide range of partners”, noting that the challenges threatening food security and nutrition “demand coordinated policy responses and a new commitment focused on the implementation of policies at global, national and local levels.”

Qu also referred to the outcomes of two major events held at FAO in 2023 – the UN Food Systems Summit+2 Stocktaking Moment, in July, and the 3rd World Food Forum, in October – and noted that in the World Food Forum there were emphatic deliberations on the need for more investment, innovation, science and technology in agrifood systems; the need to harness youth energy and engagement; the need for coordinated actions to support national pathways towards sustainable agrifood systems; and to close the gap in the many areas in which the world falls behind in tackling hunger and malnutrition. The CFS is uniquely placed to connect multiple initiatives to address hunger and malnutrition, and to foster collaboration. 

Also speaking in the opening ceremony through a video message, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the CFS meeting of policy makers with representatives of the private sector and civil society is timely and urgent at a “moment of crisis for global food security.”

Other speakers at the opening ceremony included Paula Narváez, President of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); Dennis Francis, president of the UN General Assembly; Alvaro Lario, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); and Cindy McCain, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP).

The week ahead

After the opening ceremony, participants in the 51st Plenary Session of the new CFS elected a new chairperson to replace Gabriel Ferrero from Spain, who has served in that capacity for the past two years. The next chair is Nosipho Nausca-Jean Jezile, Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa to FAO and the other Rome-based UN agencies.

During its 51st Session, the CFS is set to endorse the following three documents: the Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in the Context of Food Security and Nutrition; Policy Recommendations on Strengthening Collection and Use of Food Security and Nutrition Data and Related Analysis Tools to Improve Decision-Making in Support of the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security; and the Multi-Year Programme of Work 2024-2027. Additionally, the Plenary will include two stocktaking sessions: a presentation on the progress of the follow-up to the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) as well as a monitoring event on the Policy Recommendations on Price Volatility and Food Security; and on Social Protection for Food Security and Nutrition.

A host of side events will also be held, exploring topics such as sustainable financing, human rights-based food governance, Brazil’s history of fighting hunger, urban youth in Africa and energy access.

FAO’s Director-General said he was pleased to see the Right to Food is at the center of the CFS’s new work plan. “FAO looks forward to continuing to work with all the partners, including the CFS, for the Four Betters: better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life – leaving no one behind,” Qu said.

The CFS agenda and supporting documents are available here.


FAO News and Media (+39) 06 570 53625 [email protected]

Christopher Emsden FAO News and Media (Rome) (+39) 06 570 53291 [email protected]