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Committee on World Food Security - CFS


Committee on World Food Security - CFS

The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) was established in 1974 as a technical committee of FAO, with the mandate to coordinate and monitor practices related to food safety and nutrition, to become an autonomous body after the 2009 reform.
Involving governments, international entities and institutions, research institutes, private sector and civil society, since the 2009 reform the Committee represented a unique model in the United Nations’ system: it is indeed the most inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders, including the Rome-based agencies (FAO, IFAD, WFP), to discuss and work together in a coordinated way to ensure food security and nutrition for all. Thus, CFS is actively involved in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the 2030 Agenda.

The CFS structure allows input from all stakeholders at global, regional and national levels. It comprises three main bodies:
- The Bureau is the executive body of the CFS, it is elected every two years and it is made up of a Chairperson (from 2017 it is Mario Arvelo, Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic) and twelve Member Countries: two each from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Near East and Latin America and one each from North America and South West Pacific. Currently, the two members of the Bureau for Europe are Switzerland and Italy, who also detains the vice-presidency.
- The Advisory Group helps the Bureau advance the Committee’s objectives, in particular, to ensure linkages with different stakeholders at regional, sub-regional and local levels and to ensure an ongoing, two-way exchange of information. It is made up of representatives from the 5 different categories of CFS Participants: UN agencies and other UN bodies, civil society and non-governmental organizations, private sector associations and philanthropic foundations, international agricultural research institutions, international and regional financial institutions.
- The High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) is the scientific committee of CFS. It was created in 2009 as an essential part of CFS to provide independent, scientific knowledge-based reports, whose findings and recommendations serve as a basis for CFS policy discussions and for the adoption of CFS voluntary policy recommendations.

CFS budget is constituted by a core fund destined to CFS ordinary activities, provided by the three Rome-based agencies, and by funds for other activities. This latter may be provided by the Member States on a voluntary basis for the promotion and implementation of particularly significant products or to support specific workstreams of the Committee.

The works of CFS is implemented through the elaboration of voluntary policy recommendations adopted by consensus on the basis of the continuous multi-stakeholder dialogue that characterizes and represents the added value of CFS decision-making mechanism.

Amongst CFS’ current main activities, it is worth recalling also the negotiations for the development of the Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition, whose aim is to indicate the guiding principles for the creation of sustainable food systems.

These are some of the most important documents approved by the CFS in the recent years:
1. Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition (GSF).
2. Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT)
3. Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food System (RAI)
4. Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crises (CFS-FFA)

Along with its support to the UN agencies based in Rome, Italy actively promotes the mandate of the Committee for World Food Security (CFS).
This commitment is also embodied by the fact that Italy has been nominated Vice Chair of the Committee for the biennium 2017-2019 and is one of the two representatives of the European Regional Group in CFS Bureau.
Italy also supports the participation of civil society to the work of the Committee through dedicated contribution.
The highlight of the Committee's work is the Plenary, which takes place every October at FAO.