|IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR CSOs PLANNING TO ATTEND THE 40TH SESSION OF THE CFS|
Please note that this year CFS is implementing a new system for representatives from CSOs/NGOs who wish to attend CFS.
CSOs/NGOs will not receive a formal invitation letter but will be asked to express their interest in attending the session through this link:
Deadline: Expressions of interest to attend should be completed by 20 September 2013. FAO will then send an official email letting them know if their “expression of interest” has been approved to attend CFS as a Participant or as an Observer.
|A LETTER TO CSOs INTERESTED IN ATTENDING THE 40TH SESSION OF THE CFS|
As you may be aware, the CFS Secretariat has started to use FAO's web based system to receive expressions of interest from individuals from civil society interested in attending the CFS. If you are looking to attend the CFS 40, please express your interest using this system (See link above).
In addition to the information on the CFS 40 expression of interest page, FAO / CFS Secretariat have also informed us of the following:
- University students and those from the academic community should attend on behalf of their university and attend as an observer
- A total of 175 seats have been allotted for the CSM delegation, with 15 on the floor and 5 with microphones for the elected spokespersons. Another 45 seats (15 on the floor) have been reserved for those other CSOs who do not want to be part of the CSM delegation. If less than 45 organizations register outside the CSM, the number of seats available for the CSM increases.
- The CSM is responsible for allocating the 175 seats in balanced way.
- There are 3 categories of CSOs which are separate from the CSM:
- Those who have attended previous sessions of the CFS. In the past, invitations have been issued automatically to those organisations.
- International organizations holding formal status with FAO are entitled to attend the CFS Plenary as participants.
- Organisations who request to attend the CFS on behalf of their own organization, not through the CSM, and who meet the eligibility requirements of the CFS Reform Document.
The information provided by FAO / CFS Secretariat has raised some concerns within civil society regarding how and by whom decisions will be made about civil society participation during CFS plenary sessions
Some of the concerns include:
- The lack of information about who will review the expressions of interest and validate invitations, and on what basis decisions will be made
- The decision by FAO / CFS Secretariat that, due to space limitations, there will be only one representative per CSO (see note 3 on introductory page to CFS expression of interest form)
- The extent to which FAO rules apply to the CFS, e.g. the right of NGOs with formal status with FAO to attend and speak. (see question on expression of interest form "Does your organisation hold formal status with FAO?")
- The distinction being made by FAO between CSM delegates and other CSO delegates (see question on expression of interest form "Are you already part of the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM)?").
To address these and other concerns, consultations are ongoing amongst civil society, facilitated by the CSM Coordination Committee.
You are invited to submit comments on the CFS expression of interest system, and on these issues in particular, to the CSM Coordination Committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your views will be shared with Coordination Committee members and help to inform CSO feedback to FAO / CFS Secretariat.
We will keep you informed of the conclusions reached by the Coordination Committee and the outcomes of discussions with FAO / CFS Secretariat.
As stated in the CFS reform document (para 15), the Bureau determines the number of seats available for CSOs/NGOs in different CFS OEWGs, Plenary etc. taking into account the need to ensure visible and effective participation, equitable geographical representation, with particular attention to the categories of CSOs (detailed in para 11.ii).
It is the responsibility of the CSM Coordination Committee to allocate seats and speaking slots in CFS Plenary Sessions according to the guidelines provided in paragraphs 39 - 44 of the CSM founding document:
During the CFS reform, Member States recognised the right of CSOs/NGOs to autonomously organise themselves, through the CSM, to interface with the CFS. This was reinforced in the acknowledgement of the CSM proposal by Member States during the 36th Plenary Session (see para 16 of the CFS reform document and para 2 of the attached proposal for the CSM).
The CSM is committed to support all CSOs to participate in the CFS, whilst prioritising the participation of small-scale food producers and other groups most affected by food and nutrition insecurity, as agreed in the CFS reform and the CSM founding document.
The CSM always facilitates the identification of speakers in the CFS, giving priority to those most affected and who have been active in the inter-sessional process through CSM working groups.