12 April 2017
CSM contribution to the extraordinary meeting of the Advisory Group and Bureau called by the CFS Chair “CFS response to worsening food security situation in the world”
CSM shares deep concern about the worsening food-security and nutrition situation in several countries, particularly the food and nutrition emergencies in South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and northern Nigeria. According to the UN, these might lead to a humanitarian catastrophe in the coming months, threatening more than 20 million people with famine, and with high risks to many more people in several other countries as well. All told, at the beginning of 2017, the number of people in acute hunger requiring live saving food assistance is 108 million, a 35% increase from 2015.
We welcome the initiative of the CFS Chair for this extraordinary meeting of the CFS Bureau and Advisory Group, and believe that this could develop the common understanding needed to take joint action by the CFS. Certainly, the CFS cannot be silent in such situations.
The CFS is not an operative body for humanitarian response and cannot contribute much on the operational level. However, the CFS is the foremost inclusive intergovernmental and international platform on food security and nutrition, and CFS can—and must—make its substantial contribution in line with its mandate.
The humanitarian and development actors in the bureaus and the field need to see a CFS response to such global urgencies having such a tremendous impact on the human right to food of millions of people. Governments and specialized international organizations must adopt all needed measures to ensure food accessibility to those who are the most affected and vulnerable. Special attention must be given to women who are even more impacted during disasters, conflicts and wars. They must be particularly supported in their critical roles in these severe crises.
This moment calls for CFS to demand the urgent application of its relevant policy instruments, including the Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crisis, the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security and other relevant policy recommendations included in the Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition. These reflect hard lessons learned and provide needed guidance for effective prevention of, and response to the looming emergencies.
In the spirit of these policy commitments and the principles they embody, we propose that key elements of the CFS response should:
- Provide a platform for political analysis and debate of these emergencies and their root causes, connecting the early warnings systems and operative action of the participating UN institutions with the mobilization of international support and the political deliberation on more effective and comprehensive responses to the crises;
- Ensure that special attention is given to the voices and human rights of people from the social movements and communities, living in the most-affected territories and countries;
- Urge governments, intergovernmental agencies and all actors to use and apply the relevant CFS policy instruments effectively in these countries;
- Call for policy coherence such that integrates short-term emergency relief interventions with longer-term, institutional-building development interventions within the preventive and remedial framework of human rights.
In this sense, we propose that the CFS take the following actions:
- The CFS Chair immediately issue a letter to governments, intergovernmental agencies, UN and all relevant actors, taking into account the above mentioned elements.
- The CFS should convene an Extraordinary Hearing within the next 4–6 weeks, to assess the causes of the crisis, and particularly hear the voices from social movements and communities, particularly women, from the affected territories and countries, and to agree on key actions to be taken.
- The CFS should take immediate actions and conduct fact-finding and field missions of its members and participants to the countries most affected by the emergencies, as a way to mobilize stronger international solidarity and support, and to contribute to a better understanding of the causes and a better application of effective policy responses.
- The CFS Plenary Session should include the current actual and threatened famine emergencies into its agenda and realize an in-depth assessment of the situation in October 2017.