11 October 2010, Rome - Opening session of the 36th session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), FAO headquarters (Plenary Hall).   The CFS is a high-level intergovernmental body focusing on world food security. It acts as a key UN multi-stakeholder forum for discussion, coordination and policy convergence aimed at addressing the roots of hunger and malnutrition. In 2009 the CFS initiated reforms aimed at involving a wider range of participants, including civil society, and increasing its ability to promote polices that reduce food insecurity.

What is the CFS?

The Committee on Food Security is the foremost inclusive intergovernmental and international political platform on food security and nutrition with the explicit vision to foster the progressive realization of the right to adequate food for all.

The CFS was established in 1974 as an intergovernmental committee, hosted by FAO, to monitor the commitments made during the first World Food Conference in 1974, and later the World Food Summit in 1996

In 2009, under the impression of the world food price crises 2007/2008, the CFS underwent a profound reform and became the foremost inclusive platform with a particular openness to the participation of civil society. The Committee reports to the UN General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and to FAO Conference.

The reform identified the following 6 roles for the CFS:

  1. Increase coordination at the global level to strengthen action among governments, regional organizations/agencies, CSOs, private sector and other stakeholders;
  2. Promote policy convergence and coordination through developing international strategies and voluntary guidelines on food security and nutrition policies, based on lessons learned from local experiences and input from national and regional levels;
  3. Provide support and advice on regional and country-led plans to eliminate hunger, based on applying right to food approaches that are founded on the principles of participation, transparency and accountability;
  4. Coordinate at national and regional levels through building and strengthening national and regional mechanisms and networks working on food security and nutrition issues;
  5. Promote accountability and share best practices through developing innovative monitoring mechanisms and common indicators to help countries monitor and report quantitatively on their progress on tackling hunger;
  6. Develop a global strategic framework for food security and nutrition in order to improve coordination and guide synchronized action by a wide range of stakeholders.

The key actors of the CFS are:

Members: CFS members are the governments. The current 130 members have the right:

  • To intervene in Plenary and breakout discussions
  • Approve meeting documents and agendas
  • Submit and present documents and formal proposals
  • Have exclusive voting and decision taking rights, including drafting the final report of CFS Plenary sessions.

Participants: representatives of the UN Agencies (FAO, IFAD, WFP, WHO), Civil society Organisations (CSM), International Agricultural research bodies, International and regional financial institutions (WB, IMF, WTO), Representatives from the private sector (PSM), associations and private philanthropic foundations. Participants have the right:

  • To intervene in Plenary and breakout discussions
  • Contribute to preparation of meeting documents and agendas
  • Submit and present documents and formal proposals
  • Contribute regularly to intersessional activities of the Committee through the Advisory Group and Open-Ended Working Groups established by the Bureau

Observers: interested organizations invited to observe by the CFS or the Bureau (local authorities or regional associations)

How does the CFS work:

  • 1) GLOBAL PLENARY SESSION: Members, participants and observers at the CFS meet as whole once a year for an annual plenary session. The Plenary is the central body for decision making, debate, coordination, lesson-learning and convergence by all stakeholders at the global level on issues pertaining t food security and nutrition.
  • 2) INTER-SESSIONAL WORK: the ongoing work of the CFS throughout the year is maintained though regular meetings of the Bureau and the Advisory Group, the OEWGs and the TTs.

To know more about the CFS you can read the following documents:


The Bureau

The Bureau is the executive arm of the CFS and it is composed by a chair and 12 elected members representing regional groups (Two from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Near East, and one from both North America and South-West Pacific). The Bureau: ensures coordination among all actors and levels, advance tasks in preparation of the plenary session, carry out tasks delegated from the plenary, direct the work of the HLPE;

The members of the Bureau for the biennium October 2015-October 2017:

Chair: H.E. Amira Gornass, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Sudan to FAO

Vice-Chair: M.C. Luca Fratini, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN Organisations in Rome

Members: Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Egypt, Iceland, Italy, Morocco, New Zealand, United States

The Advisory Group

The CFS Advisory Group supports the Bureau and maintains links between participants and other stakeholders in a two-way exchange of information. Are part of the AG (UN bodies and CFS Participants.)

The CFS Advisory Group for the biennium October 2015-October 2017 are:

UN Bodies:


Civil Society Mechanism

International Agricultural Research Bodies:

CGIAR Consortium

International Financial and Trade Institutions:

World Bank

Private Sector/Philanthropic Foundations:

The Plenary Sessions

The Plenary session is held annually and is the central body for decision-taking, debate, coordination, lesson learning and convergence by all stakeholders at a global level on issues pertaining to food security and nutrition and on the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security. It should focus on relevant and specific issues related to food security and nutrition in order to provide guidance and actionable recommendations to assist all stakeholders in eradicating hunger.

CFS 36 – 2010

CFS 37 – 2011

CFS 38 – 2012 (Special Session May)

CFS39 – 2012

CFS 40 – 2013

CFS 41 – 2014

CFS 42 – 2015

CFS 43 – 2016

The Secretariat

The CFS has a permanent Secretariat which includes staff from the three Rome-based Agencies (RBAs) FAO, IFAD and WFP. Its task is to support the Plenary, the Bureau, the Advisory Group, the HLPE and all the on-going processes during the inter-sessional and annual activity The Secretariat is hosted at FAO in Rome. Its Secretary is Deborah Fulton.


One of the major innovations introduced by the Reformed CFS is the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE). Member States decided that decisions should be informed by shared, independent and comprehensive advice. In 2010 the HLPE was established as the scientific and knowledge based pillar of the CFS. It ensures a well-informed policy debate and decision-making process improving quality, effectiveness and coherence of food security and nutrition policies.

Key functions of the HLPE

As directed by the CFS Plenary and Bureau, the HLPE will:

  1. Assess and analyse the current state of food security and nutrition and its underlying causes
  2. Provide scientific and knowledge-based analysis and advice on specific policy-relevant issues, utilizing existing high quality research, data and technical studies.
  3. Identify emerging issues and help members prioritize future actions and attentions on key focal areas

Structure of the HLPE:

  • Project Teams acting on a project specific basis, selected and managed by the Steering Committee to analyse/report on specific issues.
  • A Steering Committee composed of 15 internationally recognized experts in a variety of food security and nutrition related fields. The following 15 experts have been appointed by the Bureau of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) to serve as members of the Steering Committee of the HLPE, starting from 12 October 2015 (after closure of CFS 42 plenary) until the closure of the CFS 44 Plenary (2015).


Chairperson of the HLPE Steering Committee, Mr Patrick Caron (France)

Vice-Chairperson of the HLPE Steering Committee, Carol Kalafatic (USA)

Steering Committee members: Mr Amadou Allahoury (Niger); Mr Patrick Caron (France); Ms Louise Fresco (the Netherlands); Ms Joanna Hewitt (Australia); Ms Carol Kalafatic (USA); Ms Eileen Kennedy (USA); Mr Muhammad Azeem Khan (Pakistan); Mr Bernardo Kliksberg (Argentina); Mr Fangquan Mei (China); Mr Mohammad Saeid Noori Naeini (Iran); Mr Michel Pimbert (UK); Mr Juan Ángel Rivera Dommarco (Mexico); Ms Magdalena Sepúlveda (Chile); Mr Martin Yemefack (Cameroon); Mr Rami Zurayk (Lebanon).

Download the short bios of the HLPE StC members here!

HLPE Steering Committee members participate in their individual capacities and not as representatives of their respective governments institutions or organizations.

Description of the HLPE project cycle:

Funding: the HLPE is exclusively funded through a voluntary trust fund based at FAO. This trust fund covers the costs of the preparation of reports, Steering Committee and Project Teams meetings, publication of reports, communication and outreach, and Secretariat support. Since 2010, the HLPE received contributions from the following resource partners to the HLPE Trust Fund, or providers of in-kind staff resources: Australia, the European Union France, Ireland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom. The annual budget, including valuation of in-kind staff resources, amounts to around 1.4 million USD (2016 figures).

From this link you can download the HLPE Reports


CFS receives its core funding equally from FAO, IFAD and WFP.

The work of the CFS High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) is entirely funded through voluntary contributions.  For more information, including their resource partners, see here.

The CFS Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) is also entirely funded through voluntary contributions.  For more information, including their resource partners, contact the CSM Secretariat

Resource partners for CFS workstreams and activities, in addition to the Rome-based Agencies include:

Biennium 2014 – 2015

  • European Union
  • Germany
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Biennium 2016 – 2017

  • European Union
  • France
  • Switzerland
  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

CFS Processes 2016-2017

The Multi-Year Programme of Work (MYPoW) adopted at the 42nd Plenary Session of the CFS outlines the CFS processes for the current biennium 2016-2017.

CFS Workstreams 2015-2017:

  1. CFS Role and Contribution to Nutrition 2016-2017
  2. CFS Engagement with Sustainable Development Goals 2016-2017
  3. Follow-up to the High Level Forum on Connecting Smallholders
  4. CFS Forum on Women’s empowerment in the context of food security and nutrition 2017
  5. CFS Forum on Urbanization, Rural transformation and implications for food security and nutrition 2016-2017
  6. Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition (GSF) 2016-2017
  7. Multi-Year Programme of Work (MYPoW) 2016-2017
  8. Monitoring 2016-2017

HLPE reports for 2016-2017 will be:

Sustainable agricultural development for food security and nutrition, including the role of livestock 2016

  1. CFS 41, in October 2014, requested the HLPE, to undertake a study on “Sustainable Agricultural Development for Food Security and Nutrition, including the Role of Livestock” to be presented to the Plenary in 2016. The report will consider the issues of sustainable agricultural development, with the aim of assessing the economic, environmental, and social sustainability for food security and nutrition, in all of its dimensions (availability, access, utilization and stability). The HLPE report will focus particularly on the livestock component in agricultural systems, given its role as an engine for the development of the agriculture and food sector, and as a driver of major economic, social and environmental changes in food systems worldwide. It will review trends, drivers and projections for future food demand, including animal-sourced food. It will assess sustainability challenges, threats and opportunities to agricultural development for food security and nutrition. The report will explore pathways towards sustainable crop and livestock-based systems and options for enabling and managing the transition to sustainable systems, with a view to recommending appropriate actions by policy makers and stakeholders.

Sustainable forestry for food security and nutrition – 2017

  1. CFS 41, in October 2014, requested the HLPE, to undertake a study on “Sustainable Forestry for Food Security and Nutrition” to be presented to the Plenary in 2017. This HLPE report will aim at an evidence-based, comprehensive analysis of the relations between forestry and food security and nutrition. It will describe the various contributions of forests and forestry, including plantations and agroforestry, to improved food security and better nutrition, given the specificities of the timescales of forestry-related activities. The analysis will review challenges and opportunities relevant to forests’ and forestry’s contribution to food security and nutrition of people living in the forests, at the forests’ margins, and outside forests, from local to global levels. To do so, the report will address relevant issues of land-use and relations between forests and agriculture. It will consider threats to and opportunities for the social, economic and environmental functions of forests and forestry, including biodiversity, the role of forests in the climate system and the impacts of climate change. The report will look at instruments, institutions, and governance, with a view to recommending appropriate actions by policy makers and stakeholders.

Nutrition and food systems – 2017

  1. In consideration of the recognized compelling need to foster a solid technical background in support of the CFS workstream on nutrition, the HLPE will prepare a report on nutrition and food systems.