Food Systems and Nutrition

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CSM Working Group on Food Systems and Nutrition 

Coordinator 2017//2019: 

Isabel Álvarez Vispo – Urgenci (Spain)

Coordinator 2015//2017

Marisa Macari – Consumers International (USA/Mexico)

Technical facilitators:

Stefano Prato – Society for International Development (SID)

Sofía Monsalve – FIAN

Laura Michéle – FIAN

CSM Resource Person for the CFS Technical Task Team

Stefano Prato – SID (Alternate)

To see the full list of the 131 members of the Working Group please click Here

To join the Working Group please write to the CSM Secretariat at

Visit the Facebook page of this Working Group!

Chair of the CFS Open-Ended Working Group on Nutrition: Liliane Ortega (Switzerland)

2015//2018 Khaled El Taweel (Egypt)


This CSM Working Group has been established in 2012 to interface with the CFS Task Team on nutrition terminology. The Task Team was responsible for developing an “options paper” for consideration of the CFS. The 37th Session of the CFS called on “the Bureau, in consultation with the Advisory Group and joint Secretariat, as well as with relevant international organizations, in particular World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), to propose options on the meaning and different uses, if any, of the terms “Food Security”, “Food Security and Nutrition”.

The CSM Working Group has been reactivated in 2015 with the aim of drafting and consolidating CSO’s positions, visions and inputs into the CFS workstream on “CFS role and contribution to nutrition 2016-2017” for the biennium 2016-2017 as approved by the Multi-Year Programme of Work (MYPoW) endorsed at the 42nd CFS Plenary Session in October 2015.

The Working Group is therefore actively engaged in contributing to the CFS inter-sessional activities on this topic (Open-Ended Working Groups) toward the CFS Plenary Sessions.

Preamble from the CSM Working Group Preliminary Vision on Nutrition (2015)

“Understanding the challenge of malnutrition in all its forms requires a holistic and multidisciplinary analysis, one that combines the political and technical perspectives. Above all, it requires recognizing the need for urgency and justice, the appreciation for diversity and the values of human dignity, equity, sustainability and sovereignty. It is our common understanding that food is the expression of values, cultures, social relations and people’s self-determination, and that the act of feeding oneself and others embodies our sovereignty, ownership and empowerment. When nourishing oneself and eating with one’s family, friends, and community, we reaffirm our cultural identities, our ownership over our life course and our human dignity. Nutrition is foundational for personal development and essential for overall wellbeing.”

Read the CSM Working Group Preliminary vision on Nutrition

Process 2018-2019

13 October 2018, Rome, Italy - Civil Society Mechanism Forum (CSM). FAO Headquarters (Green Room). Photo credit must be given: ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano. Editorial use only. Copyright ©FAO.

30 May 2019

CFS OEWG Meeting on Food Systems and Nutrition

This last CFS Open-ended meeting will debate on the zero draft of the Voluntary Guidelines

Background documents: Zero draft of the Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition



6 May 2019

Calendar of CFS Regional Consultations

Find below the dates of the CFS Regional Consultations on the zero draft of the Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition. A CSM Focal point for each sub-region will be appointed to facilitate CSM participation at regional level. Please find here the concept note and related guiding questions.

  • Africa: Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), 16-17 July 2019
  • Asia and the Pacific: Bangkok (Thailand), 25-26 July 2019
  • Europe: Budapest (Hungary), 17-18 September 2019
  • Near East: Cairo (Egypt), 25-26 September 2019
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: Panama City (Panama), 28-29 October 2019
  • North America: venue and date to be confirmed



22 March 2019

CSM written comments to the Preliminary version of the zero draft of the Guidelines

8 March 2019

CFS OEWG on Nutrition and Food Systems

The purpose of this OEWG is to get specific feedback and suggestions on how to improve the Preliminary version of the Zero draft of the Voluntary Guidelines. Following the meeting, the opportunity to provide written comments will be given to CFS stakeholders. The inputs received will be considered in the preparation of the Zero Draft that is planned to be finalized by the end of April. 

The Zero Draft will then be translated in the six UN official languages and presented and discussed during the following consultation process: an OEWG meeting on 30 May 20191, the five regional multistakeholder consultations planned between July and October, and the e-consultation taking place between June and August. 

The outcomes of all these consultations will feed the preparation of the First Draft of the Voluntary Guidelines that is expected to be finalized by the end of 2019. 

Background documents:


food-2343893_19207 Marzo 2019

CSM Public Briefing

Priorities and Perspectives of Civil Society and  Indigenous Peoples’ organizations  towards the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition

Date and Venue: Thursday, 7 March, 

14:00-15:30, Mexico Room, FAO HQ



30 January 2019

CFS Open consultation on Nutrition and Food Systems

Inter-sessional open dialogue on the HLPE Report on Nutrition and Food Systems. (Webcast link)

Background documents:

Guiding questions:

  1. Moving beyond typologies: what information do policymakers need to make decisions about food systems?
  2. How the broadly shared expectations towards healthy diets from sustainable food systems could guide the preparation of VG?
  3. How can policies contribute ensuring or promoting healthy diets through value chains and within food environments?


Process 2017 – 2018

17 October 2018 – CFS 45th Plenary Session


Food Systems and Nutrition

Background documents for the session:

19 October 2018 – CFS 45th Plenary Session


Food Systems and Nutrition: Good Practices and Lesson Sharing (for information) – Red Room

23 July 2o18

CFS Advisory Group and Bureau meeting

Background document for this agenda item:

14 June 2018

CFS OEWG on Nutrition

This meeting aims at finalising the draft ToRs for the future CFS policy convergence process on Nutrition and Food Systems. The meeting will also discuss on the decision box to be approved in Plenary and on possible inter-sessional events for 2018/2019.

Background documents:

8 May 2018

Deadline to submit written comments on the second draft of the ToRs

30 April 2018

CFS OEWG on Nutrition

The meeting will discuss the second draft of the Terms of Reference and the possibility of holding inter-sessional events

Background documents:

5 April 2018

Written Comments

Deadline to submit written comments to the draft ToRs for the CFS policy convergence process on Nutrition and Food Systems

28 March 2018

CFS OEWG on Nutrition

The meeting aimed at having a first round of discussion and comments to the draft Terms of Reference for the upcoming policy convergence process on Nutrition and Food Systems.

Background documents:

27 March 2018

The HLPE Report on “Nutrition and Food Systems” is finally available in all UN languages!

8 March 2018

6-8 March 2018

Meeting of the CSM Working Group on Nutrition 

MYPoW Extract 2017-2018

CFS engagement in advancing nutrition (2018-2019)


10. The Committee in 2016 endorsed a strategy on CFS engagement in advancing nutrition (CFS 2016/43/9) which called for CFS to accelerate its efforts, and proposed a framework to step up its contribution to the global fight against malnutrition in all its forms, consistent with its mandate, also in the context of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016-2025) and of the implementation of the ICN2 Framework for Action.

Objectives and expected outcomes

11. The strategy foresees CFS work to advance global nutrition efforts along three interconnected and mutually reinforcing functions: policy convergence; lessons and good practice sharing; and tracking progress.

12. In accordance with the strategy, CFS is expected to start substantive discussions in 2018-2019 to develop Terms of Reference (TORs) for endorsement at CFS 45 in 2018 to guide future policy convergence work on nutrition and food systems.

13. The TORs will:

  • Define key terms, set parameters for policy convergence, clarify objective, scope and purpose;
  • Identify the main thematic area(s) warranting specific attention from CFS in line with its mandate and added value, and without duplication and interference with other fora, with specific settings to be considered (e.g. regional, urban or rural), and define key terms;
  • Identify the type of policy instrument that would be developed, with provisions included on expected results, primary users, modalities for dissemination and use by CFS members and stakeholders in the context of the Nutrition Decade Work Programme, and facilitate potential partnerships in the application;
  • Define the budget for 2019 in accordance to the identified planned activities;
  • Outline the process to present CFS guidance for endorsement possibly in CFS 46.

14. Once approved, these TORs would form a substantive part of the eventual agreed outcome and lead to policy guidance presented to the subsequent Plenary for endorsement.


15. This workstream will build on the outcomes of the work carried out by CFS in 2016-2017 biennium. The preparation of the TORs will benefit from the findings of the report of the High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) on Nutrition and Food Systems to presented to CFS 44; the outcomes of the 2017 intersessional events (on investment for healthy food systems; impact assessment of policies to support healthy food environments and healthy diets; and on achieving by 2025 the Global Target on Stunting) held to develop a common understanding of some of the most prominent issues around nutrition; and lesson-sharing and progress reporting activities held at CFS 44, to take-stock of progress, identify challenges and specific experiences worth sharing.

16. In 2017-2018, an Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on nutrition will hold inclusive discussions, resulting in the development of TORs presented for endorsement by CFS 45 in 2018.

17. In 2019, the Open-Ended Working Group is expected to continue its work and develop and agree on policy guidance related to nutrition and food systems. It should also explore whether additional work or activities are needed for in the framework of the Nutrition Decade 2016-2025 Work Programme, and look into the need to update the 2016 agreed proposal on “CFS engagement in advancing nutrition” accordingly.

18. The CFS work on Nutrition may benefit from the e-consultations, which could be carried out through the FSN Forum in the 2017-2018 intersessional period. Where possible, CFS will benefit from the organization of regional consultations from FAO.

Process 2016 – 2017

Publication HLPE Zero Draft

Publication of the HLPE Zero Draft on Food Systems and Nutrition
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OEWG on Nutrition

OEWG on Nutrition - Green Room 9.30-12.30
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Deadline for inputs on the HLPE Zero Draft

Deadline for submitting inputs to the Zero Draft of the HLPE Report on Food Systems and Nutrition
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CFS OEWG on Nutrition

CFS OEWG on Nutrition - WFP HQs
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CFS Nutrition Event

CFS Intersessional event - Red Room
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CFS Nutrition Event

CFS Intersessional event
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CFS Nutrition Event

CFS Nutrition Event - Red Room
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CFS 44 9-13 October 2017

CFS 44 Plenary Week
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CFS 44 Plenary Session Outcomes – 13 October 2017

Launch of HLPE Report on Nutrition and Food Systems

Intervention of María Teresa Álvarez – WAMIP, Argentina, on behalf of the CSM Working Group on Nutrition 

As a pastoralist woman from the Chaco ecoregion in South America, I am part of an organisation that is based on the ancestral knowledge of pastoralist livestock family herders. We re-create animal diversity, a food system which provides us with food and a livelihood – we feed and NOURISH ourselves with foods gathered from forests, pasturelands, rivers and, of course, from our livestock. As pastoralists, we exercise our right to food and nutrition thanks to our mobility, which enables us to be self-sustainable across different ecosystems.

Moving ahead: We are committed to addressing this process with a clear vision; “to guarantee NUTRITION for all”. To this end, we need to appropriate ourselves of our ancestral knowledge and ensure that it is transmitted from generation to generation, as it is underpins cultures that translate into distinct modes of production, such as agroecological systems, which guarantee nutrition in all its dimensions. Ending hunger is not simply an added value for free trade, nor about causing malnutrition by reducing real food to fun products that catch people’s attention, but rather about recognising the value of our traditional diets and guaranteeing their sustainability without interrupting natural production cycles. Keep reading…


Intervention from Isabel Álvarez Vispo – Urgenci, Spain, on behalf of the CSM Working Group on Nutrition

We, the Civil Society Mechanism, wish to comment on the Summary and Recommendations of the report, as these are the only parts that we have been able to access in different languages.

First of all, we wish to thank the HLPE for the great effort in writing this report, and in integrating nutrition in the CFS, by linking nutrition to the different dimensions of food systems. Civil society has always defended the need for a holistic human rights-based vision of nutrition that goes beyond dietary patterns, and thus we believe that it is essential to have a broader perspective that covers the life span of food: from the land and seeds with which it was produced, to the plate.

We welcome the report’s inclusion of certain aspects that we have recently been insisting on, such as the issue of conflict of interests and a focus on the most vulnerable. Nonetheless, we are concerned by other aspects of this report. Keep reading…


Good practice and Lessons sharing for improved nutrition

Intervention Ali Aii Shatou Member of the CSM Coordination Committee for the Indigenous Peoples’ Constituency – Nutrition 10 October 2017

We, the delegates of indigenous peoples who are from across the six regions recognised by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues , organized here through the Civil Society Mechanism, have actively followed the process of the CFS activities and the resulted reports. We are deeply concerned by the increasing number of people who are suffering from hunger and malnutrition, majority of the cases are reported by people living in rural areas and in areas populated by indigenous peoples. At the same time, Indigenous Peoples have been among the most important providers of food security, good nutrition and healthy diets – not only today, but over generations and centuries.

The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is the only international and intergovernmental platform in the United Nations system, where governments, representatives of Indigenous Peoples, fisherfolks, smallholder and family farmers, pastoralists, landless, women, youth, food and agricultural workers, consumers, urban food insecure, UN organizations and the private sector collaborate with the aim of ensuring the realization of the right to adequate food. Keep Reading…


Update on ICN2 Reporting

Intervention of Peggy Pascal, Action Contre Le Faim, France, on behalf of the CSM Working Group on Nutrition

Food Systems based on highly processed “industrialized” food ( empty in macronutrients and essential Vitamins) are making us sick . As the HLPE report recalls it, one out of three people on our earth are suffering from one form of malnutrition and it will be half of the humanity in 2050.

Until when are we going to tolerate that? Since the ICN2 conference in 2014, we have encouraged and welcomed commitments for nutrition from members states whether it was in the SDGs or by launching the decade.

As civil society we have been on your side to make concrete propositions and we have launched the people decade on nutrition, in 2014, during the ICN2, to highlight our determination and commitment to build good nutrition for all. Keep Reading…


Save the date! Tuesday 10 of October 2017 18.00-19.30 CSM Side Event on Nutrition – Philippines Room

Building C Flr 2 (Languages: EN/ES/FR)

Reclaiming healthy and sustainable diets as a public good. Public policies and investments on nutrition as critical instruments to guarantee human rights and redress the livelihoods, environmental, health and fiscal implications of food systems (CSM Working Group on Nutrition) 

Download the flyer HERE

Moderator: Stefano Prato, Society for International Development, Technical Facilitator of the Nutrition Working Group of the Civil Society Mechanism


  • Marité Alvarez, World Alliance for Mobile Indigenous Peoples (WAMIP), Member of the Coordination Committee of the Civil Society Mechanism
  • Cecilia Rocha, Lead Author of the Health Report, IPES-Food

Interactive Discussion Round Table. With the participation of:

  • Lorena Rodríguez, Head of Food and Nutrition Department, Ministry of Health of Chile
  • Pierfrancesco Sacco, Permanent Representative of Italy to FAO, IFAD and WFP
  • Khaled El Taweel, Alternate Permanent Representative of Egypt to FAO, IFAD and WFP and Chair of the CFS OEWG on Nutrition
  • Isabel Álvarez, Urgenci Global Network, Member of the Coordination Committee of the Civil Society Mechanism

CFS Plenary Session 9 -13 October 2017

Session Documents for Nutrition. Nutrition session 10 October 2017 (all day):

HLPE Report on Nutrition and Food Systems: Summary and Recommendations

22 September 2017

3rd CFS inter-sessional event

20 July 2017

CFS Advisory Group and Bureau meeting

1 June 2017

Meeting of the CFS OEWG on Nutrition 

The meeting will discuss about options for the policy convergence process This item follows the informal conversations held with CFS members and participants at the beginning of May.  The discussion will be guided by the same three questions used in the informal meetings:

a) What kind of policy guidance would you see coming out of the process in the next biennium? (Policy recommendations based on HLPE recommendations? More substantial guidance?)

b) Which issue would benefit from CFS policy guidance? (Focus on added value of CFS)

c) What would be the best process, guaranteeing inclusiveness, preparation and value added, as well as (cost-)effectiveness and relevance in the framework of the ongoing Decade of Action on Nutrition? Should it involve consultations? At what level (regional? Global E-consultation?)? At what stage of the process?

A first version of the submission to the MYPoW will be submitted and discussed during the meeting. The OEWG will also touch upon the CFS 44 “Nutrition Day”.

Background documents:

26 May 2017

2nd CFS Inter-sessional Special Event on Nutrition

9 May 2017

1st CFS Inter-sessional Special Event on Nutrition

10 February 2017

OEWG on Nutrition

The main objectives of this meeting are the following:

  • To discuss CFS’ contribution to the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition 2106-2025. The discussion will be based on a presentation of the Decade’s Work Programme by FAO and WHO.
  • To discuss the proposed format of the 1st  intersessional event on nutrition on “Investments for Healthy Food Systems”;
  • To decide on the theme of the 2nd intersessional event based on the themes received from the OEWG Members;
  • To discuss the preparation to the “Lessons learned and good practices on nutrition” session which will be held in CFS44.

 Background Documents:


December 2016

Contribution of the CSM Working Group to the HLPE Zero Draft Report on “Food Systems and Nutrition”


4 November 2016

OEWG on Nutrition 

The meeting will be webcasted at this link (9.30-12.30 Rome time CET)

Message of the OEWG on Nutrition Chair Khaled El Taweel

The main objectives of this meeting are: to discuss the HLPE zero-draft report on Nutrition and Food Systems; and to discuss and decide on the OEWG Workplan for the 2016-2017 intersessional period. The HLPE will give a brief presentation to the OEWG on the state of the work of the Nutrition and Food Systems report. Coming to the Workplan, the draft under discussion focuses on two expected outcomes: the agreement of the Plenary on CFS’ contribution to the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition; and building the information base to determine the nature and scope of possible policy convergence work on nutrition. The Workplan foresees activities under each of such outcomes for the OEWG’s consideration and decision. During the meeting I would suggest to focus our discussion on how we can make the best use of the activities foreseen for the upcoming intersessional period to prepare for the policy convergence work on nutrition that will commence after CFS44. I am looking forward to your guidance on how each of such activities can contribute to this objective and which should be the priority focus areas. The endorsed Proposal on nutrition foresees that intersessional events may be based on briefs of UNSCN. After consultation with UNSCN, it was agreed to propose a list of policy papers that will be finalized and made available in time to possibly form the basis of the planned events.

Background Documents for the meeting:


24 October 2016

HLPE Zero Draft Report on Food System and Nutrition

Extract from MYPoW 2016-2017 on CFS role and contribution to nutrition– 2016-2017

  1. As recognized in the Rome Declaration on Nutrition adopted at the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) in November 2014, “malnutrition in all its forms, including undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, overweight and obesity, not only affects people’s health and wellbeing […] but also poses a high burden in the form of negative social and economic consequences to individuals, families, communities and States”. The complexity and multidimensionality of the causes and factors leading to malnutrition are also acknowledged. In addition, the effects of economic growth, urbanization, and changes in relative prices of food also influence changes in diets and food systems and lead to an acceleration of the nutritional transition, as was identified in the HLPE note on “Critical and emerging issues in the area of food security and nutrition”.
  2. After CFS 42 in October 2015, a Task Team which will include, among others, representatives of the Rome-based agencies and UN agencies and bodies with a mandate in nutrition will be invited to identify, with the support of the CFS Secretariat, the opportunities arising from the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and the Framework for Action adopted at ICN 2, and relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for greater CFS involvement, and present a proposal on potential areas where CFS can play a major role, in line with its mandate, particularly addressing issues of policy convergence and coordination at global level. The Task Team should conclude its work by the end of December 2015.
  3. The work of the Task Team will be discussed within the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on nutrition which will be formed to prepare a proposal on a CFS workstream on nutrition to be discussed by the Bureau, in consultation with the Advisory Group, and presented for endorsement at CFS 43 in October 2016. The proposal should result in a clear vision for CFS’ role on nutrition, with a workplan leading to concrete outcomes for 2017 and beyond. The OEWG will report to Plenary at CFS 43 and CFS 44.

Process 2015 – 2016

CSM Prep-Meeting

CSM Working Group Preparatory Meeting
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First OEWG on Nutrition

First OEWG on Nutrition
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Deadline to submit comments on HLPE e-consultation

Deadline to submit comments for the HLPE e-consultation on its Report on Nutrition and Food Systems
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CSM Prep-Meeting

CSM Working Group Preparatory Meeting
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OEWG on Nutrition

Second OEWG on Nutrition
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CSM Information Meeting on Nutrition

The Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) to the UN Committee on World Food Food Security (CFS) kindly invi...
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OEWG on Nutrition

Third and last OEWG on Nutrition
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October 2016

Meeting of the CFS Bureau and Advisory Group – 8 July 2016

May 2016 

3rd and last OEWG Meeting – 29 April 2016

CSM Speaking Points

Outcomes of the OEWG of 29 April elaborated by the CFS Secretariat

 2nd OEWG Meeting – 25 February 2016

CFS Document:

CSM Contributions to the OEWG meeting

Summary of CSM Interventions

Overview of some important actors in nutrition

Advisory Group and Bureau Meeting 2 February 2016

E-Consultation on the HLPE Report on Nutrition and Food Systems (25 January 2016)

Find here the CSM CSM Submission to HLPE e-consultation on Food System & Nutrition

1st OEWG Meeting – 14 January 2015

CFS Documents:

CSM Contributions

CFS OEWG Outcomes

Process in 2015

CSM contribution to the CFS Advisory Group and Bureau meeting on Nutrition (24 November 2015)

CSM Plenary Statement on SDG at CFS 42 (October 2015)


Process 2013-2015:


Stineke Oenema, ICCO

CSM Resources persons for the CFS Technical Task Team:

  • Stineke Oenema – ICCO
  • Biraj Patnaik – Right To Food Network India
  • Boureima Allaye Touré  – OMAE
  • Claudio Schuftan – People’s Health Movement

Please find here the full list of the Working Group members

 Archive of documents