CSM Declarations on the VGFSyN during the CFS 47th Plenary

Speech by Shalmali Guttal | 10 February | CSM Policy Briefing Good afternoon everyone. My name is Shalmali Guttal and I am joining you from India. My organisation, Focus on the Global South, is a participating organisation in the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism—the CSM. We are also in the CSM Liaison Group on the UN Food Systems Summit. I will share with you our key messages regarding the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition—the VGFSyN—and its nexus with the UN Food Systems Summit. The CSM is not able to take a decision today regarding our endorsement, or not, of the VGFSyN.  The CSM is a collective space with participating organisations from 11 constituencies and 17 sub regions across the world. We need to conduct a comprehensive process of consultations with our participants to reach a final decision, which was not possible in the five days since the negotiations were concluded. But at this time, we want to make clear that the CSM is deeply disappointed with the outcome and process of the negotiations, and we have profound reservations about the content of the VGFSyN, given that most, if not all our priority issues are not meaningfully reflected in the final document. These include: the absence of human rights as the central pillar of food systems transformation; omission of the right to safe drinking water; no recommendations on reduction of pesticides and dangerous agro-chemicals; the dilution of the importance of agroecology, which could narrow the scope and ambition of the upcoming negotiations in the CFS on agreocology; no recognition of territorial markets as crucial economic spaces for food systems; lack of clear identification of the harm caused by misleading marketing; and inappropriate funding of nutrition interventions. The document does not recognize the roles of industrial agriculture and food production in precipitating the climate crisis, ecological destruction and related pandemics; of ultra-processed foods on malnutrition and chronic health problems; and of long supply chains and trade agreements on local/domestic food systems, livelihoods, and access to food and water. The VGFSyN has walked away from the recognition of the public purpose of food systems: the regulation of trade, investment and corporations in the public interest is almost non-existent in the document; as is guidance for recalibrating public policies towards addressing power imbalances in society, and strengthening local and resilient food systems based on agroecology, and the communal and public economy

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CSM Report on Monitoring the use and application of the FFA

CSM Report on Monitoring the use and application of the CFS Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crises (CFS-FFA) DOWNLOAD THE REPORT IN ENGLISH AND ARABIC!  ENGLISH |ARABIC The last decade has witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of protracted crises. The number of displaced people in the world is now roughly 80% higher than in 2010, while internal displacement has reached an all-time high. Protracted crises can often lead to drastic breakdowns in food systems, with extreme levels of food insecurity, malnourishment and hunger. Currently, there are nearly 60 million more undernourished people than in 2014, due in large part to the growing number of conflicts; indeed, the majority of undernourished people live in countries experiencing conflict. Historically, deep discussion on food security in protracted crises was stifled in food policy platforms, as many protracted crises require political solutions. However, these contexts pose unique challenges – both in the duration of food insecurity and the complexity of appropriate remedial interventions – and require unique solutions. For many years, peoples’ organisations from conflict-inflicted regions agitated for a focus on this vital issue. In 2012, the CFS embraced this priority and initiated a process to create a framework to guide comprehensive approaches to food security in these circumstances, which was celebrated as a victory for the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSM). The FFA is unique in its emphasis on addressing, resolving and preventing underlying causes of protracted crises, and the food insecurity and malnutrition they so often cause. The FFA is anchored in the human rights and humanitarian law framework which is fundamental to these goals and to ensuring accountability and restitution for those affected by crises. Equally important, the framework recognises that resilience-building must enhance peoples’ capacity to prevent crises, not merely to prepare for or absorb them. As communities affected by crises assert, they should not be left to cope with or adapt to crises but rather be supported to resist their re-emergence and achieve meaningful recovery and development. The FFA provides a much-needed basis for CFS and other policy platforms to better discuss and define comprehensive and coherent responses, the processes required to realise them, and the context-specific methods for conflict-resolution and peacebuilding. This report aims to complement the CFS-led assessment of the implementation of the FFA by providing reflections from civil society organisations on: a) the implementation of and alignment with the FFA (or lack thereof) in policy decisions and actions taken in their home countries experiencing protracted crises; b) key barriers and challenges to use and implementation of the FFA; c) CSO experiences in advocating for the implementation of the FFA; d) coherence between the FFA and pre-existing (binding and non-binding) obligations and commitments of states,

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UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food: “Let the CFS be the place where governments take action”

Speech of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Michael Fakhri, at the CFS 47 Side Event “Developing effective policy responses to Covid-19: what is needed and what is the role of the CFS?” Hello, my name is Michael Fakhri. I am the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. I am sorry that I cannot be speaking to you live today but due to the pandemic and time zone differences, I have to provide this video instead. COVID-19 has not only been a public health crisis, but it has also generated a hunger crisis. The virus is new, but it has been predictably harshest on marginalised people. In fact, the world was falling behind on fully realising the right to food even before the current pandemic. The number of hungry and undernourished people in the world has been rising since 2015. And the situation is getting worse. The virus continues to ravage humanity; even with new vaccines, it will be some time before the global health situation stabilises and it will be at least a decade before the world recovers economically. Meanwhile, Member States and international organisations have not yet come together to tackle the looming hunger crisis. Different international organisations are doing their best. But there remains no internationally coordinated action responding to the hunger crisis caused by the pandemic. Not at the General Assembly, not at the Human Rights Council, and not at the Committee on World Food Security. I should add that COVID-19 is not on the Food Systems Summit’s agenda. In other side events, I have addressed why a human rights approach is needed to tackle COVID-19. I want to focus my remarks here on why the CFS is best positioned to take on the hunger crisis that this virus has exacerbated. Remember that the CFS was first created in 1974 because of the spread of global famine and hunger. The CFS was reenergised in 2010 because of the food crisis. And today, we face the existential crisis of climate change. This global pandemic is only a practice run for what lies ahead. The CFS is already well positioned to act. Today’s panelists are able to articulate how the CFS can quickly act based on existing reports and policy instruments. These are things like the HLPE Issues Paper on COVID-19, the CFS Tenure Guidelines, the CFS Framework for Action in Protracted Crisis, the International Labour Organisation Policy Recommendations, and my newest report to the

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Proposal in the Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition risks undermining international law

During the 3rd and final round of negotiations of the Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition (VGFSyN), the representative of the United States proposed the following addition to the text: “Treaties in the list below are only relevant for the parties to each respective treaty; other documents listed are not legally binding and reference to them shall not be interpreted as a sign of support or acknowledgement by countries that abstained or voted against their adoption and have not since then expressed their support.” With this change, the United States is in effect questioning the nature of UN treaties and resolutions. Although, at the time of writing, this proposal has not yet been accepted by member states, it has changed the nature of the negotiations around the VGFSyN. “What is now at stake is not just these particular voluntary guidelines but international law and the multilateral system itself,” says the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Michael Fakhri. To better understand the significance of the proposed addition by the United States, we suggest readings by two world-leading experts who have swiftly reacted to this deeply concerning change in the Guidelines. Letter of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Michael Fakhri. Letter of Rodrigo Uprimny, member of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR). Disclaimer: Mr Uprimny clarifies that this opinion is not made officially in the name of CESCR;  however, he considers that most members of the CESCR agree with it.

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CSM Statements on the Negotiations of the Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition

Since the onset of the negotiations of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition, CSM has been highly committed and made many substantial contributions to bring in the priorities of its constituencies. CSM also  repeatedly expressed its concerns about an increasingly problematic way in which the process was conducted since April 2020, and the lack of political willingness of a number of governments to transform unsustainable corporate food systems. As the negotiations drew to an end, the delegation of CSM’s Food Systems and Nutrition Working Group summarised the position of the Mechanism in three key statements. Opening statement, 25 January 2021 Closing statement, 29 January 2021 Final statement, 4 February 2021 Statements at the CFS 47th Plenary, 10 February 2021 CSM Opening Statement 25 January 2021 – First day of the 3rd round of the OEWG negotiations of the Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition CSM would like to raise a number of points concerning the document we have in our hands: Firstly, we are witnessing how, at a time of global ecological and social crisis, which is becoming visible in the form of a pandemic, there is a clear inclination in the negotiations to avoid drawing attention to the responsibilities of the different actors, especially the responsibility of the agro-industrial model which is the one to blame both for the climate crisis and for nutritional deficiencies on a global scale. This ignores the sense of urgency we are facing, the solution of which necessarily involves the transformation of food systems towards a fairer, more sustainable, resilient and healthier model. The urgency of the situation is not captured in the document. Even at a time when the SDGs are framing the work of many, the concept of sustainable food systems is being pursued with little or no mention of sustainability, which raises doubts about the ambition and goals of this process. While some of us seek to guarantee rights, others seek to save interests. This is evidenced by the absence of a human rights-based approach as a core overarching element of these Guidelines. The right to food is barely mentioned, while human rights’ indivisibility and universality are mentioned in passing. There seems to be no desire to mention specific rights that are crucial for the most vulnerable, such as the right to health or the right to water. Who are these guidelines for? We have already repeated on several occasions that for the CSM these guidelines

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Key CSM and CFS communications on the United Nations Food Systems Summit

The Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSM) for relations with the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS), has been closely observing the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) preparation since July 2019 and has expressed its concerns about its course on multiple occasions at the CFS and through different publicly accessible communications. Below are a number of documents describing CSM’s concerns, and on a distinct section further below, key official CFS communications. CSM Documents and Communications February 2021: CSM letter to the CFS Chair November 2020: CSM Key points on the Food Systems Summit at CFS Advisory Group and Bureau meeting October 2020: Open call to join forces to challenge the UNFSS March 2020: Letter signed by more than 500 organisations sent to the UN Secretary General March 2020: Press release alongside the letter sent to the UN Secretary General  CFS Official Communications Letter from the CFS Chair to the UN Special Envoy for 2021 Food Systems Summit 21 January 2020 Letter from the UN Special Envoy for 2021 Food Systems Summit to the CFS Chair 11 November 2020 Letter from the CFS Chair to the UN Special Envoy for 2021 Food Systems Summit 19 November 2020

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CFS 47th Plenary Session 8-11 February 2021

CFS 47th Plenary Session 8-11 February 2020 In this page you will find all the information related to the CFS 47th Plenary Session that will be held entirely online. Please find here the following information and background documents for the session: Official CFS 47 Documents Branded Public Provisional Agenda Branded Public Provisional Timetable  FAO Zoom meeting guidelines Registration Please note that to access the CFS Plenary Session, which will be held entirely via Zoom, you will need to register to the CFS 47 web portal by 22 January 2021. REGISTER HERE BEFORE 22 JANUARY 2021 ➡️Any questions related to registration for CFS-47, should be made to: [email protected]

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CSM Update | November, December and January 2021

In this issue: CFS Updates Updates on a possible CFS policy response to COVID-19 Updates from the CFS Advisory Group and Bureau meeting of 23 November 2020 Updates from CFS’s Policy negotiations on the Guidelines on Food Systems & Nutrition Updates from the OEWG meetings on Gender equality and Women’s Empowerment Upcoming CFS 47th Plenary Session on 8-11 February 2021 and registration details HLPE e-consultation on the zero draft of the Youth Report Updates on Agroecological and other innovative approaches policy process Updates on the Food Systems Summit and CFS engagement CSM Internal Updates CSM Information session on 2 February 2021 CSM Policy Briefing on 4 February 2021 Updates on a possible CFS policy response to COVID-19 Despite some strong voices calling for a prominent CFS role in the global response to COVID-19, during CFS High-level events in October, the Bureau decided in its meeting of 27 November to not foresee any policy response process to this crisis. The urgency and people’s current reality seems to have been left out the Committee and ignored. This frustrating lack of relation to the reality of the ground is reflected in the current timetable of the upcoming CFS 47th Plenary Session where no specific policy debate and possible subsequent policy decision is foreseen nor explicitly mentioned. Bureau members rather decided to mainstream COVID-19 throughout CFS work streams and agenda of the plenary, stating that many of the policy dialogues foreseen in the CFS 47th session would be likely to entail references to COVID-19. To learn more, visit this dedicated web page where CSM gathers all publications, statements, contributions and material related to the urgent need of a CFS global policy response to COVID-19. Updates from the CFS Advisory Group and Bureau meeting of 23 November 2020 The CFS Advisory and Bureau meeting addressed the preparations of the upcoming CFS 47th Plenary Session and included an exchange with the HLPE Steering Committee on COVID-19 and the Food Systems Summit. The CFS Chair’s summary of the October high-level events will also be included as part of the background documents informing CFS 47th Plenary Session. Please find here CSM contributions and related CFS Bureau outcomes. Updates from the CFS Policy negotiations on the Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition On Friday 18th of December, the second official week of CFS policy negotiations ended. This second week was expected to finalize the Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition, scheduled to be endorsed at CFS

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Policy response to COVID-19

POLICY RESPONSE TO COVID-19 The virus itself does not discriminate, but its impacts do, as the UN Secretary General has pointed out. There is increasing evidence from all parts of the world that the most affected by this health, food and economic crisis are the very same people who have been the most at risk before. The virus opens the eyes of the whole world to the horrific structural inequalities, discrimination, exploitation, racism and sexism that already reigned before, inadequately contested by public policies, and that now exacerbate the effects of the crisis on the most vulnerable in real time. This page intends to gather all publications, statements, contributions and material related to the urgent need of a CFS global policy response to COVID-19. Since March 2019 the CFS has been generating spaces of debate on this pandemic and its impacts on food security and nutrition. As a result of the CFS Chair initiative, the HLPE has produced in 2020 an Issues paper on COVID-19, while policy dialogues events have took place at CFS throughout the year. The CSM, from its side, has been actively engaged and committed to bring to the CFS the urgent policy demands raising from the ground, as the global pandemic continued to impact millions of lives. The CSM has urged CFS members and participants to assume the political responsibility of this crisis, proposing CFS to draft a global policy response to the food crisis that can support governments in their national responses to the crisis. So far this request has remained unanswered. CSM Reports on COVID-19  CLICK HERE TO READ THE REPORT!  CLICK HERE TO READ THE REPORT! CLICK HERE TO READ THE REPORT! CSM Statements on COVID-19   CSM preliminary messages for the CFS Advisory Group and Bureau Meeting on COVID-19 and its impacts on food security and nutrition (19 March 2020) Preliminary CSM messages to the Extraordinary Meeting of the CFS Bureau and Advisory Group (31 March 2020) CSM Key messages on COVID-19 and the policy response to avert the global food crisis (13 May 2020) HLPE Reports relevant to COVID-19 Impacts of COVID-19 on food security and nutrition: developing effective policy responses to address the hunger and malnutrition pandemic (HLPE Issues paper) AR|FR|ES|RU|CH (September 2020) Food Security and Nutrition: building a global narrative towards 2030  (HLPE Report) AR|CH|ES|FR|RU  (June 2020) CFS High-Level Events (13-15 October 2020) CFS Chair Summary of the High-level Events October 2020 CSM Press release towards CFS High-level events 12

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Translations of the HLPE issues Paper on COVID-19 now online!

Impacts of COVID-19 on food security and nutrition: developing effective policy responses to address the hunger and malnutrition pandemic HLPE issues paper AR|FR|ES|RU|CH September 2020 In March 2020 the HLPE published upon  request of the CFS Chair an issues paper on Covid-19 impacts on food security and nutrition. On September a new and updated version has been published. This paper will be available in all six FAO languages before the high-level special event of the CFS, from 13 to 15 October 2020, and will be used to set the stage for the discussion on COVID-19 at the session on 14 October. Cover photo @Barcroft Media via Getty Images 

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HLPE e-consultation on the zero draft of the Report on Youth

Promoting youth engagement and employment in agriculture and food systems HLPE consultation on the V0 draft of the report   During its 46th Plenary Session (14 – 18 October 2019), the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) requested its High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) to produce a report entitled “Promoting youth engagement and employment in agriculture and food systems”. The overall aim of the report, as articulated in the CFS Multi-year programme of work, is to “Review the opportunities for, and constraining factors to youth engagement and employment in agriculture and food systems”, including examining “aspects related to employment, salaries, and working conditions”; “rules, regulations and policy approaches […] aimed at addressing the complexity of structural economic, cultural, social and spatial transformations”. The report was also tasked to “explore the potential of food systems and enhanced rural-urban linkages to provide more and better jobs for women and youth.” The report will be presented at CFS 48th Plenary session in October 2021. As part of the process of elaboration of its reports, the HLPE is organizing a consultation to seek inputs, suggestions, and comments on the present preliminary V0 draft (more details on the different steps of the process, are available here). The results of this consultation will be used by the HLPE to further elaborate the report, which will then be submitted to external expert review, before finalization and approval by the HLPE Steering Committee. HLPE V0-drafts of reports are deliberately presented early enough in the process – as a work-in-progress, with their range of imperfections – to allow sufficient time to properly consider the feedbacks received in the elaboration of the report. E-consultations are a key part of the inclusive and knowledge-based dialogue between the HLPE Steering Committee and the knowledge community at large. How can you contribute to the development of the report? This V0 draft identifies areas for recommendations and contributions on which the HLPE would welcome suggestions or proposals. The HLPE would welcome submission of material, evidence-based suggestions, references, and concrete examples, in particular addressing the following questions: 1. The V0-draft is structured around a conceptual framework which presents three fundamental pillars for youth engagement and employment in agriculture and food systems (AFS): rights, agency and equity. Do you think that this framework addresses the key issues affecting youth engagement and employment in AFS? 2. The V0-draft identifies main

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