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The fifty-first plenary session (CFS 51) of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) was held in a hybrid format from 23 to 27 October 2023 at FAO Headquarters in Rome and was adjourned while discussing food security related to conflicts. The plenary reconvened on 25 November 2023 to conclude the discussions and adopt the final report.

A large CSIPM delegation representing various and diverse constituencies, including: smallholder farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolks, Indigenous Peoples, agricultural and food workers, landless, women, youth, consumers, urban food insecure and NGOs, from all regions of the world, participated to demand freedom from hunger, from oppression and exploitation, and to advocate for inclusive food system policies that prioritise equitable access to resources, address the root causes of systemic inequalities, and ensure the realisation of  human rights without discrimination.

Detailed information, including statements and videos of the sessions, can be found below and on the CFS 51 webpage.

Coordinating policy responses to the global food crisis - The State of food security and nutrition in the world 2023

The session, held on the first day of the Plenary, started with a presentation of the 2023 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report. It was followed by a high-Level debate on coordinated policy responses to the global food crisis and on advancing food systems transformation for the achievement of food security and nutrition and the right to adequate food.

The CSIPM made a statement, expressing that peace should be the means to eradicate hunger and thirst, alluding to the current situation in Gaza, Occupied Palestinian Territories. André Luzzi from HIC International and Musa Sowe from ROPPA emphasized the need for the CFS to leverage its strengthened platform function, as reflected in the MYPoW 2024 – 2027, to coordinate responses to global crises based on a human rights framework. They highlighted the increase in conflicts globally, as obstructive to the right to food and urged the CFS to promote this right as a tool for addressing multiple crises.

Statement delivered by André Luzzi (International Habitat Coalition) and Musa Sowe (ROPPA) | CSIPM Global Food Governance Working Group
"We bring from our cosmology the reference to the orixá Omolu, who is dedicated to healing and care. It is time to heal our policies so that our existence, as an ethical-civilising project, can be sustained in the realisation of a full and well-lived life."
André Luzzi
HIC International

Thank you very much, I will speak in Portuguese, to represent our cultural and linguistic diversity. I would like to congratulate the representative of South Africa for her election, it is encouraging to see a woman being elected to such a significant position in terms of global food governance.

The Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSIPM), a diverse and pluralistic   mechanism, made up of 11 sectors and 17 sub-regions around the world, expresses solidarity with the people from Palestine. We would like to call for peace and the construction of solutions based on dialogue. The civilian population cannot continue to have their rights violated and dying. It is necessary that we halt the attacks and the pressures to ensure the humanitarian assistance necessary to guarantee food, water and the restoration of a dignified life.

As we have warned in the past, food cannot be a weapon of war. However, we see the situation worsening. Food has been used as an instrument of torture, oppression and demeaning treatment. There are many parts of the world where an increase on conflicts are detrimental to the realisation of the right to food.  As CSIPM our message to the CFS is that peace should be the way forward in order to eradicate hunger and thirst, and that the CFS now has a strengthened opportunity today to promote in a coordinated way the right to food as a tool to respond to multiple crises.

We have also gleaned from our active listening processes that there has been a rise in debts, and an increase concentration of power and land by corporations, migration and forced displacement, which are causes of growing inequalities that have come out of our discussions as root factors of the crises. It is necessary to remember that inequalities have historical and structural causes. Efforts are still insufficient for us to be able to live free from sexism, racism, xenophobia, gender-based violence, and violence on sexual orientation, gender identity and physical diversity. Feedback from our communities and territories highlights a sense of urgency for concrete actions and pragmatic measures to address critical issues so that we can live free from hunger and thirst.

We recognise the challenge ahead to understand their interdependencies with food systems. But while a few benefit, many more go hungry. In the CSIPM we believe in the importance of dialogue with other civil society spaces and Indigenous Peoples fora for advancing struggles on these aspects of global governance, in order to strengthen a coordination approach that offers comprehensive, deep and focused responses based on the human right to adequate food. We thus call for a genuine dialogue on how to incorporate these elements into the next Multi-Year Programme of Work. And also how we can advance a corporate accountability framework in this democratic space, which clearly distinguishes human rights holders from duty bearers, at a time where we see multi-stakeholder approaches on the rise.

Finally, we bring from our cosmology the reference to the orixá Omolu, who is dedicated to healing and care. It is time to heal our policies so that our existence, as an ethical-civilising project, can be sustained in the realisation of a full and well-lived life.

I will now give the floor to my colleague Musa Sowe for greeting the new elected Chair.

Thank you very much. We want to extend our deepest gratitude to the new Chair of the CFS.  She is a good fit for the job, we want to congratulate her. On behalf of the CSIPM, we would pray for her to give her strength to carry on the work, she is a very good person for this particular job. We want to clarify that she would do a lot for the CFS in the future.

Download the statement

Previously that day, Michael Fakhri, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, stressed the urgency of addressing hunger, malnutrition, and conflict in food systems. He, along with other UN Human Rights experts, raised an alarm about food being used as a weapon to starve civilians in Gaza. Fakhri warned of a potential genocide by Israel against the Palestinian people unless the international community ensures a ceasefire and humanitarian relief. He emphasized the need for a human rights-based approach, grounded in international law, and advocated for global cooperation, resilient food systems, and care-based economies to ensure freedom from hunger and oppression.

Statement delivered by Michael Fakhri | UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
"Freedom from hunger means we should be working towards freedom from oppression, exploitation, and occupation. By fulfilling the right to food, you are creating the conditions for peace."
Michael Fakhri
UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

CSIPM Side event | Human rights-based food governance – Coordinating policy responses, rebalancing power, and ensuring corporate accountability

In the sidelines of the CFS 51st Plenary Session, a side event unfolded on 23 October 2023, shedding light on the pressing need for a paradigm shift in food system governance. Co-organised by the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSIPM) and the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food), the Global Alliance for the Future of Food (GAFF), and Mexico’s Department of Agriculture, the event delved into the urgent need to critically examine the governance architecture of food to guarantee that food system decision-making prioritises the public good and the right to food for all.

CSIPM Side event: Data governance in the digitalisation of the food system – Bringing together small-scale food producers and governments

On 24 October 2023, the 51st plenary session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) hosted a side event on “Data Governance in the Digitalization of the Food System – Bringing Small Food Producers and Governments Closer”. This side event was co-organized by the data working group of the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSIPM), the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Michael Fakhri, and the government of Mexico.

Global ‘interlinkages’ Dialogues

The session delved into the interconnections between food security, nutrition, and global events such as the 2023 UN SDG Summit, UN Food Systems Summit Stocktaking Moment 2023, 2024 Summit of the Future, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change COP 27 and COP 28, Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, and UN Convention to Combat Desertification COP 15.

Represented by Leonida Odongo, the CSIPM voiced concerns regarding the inadequate, non-inclusive, and non-participatory nature of the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS). Leonida also announced the launch of a new CSIPM report entitled They will feed us! A people’s route to African food sovereignty shedding light on how the UNFSS promotes corporate interests in food systems in Africa. Key findings reveal a pressing need for supporting farmers’ seed systems, promoting farmer-led agroecology, ensuring access to land, and protecting the rights of women, Indigenous Peoples and youth in food systems. 

"African civil society organisations undertook an analysis of the UNFSS pathways and the findings are as follows: the processes are not adequate, inclusive, or participatory."
Leonida Odongo
African CSIPM consultation space and Women and Gender Diversities working group

The CSIPM acknowledges the newly elected chair of the CFS. African Civil Society organisations undertook an analysis of the UNFSS pathways and the findings are as follows: the processes are not adequate, inclusive, or participatory except, for example, in countries such as Mali where there’s already Civil Society relations with government.

There’s policy incoherence, a lot of external influence, and most initiatives were promoted by external actors. There’s a promotion of dependence on external funding and investment rather than the use of public finances. The agenda promoted was one of modernization, industrial agriculture, and global supply chain, rather than support for domestic food production by small-scale family farmers, agroecology, and territorial markets.

People’s access to and control of land and seeds is threatened; gender equity and youth access to opportunities were not addressed. Our key messages are human rights-based governance, not multistakeholderism; public financing for more sustained sustainable food systems; support to family farming, agroecology, and territorial markets; people’s access to and control over land, water, and seeds; gender equity and youth access to opportunities.

The report is available on the CSPM website. Thank you.

Endorsement of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in the Context of Food Security and Nutrition

On 24 October 2023, the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment (GEWGE) in the context of Food Security and Nutrition were endorsed. Paola Romero and Paula Gioia delivered the CSIPM’s Women and Gender Diversities WG statement. While appreciating the guidelines as an initial step toward gender-inclusive food policies, they expressed discontent over omitted points. A visual action staged by the working group members present in Rome complemented the statement, earning widespread applause from the plenary.

Statement delivered by Paola Romero (FIAN Colombia) and Paula Gioia (La Via Campesina) | CSIPM Women and Gender Diversities Working Group
"As long as some of us are excluded, marginalised, and made invisible, we cannot truly celebrate."
Paula Gioia
La Via Campesina

Chair, representatives of member states, observers, colleagues, persons of all genders, sexual orientations, classes, castes, ethnicities, races, abilities, and ages.

On behalf of the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSIPM) we start by expressing our solidarity with all the civilians in areas of conflict and protracted crises, especially those in Gaza, currently deprived of shelter, medical assistance, water, and adequate food.

The Women and Gender Diversities Working Group of the CSIPM thanks the chairs for the Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment Workstream. We also thank the CFS chair and the secretariat and the other UN agencies who supported the process.

We have participated in this workstream with full commitment, bringing together a beautiful mosaic of people and experiences from around the world. We learned what true solidarity is; and how to support a diversity of people who experience multiple and intersecting oppressions. We learned how much it means to make visible those who are made invisible and to care for all people.

The negotiation process was emotionally draining for us and the space was often violent, bringing many in the room to tears. While we were negotiating and as we speak here now, many lives in our homelands are suffering gender-based violence and sexual violence. Millions are still not able to realize their right to food, and are even being killed for being who they are.  We had high hopes for an ambitious and progressive outcome for these Guidelines. 

Our participation made a difference not only in this UN space but also in the lives of some of the people we carry in our hearts and thoughts.

Despite the significant tensions and difficulties, we recognize that the final outcomes will have positive repercussions, also for some of the members of our communities. We succeeded in bringing a human rights framework into the document as well as important references to the role of women’s organizations and social movements. Indigenous Peoples and peasants, two very important constituencies of the CSIPM, are also recognised in the guidelines. Along with several other aspects.

However, the final text contains many omissions that diminish our hopes and leave us unsatisfied. These include: 

  • The recognition of land as a commons 
  • Free prior and informed consent for Indigenous Peoples
  • The rights of LGBTQIA+
  • The redistribution of unpaid care work 
  • Agroecology 
  • Intersectionality
  • Addressing women and diversities under occupation
  • Universal social protection is a crucial right in the realisation of the right to food.

Those aspects are not addressed, exploitation of, and violence against the most disaffected in our communities will continue. Therefore, as long as some of us are excluded, marginalised, and made invisible, we cannot truly celebrate.

At the same time, CSIPM avoids the trap of political polarization and the dichotomy between good and bad. We prepared an extensive evaluation document available on the CSIPM website and we have drafted an explanatory note to be added to the Annex, expressing our concerns, while also recognising this document as a starting point for continuing discussions in the CFS  to achieve gender equality in food systems. This explanatory note has already been shared with the CFS Secretariat, and we seek member states’ support for its inclusion in the Annex. 

With these clarifications, the CSIPM supports the endorsement of the Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment.  We will contribute to their dissemination and use them in our future advocacy. The upcoming MYPoW presents us with plenty of opportunities to keep advancing towards the real transformation of the lived realities of so many marginalized peoples and address gender as a transversal and intersectional aspect of the progressive realization of the Right to Food.  

We exist!  We will continue to demand our rights in our communities and societies, from our governments, in the CFS, and in all spaces in the United Nations,  and we also truly commit to bringing these achievements back home. 

Thank you. 

Boosting Finance in Agroecology to Achieve Rio Convention’s Targets

CSIPM received an invitation to join a side event taking place on 25 October, titled “Boosting Finance in Agroecology to Achieve Rio Convention’s Targets” co-hosted by the Agroecology Coalition, Agroecology Fund, Global Alliance for the Future of Food, IFOAM – Organics International, and WWF. Representing CSIPM, Tyler Short underscored that financing measures for agroecology must acknowledge small-scale food producers as political actors. He emphasized the importance of respecting our independent modes of self-organization and integrating grassroots social movements into policy-making processes.

Endorsement of the CFS Policy Recommendations on Strengthening Collection and Use of Food Security and Nutrition

On 25 October, Patti Naylor, a member of the CSIPM Coordination Committee and co-coordinator of the Data Working Group representing the National Family Farm Coalition, presented a statement during the CFS 51 Plenary Session’s endorsement of the Policy Recommendations. These recommendations focus on enhancing the collection and utilization of Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) data and analysis tools to better inform decisions supporting the gradual realization of the right to adequate food within national food security frameworks.

Patti Naylor, representing the CSIPM data working group, delineated the commendable aspects of the policy recommendations while also highlighting their limitations. As new technologies are developed, as the seriousness of risks becomes more evident, and as demands for government and corporate accountability grow, these discussions around data and digital technologies must continue. She emphasized that the CFS as a policy body is the space to address these issues and should include these discussions in upcoming policy processes and dialogues. 

Statement delivered by Patti Naylor (NFFC) | CSIPM Coordination Committee and Data Working Group
"Huge amounts of data are already being collected and often monopolised by powerful corporations, and not driving the policies needed."
Patti Naylor
NFFC

Thank you, Chair,

My name is Patti Naylor. I am a farmer in the United States and the co-coordinator of the CSIPM Data working group.

We want to thank the Rapporteur, Anthony Muriithi of Kenya, for conducting an inclusive and transparent process to arrive at these draft policy recommendations. 

We would also like to thank member states that supported this policy process and some key proposals of the CSIPM. 

As the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples Mechanism (CSIPM), we view as a success that this document is framed to show the collection and use of data should serve the realization of the right to food.

We were also able to expand the definition of data, going beyond digital data to recognize the importance of qualitative as well as quantitative data and the varied Indigenous and traditional methods of collecting, analyzing, and using data. 

We value that the section on governance was maintained, although in a very weakened form, while the governance of data is already showing to be a key part of democratic food systems.

These draft policy recommendations, unfortunately, fall short in many areas. The serious risks arising from data-based technologies for food producers, food system workers,  consumers, the environment, and the future food security were not addressed. Risks we identified range from surveillance and privacy violations to monopolistic control of intellectual property rights and patents to corporate control of the global food system. 

The narrative of more data as the ultimate tool for achieving food security remains in the document, while the reality is that huge amounts of data are already being collected and often monopolized by powerful corporations, and not driving the policies needed. 

During the negotiations, we were disturbed by the reluctance of member states to acknowledge and address the reality of corporate power over data and data-based technologies, including the concentration of the benefits generated from them in the hands of a few corporate actors. 

With the commodification of data, there is a high risk of digital colonialism. The extraction of data joins the exploitation of human labor and the extraction of natural resources as a tool for profit and to build political and economic power by those who control that data. The danger that this control of data will undermine the sovereignty of states, is real. For this reason, we were particularly concerned about the low participation of countries from the Global South in the negotiations.

On the other hand, we acknowledge these technologies could be an asset for exposing inequalities, advancing food security and food sovereignty, and addressing environmental and social crises. However, this can only happen if a strong governance framework is developed. 

Datafication is real, and governments need to take responsibility. Key elements of the food security and nutrition data governance discussions will be defining governments’ role and the urgent need for mechanisms for public oversight and risk assessments of data-based technologies.

As new technologies are developed, as the seriousness of risks becomes more evident, and as demands for government and corporate accountability grow, these discussions around data and digital technologies must continue. We would like to emphasize that the CFS as a policy body is the space to address these issues and should include these discussions in upcoming policy processes and dialogues.

Endorsement of the CFS Multi-Year Programme of Work (MYPoW)

The CFS Multi-Year Programme of Work 2024-2027 was endorsed by the Committee. This document, which is the result of a year-round process, defines the CFS objectives and expected outcomes for the next quadrennium, as well as ways to achieve them.

The endorsement of this document marked a significant victory for CSIPM. The sustained CSIPM advocacy during the COVID-19 pandemic, including popular consultations and the ‘You do Politics, We Go Hungry’ campaign, contributed to this milestone. With the coordination function integrated across the entire quadrennium, the CSIPM focus now shifts to proposing methodologies and strategies in line with the Right to Food.

Statement delivered by Saima Zia (Pakistan Kissan Rabbita Committee and La Via Campesina) | CSIPM Coordination Committee
"We celebrate the fact that the central role of the CFS as a platform to coordinate global policy responses to the intersecting crises is now finally recognized in the MYPoW. This achievement results from years of work by the CSIPM and a group of MS."
Saima Zia
Pakistan Kissan Rabbita Committee and La Via Campesina

Addressing multiple dimensions of inequalities

Highlighting food as a fundamental human right, Bhavani Shankar, HLPE-FSN drafting team leader, introduced the report ‘Reducing Inequalities for Food Security and Nutrition.’ Stakeholders in the CFS engaged in offering insights and feedback for the report’s content during the policy convergence process.

Judith Hitchman (URGENCI) and Dee Woods (Landworkers’ Alliance), speaking for the Equity Working Group of the CSIPM, delivered the following statement.

Statement delivered by Judith Hitchman (URGENCI) and Dee Woods (Landworkers’ Alliance) | CSIPM Equity Working Group
"Reducing structural inequalities within and outside of food systems is fundamental in the struggles for the people represented in our constituencies and regions to progressively realise the right to food. It is currently even more important with multiple crises fostering ever-greater inequalities globally, including in some of the countries with the richest economies."
Dee Woods
Equity Working Group and Coordination Committee

CSIPM Side event: Reducing inequalities in the food system through an intersectional lens

On 26 October 2023, the 51st plenary session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) hosted a side event on “Reducing inequalities in the food system through an intersectional lens”. This side event was organized by the Equity working group of the CSIPM.

Monitoring CFS policy recommendations on price volatility and food security and on social protection for food security and nutrition

The CFS 51 Monitoring Event reflected on the CFS Policy Recommendations on Price Volatility and Food Security (endorsed in 2011, CFS 37) and Social Protection for Food Security and Nutrition (endorsed in 2012, CFS 39), with participating stakeholders sharing examples of their practical application.

Patti Naylor delivered a statement on behalf of CSIPM focused on food price volatility and social protection in today’s context, after food prices have skyrocketed for the third time in fifteen years and social protection measures are not adequately enacted. She introduced CSIPM’s new monitoring report of the CFS policy recommendations on food price volatility and social protection, which sheds light on the structural causes of the instability of the global food system as it is now.

Statement delivered by Patti Naylor (National Family Farm Coalition) | CSIPM Coordination Committee
"The governance of agricultural commodity markets in many country contexts has been on a deregulatory trend for decades, a political decision at both national and international levels. This deregulation has created conditions where small-scale food producers are systematically marginalised in an unregulated market, leaving them in a chronic state of economic crisis."
Patti Naylor
National Family Farm Coalition

Thank you Chair.

I am a farmer in the United States, specifically in the state of Iowa. My husband just finished harvesting organic corn, and when I get back this weekend, I will finish harvesting the apples in our orchard. I plan to plant a few crops in a fall garden. I’m also a Coordination Committee Member of the Civil Society and Indigenous People’s Mechanism, which has 11 constituencies. I am here to bring my perspective as a farmer and a woman on price volatility and social protections, aiming to amplify the voices of social movements, especially those of family farmers and peasants.

It’s crucial to recognize that the negative impacts of price volatility are broad and evident in both rural communities and urban households. For this monitoring exercise, we collected evidence from our constituencies and drafted a report available on the CSIPM website. I invite you to check it out. Volatility indeed implies uncertainty and instability, and within a food system, it significantly impacts food security. Volatility is inherent in the global food system due to how basic commodities, such as storable grains and oilseeds like wheat and corn, are priced, regulating the market. Consequently, how commodities are priced becomes a key factor in creating stable and secure conditions within food systems.

Public policies ensuring strong social protections are always critical. However, regulating the market and reducing occurrences of price volatility would mean that social protections are necessary less often and would be less costly for governments. The governance of agricultural commodity markets in many country contexts has been on a deregulatory trend for decades—a political decision at national and international levels. Speculative investments, market hedging, futures contracts, and other profit-seeking behaviors, primarily by increasingly concentrated corporate and financial interests, contribute to market fluctuations, sometimes quite dramatically, which becomes more visible.

These conditions have systematically marginalized small-scale food producers even in times considered normal due to this unregulated market, leaving them chronically in an economic crisis. Price volatility makes it more challenging for farmers to innovate and diversify their farms and production practices. Instead, these market conditions push them to maximize the production of commodity crops, often utilizing extra fertilizer and pesticides, leading to land exploitation when prices are high. Ironically, when prices are low, farmers still strive to produce as much as they can to secure a minimum income, intensifying production, which in turn damages ecosystems, biodiversity, and pollutes soil, water, and air.

A significant portion of these commodity crops is used to feed livestock in confinement facilities and produce biofuels. Consequently, corporate buyers take advantage of low prices, while the public and the environment bear the true externalized costs of this production. Until governments implement real market regulations, such as supply management mechanisms, fair price floors and ceilings tied to a public food reserve, the production treadmill will continue to drive down incomes for small-scale producers, causing environmental destruction and benefiting corporate interests.

As the CSIPM, for a long time, we’ve advocated for common-sense and evidence-based solutions to address the drivers and impact of price volatility, striving to advance food sovereignty. We endorse solutions involving implementing supply management, fair prices, and public food reserve policies for agricultural products. Moreover, we emphasize the need to reform the trade regime to serve public interests rather than corporate ones. Additionally, we advocate for a systemwide transition to agroecology, developing territorial markets, reversing corporate concentration, enforcing legal instruments to ban financial speculation on land and commodities, and scaling up public institutions and services to combat food insecurity and ensure the human right to food. Strengthening the CFS coordination role is crucial to coordinating efforts toward this transformation of the food system. Thank you.

Special event on the Right to Food

The Special event featured a dialogue among a range of stakeholders focusing on the interlinkages between the Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realisation of the Right to Adequate Food and the evolving global food security and nutrition context. Different countries and constituencies reflected on good practices and challenges met on the right to adequate food in the context of the current food crisis, including the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Michael Fakhri and the CSIPM, represented by Paola Romero (FIAN Colombia).

Statement delivered by Paola Romero (FIAN Colombia) | CSIPM Women and Gender Diversities Working Group 
"Nearly 600 million people are expected to be chronically undernourished by 2030. Now, I would like to call your attention to the future and take a forward-looking approach. In the face of crises, we believe we must act in transformative and practical steps to make substantial progress."
Paola Romero
FIAN Colombia

Adjournment of the Plenary Session

The 51st Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), which took place from 23 to 27 October 2023, was adjourned for the second year in a row due to unresolved disagreements over the content of the final report. The reconvened Session took place on Saturday 25 November 2023, in hybrid format. Continue reading:

Statement delivered by Tyler Short (Family Farm Defenders and La Via Campesina) | CSIPM Youth Working Group and Coordination Committee
"Unfortunately, the CSIPM has to ask: Does anyone here actually think that food and water should be used as weapons of war? Does anyone here think that essential goods and services should not reach Palestinian civilians?"
Tyler Short
National Family Farm Defenders and La Via Campesina

Thank you Chair for giving us the floor. We agree with you. We need more dialogue. Shamefully, the government that I pay taxes to has left this plenary hall already.

Unfortunately, the CSIPM has to ask: Does anyone here think that food and water should be used as weapons of war? Does anyone here think that essential goods and services should not reach Palestinian civilians? Does anyone think that the RBAs should be hindered from doing their life-saving work on the ground? You do politics, and they go hungry. You do politics, and the war continues. Clearly, the CFS cannot stop the war, but we can strive to realize the right to food for all.

The rules. What are the rules? International law? What about human rights? Are these not rules to consider and act upon? They too are legally binding. The CFS has a mandate. We have a shared vision to realize the right to food. Sadly, some Member States must have lost this vision. Can you not see? Can you not see what is happening?

New York, Geneva, and Rome. Are we not connected? Can CFS take a step forward? Can you affirm your faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of nations large and small? We see the hypocrisy.  

And yet, we are still here. We believe in the CFS. We defend the CFS. We claim our right to directly participate in this Committee. You cannot take this away from us.

The text proposed by Egypt aligns with the CFS Framework for Action on Protracted Crises. Many Member States argue in negotiations that agreed language should be maintained. What about this product negotiated by the Committee? We have this Framework for a reason. Now is the time to put it into action!

Unfortunately, it appears that we cannot finish our work today, but we still must take a step forward. Otherwise, what will happen? How many more lives will be taken from this earth?

The CSIPM therefore reaffirms our call for peace. We call for respect for international law. The right to food must be realized everywhere, for everyone. Thank you.

The reconvened Plenary Session

After almost a month of internal negotiations among CFS member states, on 25 November 2023, the reconvened Plenary Session adopted by acclamation the text of the final report. The report contains the decisions taken for each CFS 51 agenda item and the significant debates during the session. 

On behalf of the CSIPM, the Coordination Committee member Mariam Mohammad (Arab Network for Food Sovereignty) delivered a strong statement denouncing Israel’s use of food and water as weapons of war against Palestinians, and calling for the CFS members to respect the provisions in the CFS Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crises.

Statement delivered by Mariam Mohammad (Arab Food Sovereignty Network) | CSIPM Coordination Committee
"There can be no justification for the lethal collective punishment and the genocide of the Palestinian people. For weeks, UN experts have sounded the alarm about the risk of genocide through this war. Genocide is the gravest of crimes under international law, and the CFS has the obligation to urgently work toward preventing this atrocity from further escalation."
Mariam Mohammad
Arab Food Sovereignty Network and CSIPM Coordination Committee

Thank you, Chair, for giving us the floor.

This is Mariam Mohammad from Lebanon, I am a CC member of the CSIPM facilitating for the West Asia region on behalf of the Arab Network for Food Sovereignty.

For the past few weeks, while language was being discussed, and words being changed for the purpose of reaching compromise and consensus, the reality on the ground in Palestine was not changing at all. Conflict in agreed language could not change that it is a genocide on the grounds of reality. That what is being committed by the Israeli occupation is the indiscriminate massacre and bombing of hospitals, schools, refugee camps, women, children, infants, and elderly. Conflict areas in agreed language could not change that it is occupied areas on the grounds of reality, including Gaza and the rest of occupied Palestine. While language was and still is being discussed, our people in Palestine were and still are being ethnically cleansed in the most brutal and horrific forms, as well as starved and thirsted.

The CSIPM is engaged now in this reconvened Plenary session with motivation rooted in hope. We are glad and hopeful that CFS 51 can formally conclude today and that the CFS is strengthened through this debate, reinforcing the role of the Plenary to provide guidance and actionable recommendations towards achieving a world free from hunger, food insecurity, malnutrition, double standards, and the selective protection of human rights.

We were going to advocate for the CFS 51 final report to include language that:

  • denounces the Israeli occupation’s use of food and water as weapons of war against Palestinians.
  • underscores the imperative for reliable, consistent, ample, and unobstructed provision of vital necessities to civilians across the Gaza Strip, including but not limited to food, water, sanitation, medical resources, energy, and access to productive resources.
  • highlights the critical role of FAO, IFAD, WFP, and UNRWA in evaluating and mitigating the conflict’s impact on food security and agriculture, in Occupied Palestine.
  • Acknowledges that the Israeli occupation’s use of starvation tactics against 2.3 million Palestinians is a severe breach of international treaties and humanitarian law;
  • Demands that the Israeli occupation be held accountable and responsible for these crimes against humanity;
  • and requests the CFS Chair to immediately forward these conclusions to the UN Secretary General and relevant UN agencies. 

There can be no justification for the lethal collective punishment and the genocide of the Palestinian people. For weeks, UN experts have sounded the alarm about the risk of genocide through this war. Genocide is the gravest of crimes under international law, and the CFS has the obligation to urgently work toward preventing this atrocity from further escalation. 

We believe it would have been very important that the Committee had incorporated these points into the final report, pursuant to the provisions in the CFS Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crises and especially in accordance with:  

  • Principle 1: Meet immediate humanitarian needs and build resilient livelihoods;
  • Principle 2: Reach affected populations;
  • Principle 4: Protect those affected by or at risk from protracted crises;
  • and Principle 9: Contribute to peacebuilding through food security and nutrition.

We would like to finally stress that all what is being committed in occupied Palestine and the weaponization of food is for the purpose of ethnic cleansing and a new Nakba, which we strongly condemn and refuse. We also cannot understand how we have reached a point where asking for the end of a genocide and a war has become controversial. To us and in our solid principles in the Civil Society, this will never be or become the case.

H.E. Nosipho Nausca-Jean Jezile, Permanent Representative to the UN Agencies in Rome of the Republic of South Africa, has been elected as the new CFS Chairperson. Her mandate started on 25 November 2023, once the plenary session officially concluded.

Photo: ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano

Photo: ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano

Photo: ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano

Reporting from the Plenary hall on 27 October

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