Policy working groups are thematic spaces established to articulate CSM common positions towards CFS thematic workstreams and policy processes. They foster dialogue, exchange of knowledge, experiences, perspectives and practices among all CSM constituencies and sub-regions.
Policy working groups aim to facilitate the convergence of common positions and policy priorities of social movements, Indigenous Peoples and civil society organizations participating, through the CSM, in the CFS normative and policy convergence processes.
Policy working groups discussions and political positioning are shaped by the struggles and collective demands coming from the realities on the ground towards the global food governance space of CFS. Policy working groups are a space of solidarity, policy elaboration and strategic thinking that enable the intersectionality of the struggles towards the achievement of the Right to Food and Food Sovereignty.
Facilitation is the key principle informing and guiding the work of the policy working groups. It ensures that policy working groups are, as much as possible, democratic, transparent, inclusive and participatory spaces, where power asymmetries and relations are to be de-constructed, ensuring all voices are heard, particularly those of the most marginalized and affected. Facilitation helps to value diversity and plurality through mutual respect and consensus, without shying away from possible divergent views.
As all CSM bodies, Policy Working Groups are safe spaces, free from sexist, discriminatory or racist dynamics and behaviors. A bi-directional, inclusive and participatory communication flow is essential for CSM policy working groups’ effectiveness and functioning. Active engagement of all participants is crucial.
Participation, structure, tools and timeline
Policy Working Groups are open to all CSM participating organizations. Their creation is announced through the CSM Update and mailing lists. They are usually aligned with the CFS timeline established for each thematic policy process, can be continued after its conclusion, if requested, and can be reactivated for monitoring purposes.
First, each working group builds its own vision and maps its own expectations of the process. Subsequently, it builds collectively its policy priorities and demands towards CFS normative processes. These priorities and demands are then voiced by members of the working group in different spaces and meetings of the CFS such as the Open-Ended Working Group meetings, Advisory Group and Bureau meetings, High-level events, regional consultations and experts’ meetings. Towards the end of the process, the working group engages in policy negotiations, with other CFS members and participants. The process ends with the CFS Plenary Sessions when the negotiated policy document is endorsed by the Plenary.
Each Working Group appoints its spokesperson(s), who are tasked to convey and voice the collectively-agreed common policy positions.
Each CSM policy working group has one or more coordinators. The Policy Working Groups coordination role is reserved to CSM Coordination Committee members. The coordination of a policy working group is supported by a facilitating team. The selection of the coordinator(s) and facilitator(s) should be proposed by the members of the working group and endorsed by the CSM Coordination Committee.
CSM policy working groups carry out their work in English, Spanish and French. Tools used for communications are email, list-servs, virtual calls and the CSM website. When possible, in-presence meetings are also convened.
Join the CSM working groups and represent your community’s political demands! Advocate for food sovereignty, the right to food and community-controlled, biodiversity-based food systems at the global level of policy governance!