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

Read more

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.

Read more

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

Read more

CSM Side event, today 15 October 2020!

The Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSM)  for relations with the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS)  invites you to join  Today, 15 of October 2020, at 4.30 pm CET  its CFS partners event   “COVID-19 impacts: a transgenerational and women’s viewpoint on food systems transformation” CSM Youth and Women constituencies from rural and urban contexts, will dialogue with the CFS Chair, Thanawat Tiensin,  the DG for Sustainable Development Policies of the Ministry for Foreign Affair of Spain, Maria Abad Zapatero and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Michael Fakhri, on the current transgenerational challenges linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and the policy demands coming from the ground.    English, French and Spanish interpretation will be available!    TO ATTEND REGISTER HERE   Read the Summary of the event here!

Read more

CSM Global Synthesis Report on Covid-19 is out!

Voices from the ground: From COVID-19 to radical transformation of our food systems DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT HERE! Download the Short Policy Report here This report presents the experiences and concerns of millions of small-scale food producers, workers, consumers, women and youth represented in the organizations that participate in the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples Mechanism (CSM)1. As the COVID-19 pandemic swung from country to country in its deadly course this year, the members of the CSM Coordination Committee gathered virtually to discuss how it was affecting their communities and regions. From these discussions emerged the conviction that addressing the pandemic and its implications should be at the center of discourse and action not only in the CSM, but in the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) as a whole. It would be inconceivable for the CFS to fail to assume its responsibility in the face of the worst food-affecting phenomenon to strike humanity since the 2007-2008 crisis that sparked its reform. The World Food Programme (WFP) warns that COVID-19 could almost double the number of people suffering from acute hunger, pushing it to more than a quarter of a billion by the end of 2020.2 Accordingly, over the past months the CSM has advocated that the CFS exercise all of its agreed functions in addressing COVID-19, including that of policy convergence. The cogency of this position has become increasingly apparent as the weeks have passed, bringing evidence that COVID-19 is not a passing episode, but a manifestation and harbinger of deeply-rooted challenges, that globalized food supply systems are subject to multiple fragilities and generate deep and often fatal inequalities, and that a coordinated and coherent global response adhering to agreed principles and guidelines has never been more indispensible. The present report is intended as a contribution to meeting this challenge. The methodology adopted for its preparation has been inclusive and participatory. All CSM Coordination Committee members were asked to reach out to the constituencies and regions they facilitate, responding to three questions: 1) What impacts is COVID-19 having on food systems, food security and the right to food? 2) How are communities, solidarity movements, constituencies reacting to these impacts? 3) What public policy proposals are emerging for building more equitable and resilient food systems? The Women’s and Youth Working Groups of the CSM have made dedicated contributions from the viewpoints of their constituencies elaborating, respectively, a women’s autonomous report and a youth declaration. The hundreds of inputs received have been synthesized into the present report and live links provided to longer documents. Video recordings have been inserted where possible in order to provide readers with the possibility of obtaining more detail and direct testimony. The diversity of style of the sections testifies to the fact that they have been

Read more

CSM key messages on Covid-19 and the policy response to avert the global food crisis

CSM Messages for Virtual Event and the CFS Bureau and Advisory Group Extraordinary Meeting on Covid19, Food Security and Nutrition Responses of Advisory Group Members to Avert a new Global Food Crisis, 13 May 2020 Download the contributions here Impacts: 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 is true for Indigenous Peoples in North America and for migrant workers in India and Europe. It is true for domestic workers in Guatemala, milk producers in Pakistan and workers in meat plants in the US, most of whom are women. It is true for the people employed in the informal sectors in Nairobi, Sao Paolo or Manila, who live from what they earn on a daily basis. They face hunger and malnutrition today and don’t know what they will put on the plates of their families tomorrow. If they need to choose between food and health, they go for food and risk their health. Often, they are also exposed to police brutality, corruption and criminalization. If Covid-19 has taught the world anything it is that food and health go together and are indivisible human rights. Macroeconomic figures assessing current global food availability point to a potential future food crisis. These global appraisals are important but fall short in diagnosing the multifaceted situation that is already there: the new food crisis that accompanies Covid-19 is a dramatic reality now for millions of people around the world living under lockdowns, who were already at high risk before and are now losing their employment and income without social protection. This crisis aggravates the already alarming situation of subsequent years of increasing hunger and malnutrition, biodiversity losses, climate change. The Agenda 2030 and SDGs were heading for failure already before COVID-19. The more the virus advances in the Global South, the worse this reality becomes. The situation is even more dramatic for territories and countries affected

Read more

CSM Webinar: Learning about the COVID-19 crisis in the CFS

The Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSM) for relations with the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) has the pleasure to invite you to the webinar ‘Learning about the COVID-19 crisis in the Committee on World Food Security’ Wednesday 16 April 15.00 – 17.00 (CET) DOWNLOAD THE FLYER You can now see the recorded webinar here! Panelists: Máximo Torero – Assistant DG, Economic and Social Development, FAO Francesco Branca – Director Nutrition and Development,WHO Olivia Yambi – Co-Chair IPES-Food G.V. Ramanjaneyulu – Executive Director, Center for Sustainable Agriculture  Sophia Murphy – Senior Specialist, Agriculture, Trade,  Investment, IISD Mamadou Goita – Executive Director, IRPAD  Co-facilitators: Nettie Wiebe and Ruchi Tripathi (CSM) ———————————– EN/ES/FR Interpretation will be provided. If you are planning to attend through ES/FR interpretation please write to [email protected]   ABSTRACT It is increasingly evident that the tremendous impacts of the COVID19 pandemic on human health will be accompanied by a food crisis of global dimensions in which food import-dependent countries and vulnerable sectors of the population will be the hardest hit. CFS members and participants are already engaged in monitoring and assessing the impacts of COVID19 and tracking responses at all levels. The CFS can count on its own High-Level Panel of Experts and, importantly, on the data collection and knowledge generating activities of the RBAs, FAO in particular. At the same time, through the multiple constituencies that comprise it, the CFS has unprecedented access to the evidence and proposals of the most vulnerable, who are also responsible for the bulk of food production in the world. Putting these insights and perceptions together can help us to learn lessons regarding what makes food systems resilient and what normative process needs to be engaged to work towards inclusive, equitable and sustainable food systems. We invite you to a webinar on Impact of Covid-19 on food systems and policy responses to it. The panel comprises of speakers from international organizations and the academic and research world, from different regions. The format will be one of facilitated dialogue, inviting active engagement by CFS Members and participants. The Committee on World Food Security key in facilitating a coordinated global policy response around covid-19 and food crisis The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) was reformed in 2009 in response to a previous food crisis, making it the foremost inclusive international and intergovernmental platform working towards ensuring food security, nutrition and the right

Read more

CSM Preliminary messages 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 Download the statement here Points on the impact of the Corona crisis on food security and nutrition: Thank you to the CFS Chair and Secretariat for organizing this call; also, many thanks to the HLPE for the note and recommendations;CSM had consultations in the past few days and we have several key points that are building on the recommendations drafted by the HLPE; The Corona crisis shows the importance of Health as a public good and the outstanding relevance of a Public sector and public policies that can effectively ensure the right to health in general and especially in times of emergency. Public health systems must become a priority for all countries also after the crisis will conclude. In these times of emergencies, most people understand the necessity and relevance of a human rights approach. Food and health are not just commodities, or for financial profits. In this crisis and in any crisis, people(s) have to come first. Food producers and health workers are now among the most important actors to address this crisis. Small-scale producers all over the world are the ones who ensure as we speak resilience of their communities and countries. They are also among the most exposed and affected by the crisis. Women carry huge part of the struggles against the crisis in the health sector, in the food systems, very often providing unpaid care, in all dimension where societies and communities resist this global crisis. The respect and protection of women’s rights must be at the center of any effective response to the crisis. Given the immense contribution to feed the people and their exposure in the front-line of the Coronavirus pandemic, public policies now must focus on supporting the smallholder family farmers, Indigenous Peoples, pastoralists, women, youth, fisherfolks, as well as consumers and the urban poor to fight back the consequences of the crisis. These public policies and actions must be very concrete for each of the affected constituencies: for Food and agricultural workers this means ensuring access to health care, access to potable water and water for sanitation, ensuring sick leave payments and the provision of emergency financing to support incomes and employment, and the stop of measures such as foreclosures, auctioning of homes, cuts of water supply and

Read more

HLPE e-consultation on the zero draft of the Report “Food security and nutrition: building a global narrative towards 2030”

HLPE e-consultation on the zero draft of the Report “Food security and nutrition: building a global narrative towards 2030” Zero draft here! Deadline 23 February 2020 Visit the webpage of  CSM Global Food Governance Working Group in charge of collecting CSM Contributions to the consultation!   During its 45th Plenary Session (October 2018), the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) requested the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) to produce a brief report (of about 20 pages, and approximately 20000 words) titled “Food security and nutrition: building a global narrative towards 2030” that takes stock of HLPE contributions “with a view toward informing future CFS actions on FSN for all in the context of the 2030 Agenda”, with analysis that takes into account the perspective of those most affected by food insecurity and malnutrition. The overall aim of the report, as articulated in the CFS multi-year program of work is to: “elaborate in a forward-looking perspective a global narrative on FSN, enlightened by previous HLPE publications and considering recent developments in the FSN sector” in order to provide strategic guidance towards the achievement of SDG2 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Click here to download the CFS request. The report will be presented at CFS 47th Plenary session in October 2020. 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 (for more details on the different steps of the process, see the Appendix in the V0 draft). 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. Contributing to 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: The V0

Read more

to top
Join the online and offline citizen mobilisations

to challenge the UN Food Systems Summit and re-claim Peoples’ sovereignty over food systems!