Webinar | Policy Guidance regarding Impacts of COVID-19 on Food Security and Nutrition

COVID-19 is a permanent threat to communities around the world and a priorityconcern of governments and international agencies. It has disproportionatelyaffected the most vulnerable and has increased inequalities, within and betweencountries, with severe impacts on the right to food and other indivisible humanrights, as the recently-released SOFI 2021 report tragically confirms.

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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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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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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!

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Global grassroots organisations demand radical transformation of food systems to tackle the impacts of COVID-19

The COVID-19 food crisis is closely linked to economic, social, gender and environmental injustices of free-market neoliberalism, says a report launched today by the largest international space of grassroots organizations and Indigenous Peoples working to eradicate food insecurity and malnutrition. The crisis will not be fixed by emergency measures or stimulus packages that perpetuate the same model, but only by a human rights-compliant radical transformation of food systems. Between 83 and 180 million more people could be pushed into hunger because of the pandemic, raising the overall number of food insecure people to over 2 billion. Bold actions are required to reverse this trend. Promoting food as a commodity is no longer an option, given the catastrophic impact of industrial agriculture and livestock on people and ecosystems. Food sovereignty is the only solution to this crisis. It guarantees the right to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and the right of people to define their own food and agriculture systems. The report shows that the most effective initiatives to address the COVID-19 food crises have come from community efforts – to prevent contagion, protect workers (especially migrants), ensure food and economic security, halt evictions and land grabbing. Despite official recognition that 70 – 80% of the world is fed by small-scale food producers and local food systems, most COVID-19 policies, financial support and economic stimulus packages continue to favour the corporate agro-industrial complex and global supply chains. Small-scale food producers, workers, Indigenous Peoples, the urban food insecure and landless peoples, particularly women, are among the worst affected by the pandemic. Their health, livelihoods, safety and secure access to resources are least protected from against poverty, discrimination and violence. In addition, the report exposes how ecosystem destruction caused by industrial food chains is closely linked to the rise of pathogens such as COVID-19. Rather than promoting an intensive, export-oriented agriculture that perpetuates inequality, human rights abuses and the climate crisis, the report urges States to encourage agroecology, which offers healthy and nutritious food, while also preserving the environment. The COVID-19 pandemic presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to accelerate the agroecological transition and reverse decades of neoliberal policies that have exacerbated inequalities and led to official neglect of the public realm integral to building robust health and welfare, and sustainable food systems. In addition, it is high time for development priorities to be redefined in accordance with gender justice and the demands of

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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

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The new Report of the CSM Women Working Group is out!

Gender, COVID-19 and Food Systems: impacts, community responses and feminist policy demands DOWNLOAD THE REPORT HERE! This publication is a report of the CSM Women’s Working Group. It was authored by Jessica Duncan and Priscilla Claeys in consultation with the Women’s Working Group.  “We won’t go back to normality, because normality was the problem.” With this sentence projected on the facade of a building in Santiago of Chile in March 2020, grassroots and feminist movements clearly articulated their perspective on the COVID-19 crisis. This is a profound and unprecedented global crisis that is exacerbating and leveraging pre-existent systemic forms of patriarchal inequalities, oppressions, racism, colonialism, violence and discrimination that cannot be tolerated. With this sentence capturing the public space and visibility of a building, feminist movements also proclaimed that they would not surrender to isolation and the silencing of their voices, struggles and demands during this pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has uncovered the structural vulnerabilities and weaknesses of our food systems. Neoliberalism, global capitalism and feudalism[i] have been eroding for decades our social protection and welfare systems, fostering the structural colonial deprivation and grabbing of natural resources of the global south, violating human rights, harming ecosystems and biodiversity and strengthening the sexual division of labor, leaving women to face alone the burden of productive and social reproductive work. From a feminist perspective, the COVID-19 crisis is indeed a global care crisis, where states and governments have failed to prioritize people’s interests, while (transnational) corporations are increasingly capturing and dismantling the public commons to impose their own private interest. This pattern is also well reflected in the current production and consumption food systems. It has been suggested that the COVID-19 pandemic may add between 83 and 132 million people to the total number of undernourished in the world in 2020 depending on the economic growth scenario.[ii] Women are indeed positioned, due to their gender-assigned roles, to be disproportionately impacted, as they are literally on the front line of the crisis.Women and girls are the majority of food producers and providers for their households, they are the majority of nurses, care and social workers, food and agricultural workers and teachers. Yet, they have been consistently overlooked and invisible in research and responses to the pandemic. Gender inequality and discrimination is shaping, and will continue to shape, the COVID-19 pandemic in tangible and significant ways. The collective spirit and emotional intensity generated during

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Youth Demands for a Radical Transformation of our Food Systems

Protecting our rights and enabling our agency for the present and future of our health, societies, cultures, knowledges and ecosystems DOWNLOAD THE POLICY DECLARATION HERE CSM Youth Working Group October 2020  Covid-19 and the responses of governments are having devastating impacts on young people and our communities around the globe. We are experiencing the combined impacts of an acute health crisis, a current and looming food crisis, and a climate crisis – all illustrative of wider systems crises. Covid-19 has shown that neoliberal food, economic, governance and development/production systems are not working. Not only are they part of the problem – creating the underlying hunger, poverty, environmental destruction and social exclusion that responses to Covid-19 have exacerbated – but they are unable to offer solutions to these unfolding crises. In this time of multiple crises, Youth are facing several challenges. As markets fail, schools close, and jobs disappear, we see opportunities and our futures crumble away. However, we are not standing idly by. We, as a diverse community of Youth from around the globe, are active in developing solutions to the challenges facing our communities: we are organizing ourselves to continue providing food for our communities and caring for the elderly as well as our children; we are shortening the distance from producer to consumer; we are defending school feeding programs and local markets; we are rebuilding rural economies and territories, ensuring youth can stay and return in the countryside; we are caring for and healing the earth by growing nourishing food through agroecology; we are standing up to domestic violence against women and girls as well as racism, homophobia, xenophobia and the patriarchy; and, we are defending workers’ and migrants’ rights as well as the rights of rural people. We are also imagining new ways to organize the world: envisioning healthy, sustainable and dignified food systems, and taking steps towards achieving them. In our own constituencies and territories, and now here at the CFS, we are elaborating public policy demands to ensure that radical transformations occur NOW, before it is too late. Young people are often presented as beacons of hope for the future. The expectation is on us to imagine and enact solutions to the world’s problems that we have inherited. We do have solutions, but to bring them forward, we need a seat at the table. Similarly, young people are often depicted as a monolith – with

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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

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