by Priya Bapat, Humanitas Global
October is a busy month for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the global food security community. Each year, during this month, FAO releases its updated food security statistics, prepares for World Food Day (October 16), and hosts the annual Committee on World Food Security (CFS). This year's CFS, the 40th session thus far, is taking place this week at the FAO headquarters in Rome.
The CFS provides an opportunity for global food security leaders from multiple sectors, including international organizations, civil society organizations, research institutions, financial institutions, and the private sector, to review and discuss policies on global food security.
In an article published this week, Devex highlights six main issues that will be discussed during this CFS:
- Agricultural investment: A constant question on the path to feeding the world by 2050, the CFS will discuss recommendations on how to maximize the impact of investments in global food security.
- Biofuels: The search for alternative energy became a big problem for food security as available important staples such as corn went toward fuel instead of the food supply.
- Nutrition: Nutrition is increasingly becoming recognized as a critical dimension of global food security as terms like 'nutrition-sensitive agriculture' become more mainstream.
- Protracted crises: The CFS has a working group on this issue to discuss how the global community can address food security issues in humanitarian and emergency contexts.
- Post-2015 agenda: As the MDG deadline grows closer, there are a number of ongoing conversations about how hunger and nutrition fit into the development of the post-2015 goals.
- Monitoring the CFS: Accountability and follow-through are always important issues at meetings such as these. How can there be assurances that the recommendations and agreements will be carried out?
An additional point highlighted in the Devex article is the issue of land grab - productive farmland being acquired (legally and extra-legally) for the purposes of producing high-value crops, such as palm oil and biofuels.
For more information on the CFS, you can watch the above Q&A video with CFS Secretary Kostas Stamoulis or visit the links below:
- CFS Information Note with background on the history, purpose, and structure of the CFS
- FAO's CFS website with information on the agenda of this year's CFS and the proceedings from previous years
- CFS civil society mechanism portal with details on Working Groups and the main topics of discussion at this year's committee meeting and previous meetings
- Devex's overview of the 6 things to watch out for during this year's CFS
To follow along with the latest from the conference, watch the livestream on the FAO website and follow the conversation on Twitter using #CFS40.