Committee on World Food Security
The rise in food prices in 2007 through to 2008, followed by the financial crisis in 2009, heightened awareness of food insecurity and propelled political momentum to address a globalised food system that currently leaves an estimated one billion people hungry. Yet, in an increasingly interconnected world, who has the power to decide the global regulations that shape our food systems? Who decides the policies that address food insecurity, how and on what terms?
When it comes to the global governance of food security a battle for leadership is being waged and two major contenders have emerged
On the one hand, you have the UN-based Renewed Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and on the other you have the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAPFS). The latter manages a fund through the World Bank and has support from Canada, Spain, South Korea, the USA and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The former are fighting to keep leadership in the UN system, which, they argue, remains the most democratic and transparent forum for the development of global food security policy (one country gets one vote). In this scenario, leadership continues to be coordinated in the FAO-based Committee for World Food Security (CFS).
The CFS, established as a result of the food crisis of the 1970s upon recommendation from the 1974 World Food Conference, serves as a forum in the United Nations System for review and follow-up of policies concerning world food security, including food production and physical and economic access to food. In November 2009, the FAO undertook reforms to the CFS with the goal of focussing the Committee’s vision and role in the coordination of efforts to ensure universal food security.
The 2009 CFS reform document states: “Civil society organizations/NGOs and their networks are working to autonomously establish a global mechanism for food security and nutrition which will function as a facilitating body for CSO/NGOs consultation and participation in the CFS.”
This work is happening right now. More information about this process, as well as opportunities to participate in the discussions, can be found here: Civil Society for the Committee on World Food Security
Other related links:
Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (Framework Document)
Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (Q&A, from World Bank)