CSO: Civil Society Organizations
CFS: Committee on World Food Security
CSM: Civil Society Mechanism
Civil society organizations from around the world (and observers like me) dedicated to dialogue around, and transparency in, global food governance, are preparing to meet in Rome in advance of the 36th session of the UN Committee for World Food Security (CFS).
The CFS was renewed last November (2009) at it’s 35th session and this year is the first sitting of the reformed body.
The renewed CFS gives civil society official participant status. However, to coordinate the participation of civil society, CSOs (civil society organizations) were tasked with establishing a mechanism for participation.
People have been working very hard to draft a mechanism, solicit and review feedback and incorporate the feedback into a workable framework for civil society engagement with the CFS.
To read the Proposal for an International Food Security and Nutrition Civil Society Mechanism for relations with the CFS, click here.
Note that many documents related to this are available in the Document Library of the Civil Society for the Committee on World Food Security site
At the Civil Society Consultation Meeting to the CFS, participants will be reviewing the Civil Society Mechanism among other things including considerations of the mechanism by constinuency and region, reviewing implications for the CFS, considering the Global Agriculture Food Security Program (GAFSP) being forwarded by G8 countries and the World Bank.
I attended the CSO parallel forum last year and was inspired and motivated by the energy, experience, commitment and knowledge that the participants had and the commitment that was displayed towards supporting the CFS in becoming THE policy forum for global food security.
As a researcher, I am very much interested in how such a diverse group of actors can come together and create a single, or unified perspective. I am interested in how different understandings of food, food security, food sovereignty, etc., influence and mediate relationships and strategies within the CSM. While CSOs themselves are clear that the intention is to preserve unity and not to flatten out diversity, it will be interesting to consider how this actually plays out.
It is important to also draw attention to the fact that the mechanism seeks to prioritise the voices of those most affected by hunger and marginalisation as they represent the largest majority of the hungry people and also produce the largest proportion of the world’s food.