Thematic Working Groups and Discussion with Noel De Luna (Chair of CFS)

The final day of the CSO Consultation focussed on thematic working groups:

• Land
• Protracted Crisis
• General Strategic Framework/Mapping
• Vulnerability

Delegates and observers met in these groups, discussed key concerns and then planned their interventions and strategies for the 36th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). I will not share the results of these discussions until after the interventions are made.

After the work sessions, each thematic group made a presentation to the whole meeting. After this, Noel de Luna, Chair of the CFS came to speak with the meeting and to take questions. I was running around for some of the discussion but I have done my best to summarize below.

De Luna was asked where he wanted the CFS to be in a year. He spke of the aspiration of having an evaluation in place to see what has been learned and what can be done better. He mentioned that they have started from scratch and so the dynamics can be intense, intensive and often disorderly.

After one year, de Luna stated that they will not have forgotten that the vision of the CFS is to try to be the foremost intergovernmental and international platform for the discussion of food security and nutrition. He then stated that he perceives the CFS as a platform: a discussion forum on food security and nutrition issues.

He was clear that the CFS should also be seen as a platform for the exchange of knowledge and experiences amongst all the global players. I hope to find some time to provide my analysis of this in a post in the near future.

The CFS tried to gather all the actors and access what is currently being done and what is being brought to the table (resources, efforts, etc). These actors, while diverse, he reiterated, all share the same end goal of eliminating food insecurity and hunger.

De Luna told us that for the past year he has tried to bring a face to the CFS at a global level (G8, MDG, regional conferences) and that there is still work to do to bridge the CFS to other stakeholders. De Luna evoked the analogy of the wheel with the CFS as the hub and actors, existing frameworks and etcetera are the spokes.

He stated that we do not want a CFS that is a super-body (meaning that the CFS has a large secretariat). The problem with bureaucracy is the bigger it gets, the less it gets done. How is de Luna to evaluate the work of the Advisory group? He felt, speaking frankly, that the Advisory Group to the CFS was underutilized.

They could have done a better job consulting them but the problem is that the rules were so vague and the processes could not be predicted in due time so you have an advisory group composed of a diversity of people it is difficult to coordinate meetings and difficult to send out communications in all languages in advance for reaction.

Over all, he is happy but is cognisant that things can be improved. As they move into the second year, things will be a bit clearer. In the past year, the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) was not yet operational. Now that they are organized, the CFA can turn to them.

This is a brief summary as I am currently sitting in the Opening Session of the 36th Session of the CFS listening to Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, Father of the Green Revolution and Chair of the CFS’ High Level Panel of Experts.

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