Summary of the first day of the GSF

This relates to the consultations on the GSF that took place yesterday  (June 27) at FAO in Rome. If you have not been following the CFS or the GSF, this will probably not make a lot of sense, but if you are interested, you can learn more here.

Summary: The majority of Sections IV and V have been adopted. Key issues are being addressed by the Friends of the Chair.

The Working Group began with SECTION IV  which included:

  • A. The twin‐track approach 31–37
  • B. Increasing smallholder‐sensitive investment in agriculture 38–42
  • C. Addressing food price volatility 43–45
  • D. Addressing gender issues in food security and nutrition 46–48
  • E. Increasing agricultural productivity and production in a socially,economically and environmentally sustainable manner 49–53
  • F. Nutrition 54–56
  • G. Tenure of land, fisheries and forests 57–63

They were taken up in the following order: B, C, D, G, A, F, E , chapeau

Agreement was reached on the majority of the text. Contentious sections went to the Friends of the Chair (FOC). This is an open group, set up by the Chair and coordinated (voluntarily) by the Swiss. Originally, the Chair recommended run the FOC parallel to the Plenary, but this was rejected. The approved text will not be reviewed in the FOC, only the contentious issues.

CSO raised all their points in a clear way, and the chair already had the text which facilitated broader understanding of the text, we have not lost any points yet, since all contentious points went to the FOC. We need to find a way to address the US and Canada on the Right to Food, but we expect these challenges.

Concerns about the FOC which will still come back to the plenary. CSOs are present in the FOC but there is concern about what may go back to the plenary tomorrow. There may be the need to lobby on the bottom lines for CSOs.

Less participation by governments, in comparison to the VGs, for example. Trade will certainly be a key issue in this session as will the defence of the right to food.

FOC- I had a hard time keeping track of what was headed to the Friends of the Chair, but this is my rough summary. I will try to update as the meeting progresses.

Para 30. Chapeau : Main issue : US and Canada want to delete reference to the right to adequate food.

Sub-Section C FPV : Paragraph 43 :  The list of actions are to be reviewed. Calls to use language from the 37th Session.

Sub-Section D Gender :  In this section, the addition of nutrition was added as part of the vital contributions of women. Reference to structural violence were also added to paragraph 46.   

E. 52 Recommendations for stakes, international and regional organization. The order of the bullets was changed for coherence.  There was a proposal by Argentina to make reference to increased agricultural productivity. The bullet on adopting an ecosystem approach was sent to the FOC.

There was also controversy with respect to Para. 53’s reference to IAASTD. This paragraph has been sent to the FOC.

H. Protracted Crisis: Two paragraphs of text from CSOs were submitted for consideration by the FOC.

Moving forward into the night session, the battles for chapter 5 look like they will be around monitoring and the Right to Food (steps to implementation). We were not expecting the governments to be as defensive or closed off to the right to food.

SECTION V:  Uniting and organizing to fight hunger 67–99

No issues were sent to FOC but two issues were bracketed so people could consult capital.

The section contains:

A. Core actions at country level 69–73
B. Improving regional support to national and local actions 74–79
C. Improving global support to regional and national actions, and
response to global challenges 80–85
D. Making it happen: linking policies and programmes with resources 86–87
E. Monitoring and follow‐up 88–99

This section was a bit easier to follow after the experience of the first and because fewer people were present. By my observation, Switzerland, France, Finland, Denmark, US, Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola and China were present along with FIAN, La Via Campesina, Indigenous Caucus, International Union of Food Workers, World Alliance of Fisherfolk and an NGO working on protracted crisis and food security.

Subsection A, which was national in scope,  was adopted with minor amendments to the original text but the addition of a new bullet introduced by South Africa. There was concern that some governments would contest the reference to the Right to Adequate Food and the Seven Steps to Achieving the Right to Food, but there were no objections raised with the exception of the US who requested the deletion of a reference to the right to food with the rationale that it was redundant in that paragraph.

Subsection B which has a regional focus raised issues around the bullets. Specifically the bullet on regional policies and trade  (bullet 6) which was bracketed. To bullet 7, there was the addition of incentives “of domestic and foreign” to private investors. The change was included by South Africa to highlight the role of domestic or national-level investment. The word responsible was also added, after sustainable was suggested as a qualified for the types of investments.

Subsection C was global in scope. There was some tension around ODA commitments, since the US has not committed to the target of 0.7 % of gross national income to ODA. The main issue arose around Food Assistance. Civil society wanted to harmonize the GSF reference to the newly adopted Food Assistance Convention.  New wording was proposed but no consensus was reached and governments wanted time to consult their capitals.

Argentina was pushing to include language around increased productivity but it was argued that such statements need to be qualified as increased productivity does not lead  to increased food security.   South Africa added a qualified of “related to food security and nutrition” which was accepted. For climate change, again Argentina included new language linked to technology and capacity building. It was worked on by the group and adopted. CSOs called to delete the reference to research, arguing that it was not a global problem and did not fit in this sections, but States voted to keep it.

Subsection D on “making it happen”  saw the deletion of the reference to AGRA. References to foreign investment was changed to private investment. South Africa included a new bullet on remittance. The Secretariat noted that remittances in 2011 were almost three times more than ODA. It was a clean subsection at the end when adopted.

Subsection E on monitoring and follow up saw a statement from the CFS reform document about the accountability of the CFS. This proposal from the CSOs was adopted. CSOs also proposed a reordering to put Accountability above Monitoring. This was accepted along with references to the Right to Food. There were other minor changes to wording and the subsection adopted.

Today, we begin with section 1 then 3 then 2. Will keep you posted.

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