CFS Positions on new principles for responsible agricultural investment

An update from
The Committee on World Food Security has been  busy busy busy! They have been working on the Terms of Reference (ToR) for a consultation process on developing “principles” for responsible agricultural investment.
The Civil Society Mechanism has been very active in this respect. At the last consultation on the TORs, the objective of the meeting (second out of three) was to achieve broad consensus on different elements of the first draft of the ToR. The document under discussion was the “synthesis” document (see below), which was a compilation of opinions expressed by a variety of stakeholders during the first workshop held on July 2nd.
Some of the main points expressed by Civil Society, who had a chance to meet one day prior to further develop key positions were:

  • To support investments by and for small-scale food producers.
  • Bring to the top of the list the point, “to assist governments prepare legal and administrative frameworks for investment”

Intended recipients

  • Emphasis on small-scale food producers (not limited to farmers)

Type of Instrument

  • Move beyond Principles to Guidelines, to ensure sufficient frameworks for mobilising domestic and public investments to achieve food security in a sustainable way. Guidelines will help provide a steer for governments on how to handle internal and foreign investment in the national context.
  • Should be a binding and normative document


  • Primary focus on local food systems with investments by and for small-scale food producers. (Reference made to outcome of CFS 37th Session Roundtable on Agricultural Investments).
  • How can state/public investment support and protect this type of investment
  • Integration of human rights standards.


  • For purposes of cost-effectiveness and to ensure a thorough and meaningful consultative process, CSOs proposed a 2-year process. The bi-annual consultation process should look as follows:
    • October 2012 – October 2013: OEWG should be involved in developing guiding principles (help also with electronic consultations) to bring to 40th Session of the CFS in October 2013 as a Draft.
    • October 2013 – October 2014: Catalyze on FAO Regional Conferences and IFAD Farmers Forum for further, more in-depth consutlations, the results of which will be guidelnies (including principles) to be presented to the 41st Session of the CFS.

For a more in-depth look at the key CSO messages, see the document below.
Contentious Issues:

  • Principles vs. Guidelines
  • 1 vs. 2  year Consulation Process
  • Voluntary vs. Binding
  • Prioritization of Small-Scale Food Producers
  • Value Chains vs. Local Food Systems
  • Terms such as, ‘responsible’, ‘predictable investment’ and ‘smallholder sensitive investment’ (for which civil society was in favour of deleting all).

Key CSO Messages for rai Meeting_25 July (102,23 Kb),
CFS Synthesis of rai Workshop_2 July (38,86 Kb),

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