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By Nadia Lambek
This entry is part of a special series of blog posts about the UN’s Committee on World Food Security (CFS): The Future of the CFS? Collectively reflecting on the directions of UN’s most inclusive body. Read more about this project here. This week we inaugurate the thematic cluster CFS, a rights-oriented body? Nadia Lambek’s provocative entry discusses universality - a key principle of international human-rights body and other global processes, such as 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The North-South divide found at CFS representation carriers important implications for the effectiveness and legitimacy of the Committee, she argues. This is not an exclusive project. If you would like to participate, please let us know: foodsecuresolutions@gmail.com
At the opening session of the 43rd CFS, in a room crowded with representatives of ministries of agriculture, food and livestock, the United States representative to the CFS made her introduction.  The head of the US delegate was not from the US Department of Agriculture or from the Food and Drug Administration. She was the Director of the Peace Corps – a volunteer program run by the United States government, which sends volunteers (mostly recent university graduates) to the Global South to live and work in communities.   [caption id="attachment_2752" align="aligncenter" width="512"]512px-unemployed_men_queued_outside_a_depression_soup_kitchen_opened_in_chicago_by_al_capone_02-1931_-_nara_-_541927-2 Hunger is not a new problem in the USA[/caption]

By Unknown or not provided (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This made a stark impression on me. Why was the head of the US delegation from the Peace Corps?  In fact, not one of the US’s 23 person official delegation to the CFS had a mandate concerning domestic issues within the US. Certainly the US is no stranger to food insecurity within its own borders. According to the US Department of Agriculture, 12.7 percent of American households were food insecure at some point during 2015. Yet it didn’t bring any delegate knowledgeable about domestic food insecurity or with any mandate to address it. The US is not alone in this respect.  Looking at the official delegate list of people attending the CFS, one thing is clear: countries in the Global South send representatives from their ministries of agriculture, fisheries, livestock or food, while countries from the Global North tend to send representatives from foreign affairs or international development agencies. This divide tells us a lot about how countries view food security, the role of the CFS and their human rights obligation – but it also has a lot of implications for the CFS and its effectiveness, particularly as a body with a human rights mandate.  I highlight some of these concerns below:
By Jessica Duncan and Matheus Zanella
This entry is part of a special series of blog posts about the UN’s Committee on World Food Security (CFS): The Future of the CFS? Collectively reflecting on the directions of UN’s most inclusive body.   Every week, until early 2017, a group of academics and practitioners will be sharing their reflections on the critical directions and emerging issues at stake in this innovative intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder forum. Contributors include Matheus Zanella, Jessica Duncan, Josh Brem-Wilson, Nora McKeon, Nadia Lambek, Carolin Anthes, Pierre-Marie Audrey, Katie Whiddon, Thomas Patriota, Alison Blay-Palmer, Allison Marie Loconto, Martin Herren, and others. This is not an exclusive project. If you would like to participate, please let us know: foodsecuresolutions@gmail.com
stakeholder Last year we wrote a reflection about the UN’s Committee on World Food Security (CFS) wherein we proclaimed that the CFS was at crossroads. That was right after CFS’s annual plenary in October - its 42nd Plenary. At that time we identified a number of potential challenges that this Committee was facing to keep the spirit of its 2009 Reform alive. In particular, we pointed out three main issues. First, that the initial ambition brought by the reform of the Committee and the engagement of non-state actors seemed to be fading away. Second, that we observed a lack of coherence amongst member states and participants regarding the future directions of the CFS. And third, that the multi-stakeholder format of the reformed CFS was being put into question, notably by not paying sufficiently attention to power dynamics and a failure to frame negotiations with a rights-based approach. Last week the CFS met for its 43rd Plenary. By the end of the week we felt that many of our concerns and predictions had been re-enforced or confirmed. We also felt that it would be interesting to re-engage in this debate. This time we also thought that it would be valuable to include more people in a thinking and sharing exercise. Indeed, after a week of intense interactions with academics, food producers, civil society actors, country delegates and private sector actors, we realised just how many people are working on questions like these! Besides, many issues such as those we raised above continue to need attention, while others were not addressed or even have just recently emerged. Thus, over the next few weeks, researchers will be sharing their reflections, insights, analysis, concerns and hopes for the CFS.  Our hope is to raise awareness of key issues, strengthen collaboration, and facilitate a different way, hopefully a more accessible way, of communicating our ideas.
This blogpost was written by Miguel Ruiz Marchini, MSc student in Organic Agriculture at Wageningen University and #CFS43 Social Reporter. The original blog post can be found here. -- city20crops Urbanization has been a growing and tangible trend in our societies since the industrial revolution. With climate change and increasing migration patterns, the risks and stakes are higher. The attention on food security has been focused, naturally, on rural production. This needs to evolve. Efforts are underway to transform urban landscapes into resilient systems that foster and support food production, and civic inclusion. The side event “Urban food policies and their role in sustainable food systems” exposed ‘la crème de la crème’ of forward-looking policy making for urban food security. It was presented by IPES-Food, UNESCO Chair on World Food Systems, Ivory Coast, FAO, and IUFN as part of the 2016 Commission on World Food Security (CFS) Plenary.

The IISD report on the 43rd Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is now available (Download here) The report covers: An Introduction to CFS Opening Session: Sustainable Food Systems, Nutrition and...

The first volume of Advances in Food Security and Sustainability has been released. I have contributed a chapter on the post-political condition and global food security governance.

advance-in-food-securityDescription

Advances in Food Security and Sustainability takes a scientific look at the challenges, constraints, and solutions necessary to maintain a healthy and accessible food supply in different communities around the world. The series addresses a wide range of issues related to the principles and practices of food sustainability and security, exploring challenges related to protecting environmental resources while meeting human nutritional requirements.

 Key Features

  • Contains expertise from leading contributions on the topics discussed
  • Covers a vast array of subjects relating to food security and sustainability

Table of Contents