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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:
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.


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

  Wageningen University student, Jesse Opdam, has written a post about the importance of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) to address emerging issues. --- microphone-and-handSometimes the words we leave unspoken are the most important ones, especially during policy negotiations where the political stakes are high. A lot of issues regarding food and nutrition have been addressed this week. It is simply impossible to address every single issue regarding food security within one week. But what about sudden important (urgent) issues? Should the CFS not address them? This question was answered by Chair H.E. Amira Gornass with the following words: “I think CFS should be open to emerging issues”. And in my opinion, she is completely right. If the CFS does not address urgent issues on time, or before other food security platforms do, the CFS will lose its relevance.
This post was written by Josh Geuze, an MSc student in International Development at Wageningen University. --- blog-1-afbeeldingForget all the empty promises, the real problems that need to be addressed are being carefully kept off the table by the CFS. To many people it will not come as a surprise to hear that capacity exists to create our own DNA codes. Current technologies offer us the opportunity to take out the DNA code of a cell and insert a completely new one. By using computer programs, it is possible to design a new DNA code. This code is printed and implemented in an emptied cell. This process is called synthetic biology. The range of opportunities this creates is endless. It is even possible to synthetically print out from scratch all the DNA of a living organism. Craig Venter, an American biotechnologist, succeeded in creating a microbe completely consisting of machine-created DNA. He called this “the first self-replicating species on the planet whose parent is a computer”. To some this might sound alarming, others will see the potential. The question is, why should we bother?

Myriam Welvaert, a Wageningen University student who is participating in the CFS as a social media reporter, has written a new blog post on the New Nordic diet.Here is what she...