UN-backed forum spotlights civil society's role in fighting hunger, developing food policy

Almost one-third of food produced for human consumption – approximately 1.3 billion tonnes per year – is either lost or wasted globally. Photo: FAO/Giulio Napolitano

11 October 2014 – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today kicked-off a two-day meeting focusing on civil society's role in giving a voice to the hungry and how best to improve a multi-stakeholder approach to food security and nutrition policy development at national, regional and global levels.

“Reaching consensus is important because it will make us move faster and because we need results in the short term,” said Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General, in his welcoming remarks to participants.

According to a statement released by the FAO, over 200 representatives of non-governmental organizations will attend the annual forum of the International Civil Society Mechanism (CSM), which promotes non-state actor participation in policy making.

This year participants will also assess the last five years of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) since its reform in 2009 and work to find consensus on key issues to be discussed in next week's plenary meeting of the Committee.

At today's meeting, Da Silva highlighted how civil society has contributed to the development of successful CFS outcomes, such as the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT) - an unprecedented international agreement.

“You were part of the 4,000 people involved in the consultation process that enabled the FAO Committee on Fisheries to approve the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries,” FAO Director-General told the representatives.

“You have helped introducing important ideas such as Food Sovereignty or Agro-Ecology in the international agenda,” he added.

Today's meeting marks the third year in which the Civil Society Mechanism holds its annual forum at FAO headquarters. The aim of this weekend's discussions is to bring a clear and unified voice of civil society to the week-long CFS.

Topics of discussion for this year's meeting of the Civil Society Mechanism include action on protracted crisis, food losses and waste, fisheries and aquaculture, review of the 10 Years of the adoption of the Right to Food Guidelines, discussions on the Post-2015 Framework and progress of the International Year of Family Farming.

The CFS meets annually to take stock of progress on reducing food insecurity in the world, and to map out key policy objectives over the course of the year. The CFS reports to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).


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