Food and nutrition security for all: An update from the Committee on World Food Security

Smallholder farmers in  Navrongo district, Ghana.
©IFAD/Fabiana Formica
NEW YORK, USA – The United Nations Committee on World Food Security, or CFS, held a briefing at UN headquarters yesterday for the Economic and Social Council, which has broad responsibility for specialized UN agencies and commissions addressing economic, social and environmental challenges. Among other remarks, the briefing featured a keynote address by the Chair of CFS, Dr. Yaya Olaniran. He said the committee, founded in 1974 as a policy forum on food and nutrition security, was working to increase its transparency, inclusiveness and effectiveness.

“This generation has the capacity to end hunger and extreme poverty,” Dr. Olaniran asserted. “There is increasing political will. What is needed now is action.”

Zak Bleicher of IFAD’s North American Liaison Office was one of several other speakers at the event. Bleicher delivered a statement on behalf of the three Rome-based UN agencies – the Food and Agriculture Organization, IFAD and the World Food Programme – which provide technical support and expertise to CFS as members of its Advisory Group. The statement supported a major purpose of the briefing: to build bridges between the food and agriculture hub in Rome and counterparts at the UN in New York. Excerpts follow.

Today, 870 million people are not getting enough food to meet their most basic dietary needs. Almost 1 billion persons are poor and food insecure, and most of them live in rural areas. Up to 2 billion people suffer from various forms of malnutrition. Meanwhile, to meet the demand of a global population that is expected to reach 9.1 billion by 2050, food production in developing countries will need to double in the same timeframe.

Addressing the multi-dimensional nature of this challenge in a sustainable manner requires an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach, focused on identifying successful practices, building partnerships and developing the right policy approaches in a spirit of country ownership but also of international coordination. The ‘big tent’ of the CFS is the most inclusive platform to gather a broad range of inputs, recognize the legitimate voice of different stakeholders, and build support and opportunities for collaboration in the implementation of decisions by Member States….

The CFS is the only global forum that brings together the full range of stakeholders in food security – from national governments to farmers’ organizations, civil society, the private sector, international financial institutions, technical agencies and – of course – the Rome-based United Nations agencies.

The need for a forum for policy coordination has never been clearer. We are confident that the CFS will step up to this challenge. We are working in concert as never before, supported by a world-class panel of experts … dedicated to the eradication of hunger and malnutrition. We hope that this work can also prove to be a valuable contribution to the discussions around a post-2015 development agenda and the articulation of sustainable development goals.