[26 October 2012] BRUSSELS – The Special Rapporteur welcomes the significant progress made by the 39th session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), convened in Rome on 15-20 October.
With the adoption of its Global Strategic Framework, the CFS endorsed a comprehensive vision of food and nutrition security that is based on the human right to adequate food, and encompasses social protection, living wages, agricultural workers, and the need for accountability and monitoring mechanisms. This overarching charter is an important step in equipping the CFS so that it may contribute to issues that are also debated in other fora, such as trade, climate change or intellectual property rights.
There was considerable debate on the issue of whether the CFS should initiate a discussion on the definitions of the food sovereignty concept. The Special Rapporteur regrets that a consensus could not be found and considers that the CFS should be the place for discussing all thematic issues having an impact on global food security.
With the adoption of its recommendations on social protection, the CFS sends a strong message to States and international institutions and donors. Of particular importance is the recognition of an inherent linkage between the right to food and the right to social protection, and the need for international assistance and cooperation to strengthen social protection in developing countries, a recommendation that reflects the interest from certain constituencies of the CFS for the Special Rapporteur’s proposal for a Global Fund for Social Protection.
With the adoption of a process to establish principles for responsible agricultural investments (RAI), the CFS has strengthened its commitment to participatory and transparent processes, so as to ensure that all of its constituencies can contribute to strong norms that will become references for all. It has also shown the body’s determination to put the question of land investments in a broader context, taking into account the impacts of different investment models on food security and the realization of the human right to adequate food.
The CFS has acknowledged the intrinsic linkages between climate change, food security and the realization of the human right to adequate food. It calls on States to take action now in coherence with their international obligations – which include human rights. However, it is regrettable that this has not been not been complemented by a call for a major upscaling of agroecological farming approaches, which have proven potential for building resilient agricultural systems
The Special Rapporteur strongly welcomes the decision of the Committee to include, during its 41st Session in 2014, a session on a ten year retrospective on progress made in implementing the Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security. This commitment will not only provide strong encouragement towards implementing these Guidelines in all regions, including in Africa where a number of initiatives have been launched recently in this regard. It will also provide a unique opportunity to assess the contribution the right to food can make to the effectiveness of national food security strategies grounded in accountability, participation and non-discrimination, and independent monitoring of progress.
The 39th session of the CFS demonstrates that building policy coherence on an issue as complex as the universal realization of the human right to food is a long, difficult yet achievable pathway for an intergovernmental institution working in an inclusive fashion. The Special Rapporteur commends all constituencies of the CFS for the messages and recommendations they send to all national and international actors. He expects countries and all actors to fully support the implementation of CFS recommendations, including the conclusions of the 2011 session of the CFS on food price volatility which must still be enacted. He is firmly committed to contributing to the work of the CFS to design a strong innovative monitoring and accountability mechanism for CFS recommendations.