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A Role for the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in ICN2 Implementation
By Ann Steensland, Senior Policy Associate, Global Harvest Initiative
In November 2014, representatives from more than 170 governments gathered in Rome for the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2). They endorsed the Rome Declaration on Nutrition which outlined the a common vision for global action to end malnutrition, and the Framework for Action, a recommended set of policy and programs to reduce malnutrition and create more nutritious food systems. Integrating the findings and recommendations of ICN2 into other global initiatives on food and nutrition security – such as the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) – is currently underway.
At its annual plenary in October, the Member States of the CFS will be deciding on their contribution to the implementation of ICN2. As the world’s foremost multi-lateral body on food and nutrition security, the CFS has a unique and critical role in ICN2’s success. As the CFS Member States deliberate on their contribution to ICN2, there are three factors they should take into consideration.
- First, the CFS’s contribution to ICN2 should play to its strengths and not duplicate the efforts or expertise of other institutions. The CFS is the only UN body whose remit encompasses the entire food value chain, from production to consumption. It has more than 40 years of experience in crafting recommendations and advising governments on policies for productive, resilient food systems that conserve natural resources, adapt to climate change and consumer preferences, and improve lives by reducing poverty and malnutrition. The CFS’s policy expertise in food value chains is its “competitive advantage”, and its contribution in these areas will be critical to the success of ICN2.
- Second, the CFS’s contribution to ICN2 should focus on sustainability. In order for food systems to make significant and lasting reductions in malnutrition, they must be economically self-sustaining and not perpetually dependent on international development assistance. Self-sustainable nutritious food systems create economic opportunity and social value for all the actors along the food value chain. And no food system – no matter how nutritious – is sustainable if it does not make more efficient use of our precious natural resource base and adapt to climate change.
- Third, the CFS should build on its commitment to multi-stakeholder collaboration and partner with non-state actors to shape and design its contribution to ICN2. Creating resilient, self-sustaining nutritious food systems is an all-hands-on-deck challenge; governments, the private sector (from farmers to retailers), civil society, and consumers all have a role to play. The CFS can continue its leadership in non-state actor engagement by giving voice to and building trust between all stakeholders as they work together to end malnutrition.