In his statement to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Chairperson of Committee on World Food Security (CFS), Thanawat Tiensin, points out that “only by working together, exerting true moral and political courage, to which we committed when agreeing to the Agenda 2030, we will be able to win the fight against hunger and malnutrition, and the fight towards a more just and equitable society.”
For its inclusiveness and transparency (substantial democracy), the CFS is certainly the international platform that shows us the possibility of working together to fight hunger (in 2019 over 820 million people were hungry, before the arrival of COVID-19) and commit to SDG 2 and other targets of the Agenda 2030 related to food security and nutrition.
In this perspective, the Committee endorsed the CFS Multi Year Programme of Work (MYPoW) for 2020-2023, which includes thematic work streams on: i) Food systems and nutrition; ii) Agroecological and other innovative approaches; iii) Gender equality and women’s empowerment; iv) Promoting youth engagement and employment; v) Data collection and analysis tools; and vi) Reducing inequalities for food security and nutrition.
CFS is already mobilizing for the UN Decade of Action on SDGs (2020-2030) and has been examining the impacts of COVID-19 on all the issues we work on. The Committee is also working on a policy convergence process to produce “Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition”, that they will be endorsed at CFS 47.They will serve as a critical building block for, and input to, upcoming global events such as the Nutrition for Growth Summit, and the UN Food Systems Summit in 2021.
The Voluntary Guidelines are also intended to support our governments in the implementation of the Plan of Action of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016–2025), the Framework for Action of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), and the UN Decade of Family Farming.
This June, it will be launching the CFS High Level Panel of Expert (HLPE) newest report titled “Food security and nutrition: building a global narrative towards 2030”. Presented as a synthesis of all the HLPE’s work since 2009, the report will offer a fresh look at what can be done to support the achievement of the 2030 targets on zero hunger.
In all these commitments and documents there are social protection measures for the poorest; those who “never appear in the news, nor do small farmers and their families who work hard to produce healthy food without destroying nature, without hoarding, without exploiting people’s needs” , as Pope Francis wrote in his letter to the popular movements of April 12 last Easter.
For example, the draft voluntary guidelines say that governmental actors should strengthen public procurement systems ensuring healthy diets are available, accessible and convenient in public setting and institutions, that they should link the provision of healthy schools meals with clear nutritional objectives. The governmental actors should facilitate the affordability of healthy diets for poor households through social protection programmes (vouchers, cash transfer, basic income type scheme, school feeding, etc.).
As Pope Francis says in his letter to the popular movements:
“This may be the time to consider a universal basic wage which would acknowledge and dignify the noble, essential tasks you carry out. It would ensure and concretely achieve the ideal, at once so human and so Christian, of no worker without rights”.
The instruments identified in the various listed documents go in that direction, are they sufficient? It is a problem that does not arise today and has a significant history behind it, but in the light of the experience of COVID-19 it will have to be studied in depth. A comparison is needed in which the most interested stakeholders must participate, therefore the CFS is the best international platform for this comparison.
In his letter Pope Francis tells us:
“My hope is that governments understand that technocratic paradigms (whether state-centred or market-driven) are not enough to address this crisis or the other great problems affecting humankind. Now more than ever, persons, communities and peoples must be put at the centre, united to heal, to care and to share.”
Finally, let’s remember what the 2012 HLPE Report, entitled Social protection for food security, said:
“Social protection system should not be seen as “deadweight” burdens on fiscal systems. Well-designed social protection interventions are good for growth. In particular, by preventing the depletion of assets and reducing the personal risk of investing for the poor, social protection can be a “win-win” strategy: pro-poor and pro-growth”
ICRA General Secretary
Italian Agricultural Environmental & Industrial Federation FAI-CISL
Coordinator of the Forum of Catholic inspired NGOs in Rome
ICRA Representative to FAO
National Confederation of COLDIRETTI
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