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Private Sector Engagement at the 46th Committee on World Food Security

CFS46 took place at FAO Headquarters in Rome from October 14-18, and the Private Sector Mechanism had its largest delegation to date, with 211 business leaders, including over 30 youth and representatives of youth organizations, registered from 45 countries.

We are so proud of this year’s delegation, which included more geographical, sector, and age diversity than ever before. We would like to extend a special thanks to the leadership teams of the youth organizations present at CFS46, who helped to guide their groups and make the most of their CFS experience. Of course, none of this would be possible without the generosity of our PSM funders, whose voluntary contributions support the work of the PSM Secretariat. The PSM is more active and engaged with the CFS than ever before, and we look forward to continuing our close collaboration with you to ensure that its activity in this forum continues to grow.

Key achievements for the Private Sector Mechanism during the 46th plenary session of the CFS include:

A successful meeting between the FAO Director General QU Dongyu, the PSM Chair and delegates including 15 bilateral meetings providing the bedrock for effective engagement and negotiation at the CFS took place. In addition to fruitful meeting with the Director General of FAO and those above, bilateral meetings were arranged between the PSM and Australia, Nuffield International, and the SDG2 Advocacy Hub, to name a few.

In Plenary, PSM was able to make 14 interventions, from panels and from the floor, in plenary on a broad selection of topics in the CFS agenda.

PSM members organized 5 side events this year reached over 900 attendees on the topics of nutrition (x 2); agroecology and innovation, multi-stakeholder partnerships; and youth. In addition, members of the PSM delegation had panelist or speaking roles at 11 other side events.

This year’s High Level Dinner was hugely successful, bringing together over 200 guests, including the Chair of the CFS, H.E Mario Arvelo of the Dominican Republic, Director General of FAO, Dr QU Dongyu and Ambassadors, Representatives of CFS Member States, UN agencies, NGOs, and companies. The theme of the dinner was “Multistakeholder Partnerships to Finance and Improve Food Security and Nutrition in the Framework of the 2030 Agenda.” We would like to thank our sponsors, Rabobank and Syngenta for this wonderful opportunity. Read the report here.

Youth Engagement

This year, the topic of the youth debate was: Should we attract youth to traditional agricultural systems? Or should agricultural systems be disrupted to fit the youth’s context today? The debate was hosted by H.E. Hans Hoogeveen and was key in celebrating the value of differing perspectives on how to engage and attract youth to agriculture.

Youth Members also participated in meeting with the outgoing CFS Chair: H.E. Mario Arvelo as well as the incoming CFS Chair: Mr Thanawat Tiensin.

Another successful meeting was held with youth focal points from the RBAs to discuss current projects at country level, the type of support needed for youth in their programmes and wow youth can identify/develop the skills to jointly participate in RBA projects.

On Friday, the plenary session was dedicated to the youth in the following format:

Part 1: Highlights of CFS 46 Session, the Side Events and SDG2

Youth delegates gave their feedback on the CFS session and the Side Events, highlighting items that they thought most effectively accelerated progress on SDG 2.

Part 2: Youth and the CFS Multi-Year Programme of Work 2020-2023

Youth delegates kicked off this item by discussing the MYPoW, especially the proposed “youth”-themed workstream, “Putting youth at the centre: engaging youth in FSN policies and practices; and promoting (rural) decent jobs for youth in agriculture and food systems.” They also put forward ideas on how a youth lens can be mainstreamed across the other proposed workstreams.

Part 3: Youth and CFS policy work

The session explored the question – “How can youth support the uptake of existing and future CFS policy recommendations and guidelines?” What actions and steps can be taken by government and other actors to ensure that youth are involved and engaged in food security and nutrition policy-making in their national context?

Ambassador Hans offered the seat of the Netherlands to be taken by youth delegates to deliver a statement during the MYPoW plenary session. Tiare Boyes (@WestCoastTiare), Commercial Fisher from Canada, took the floor and delivered her statement on behalf of the youth.

World Food Day

This year PSM participated in the World Food Day activities at FAO. 30 PSM delegates attended the high-level segment.


Food Systems and Nutrition:

The OEWG Chair provides an update on the Policy Convergence Process leading up to the Voluntary Guidelines on Nutrition which included the main proposals coming from the e-consultation and regional consultations. She also provided information on the structure of the guidelines, which will be according to the area of focus (nutrition education and literacy for all; more transparent governance for nutrition, Economic Social and Environment; Enhancing Women’s Empowerment; and Food Safety and Food loss and Waste).

Due to time constraints, the PSM was able to deliver one speech during the session. That speaker was Katrijn Otten, a member of the PSM Nutrition Steering Committee, who delivered the key PSM messages on the Voluntary Guidelines on Nutrition.

The new Bureau of CFS will meet to determine the calendar for CFS in 2020. More information will come on key dates as soon as they are available.

Urbanization, Rural Transformation, and Implications for Food Security and Nutrition

The session presented the outcomes of two CFS intersessional events on “The Food Security and Nutritional Impacts of Urbanization and Rural Transformation on Lower Income Groups” and “Promoting Youth and Women Engagement and Employment in Food Systems across the Rural‐urban Continuum”. Points highlighted in the discussion focused on the static categories of ‘urban’ and ‘rural’ that, no longer capture the reality of the shifting relations between cities and the countryside; low access to services and education – especially by youth and women – was highlighted as a key driver for the exodus towards urban areas; and, the need to develop the skills and talent of youth through training and mentorship.

Multistakeholder Partnerships to Finance and Improve Food Security and Nutrition

The session focussed on knowledge and lesson‐sharing on effective MSPs at different scales to highlight what makes them effective in financing and improving food security and nutrition. FAO highlighted their work in Multistakeholder knowledge platforms and private sector gave relevant experience of developing financial partnerships in Central America. The need for clearly establishing common goals, developing trust and transparency also came out as important factors.

Agroecological and Other Innovative Approaches

The HLPE report was approved. While there was an endorsement of the report by several member states there were also concerns expressed and several qualifying statements about the next steps in the policy convergence process. The Africa regional group noted that the recommendations were not clearly delineated and that not all models suggested can be operationalised and depend on an analysis of country context. Several speakers, including PSM, highlighted that agroecology was only one of many sustainable agricultural approaches and that a more balanced overview was needed. The CFS Chair requested that all CFS members consider providing further detailed comments on the Report before moving towards the policy convergence process.

The CFS Multi-Year Programme of Work 2020 – 2030

The MYPoW 2020-23 was approved. This means that the youth workstream will go ahead with an HLPE report scheduled for 2021 followed by a policy convergence process. The approved MYPoW also included workstreams on gender equality and women’s empowerment; data collection and analysis tools; Reducing inequalities for food security and nutrition; Agroecological and other innovative approaches; and Food Systems and Nutrition. The data workstream was highlighted several times, with clear support from BMGF. Concerns were expressed that this MYPoW was potentially too ambitious and that there could be implementation, and financial constraints. Russia and Norway formally requested that their concerns be recorded in the final report.

The Draft Report of the Plenary, including the decision boxes, was approved: 

The official CFS photo album is available on FAOs Flickr account here: 

CFS 2020 will be October 12-16 in Rome under the leadership of new Chair Mr. Thanawat Tiensin.

Alexandra Baldwin
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