by khristian mendez //
A world free from hunger and malnutrition. That is what we are here to imagine.
Yesterday, the 41st Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS41) began. We heard introductions by Gerda Verbug, the Director-General of FAO José Graziano da Silva, and the heads of other Rome-based agencies. The State of Food Insecurity 2014, a report usually presented at this meeting, was reintroduced. Da Silva had brought it with him to the General Assembly a month ago, so he could share it at the highest body of the UN. Subsequently, we also heard from governments, ready to share the progress they had made in eradicating hunger, and the long road ahead.
The morning was slow, but the new chair and the rapporteurs for each discussion made sure to keep a close eye on the time. Already we were lagging behind on day 1.
After a short break, we moved into our “policy convergence”. The name given to the sessions where policy recommendations for governments are drafted. Last year, these covered Biofuels and Food Security, as well as Food Security in Protracted Crises. In advance of this session, the policy convergence has been about Food Losses and Waste in the Context of Sustainable Food Systems(FLW) and the role of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Food Security.
The Civil Society Mechanism, which prepared joint positions before CFS41 started, met early in the morning, eyes tired from a long weekend, and hearts ready to defend people’s livelihoods above everything else.
During the FLW session, most governments alluded to the need to reduce waste, but there were several disagreements on the way there. We could already see some tension between the positions that civil society was bringing to the table and those of the private sector, which will be carried to tomorrow night, when the Friends of the Chair meeting picks up its work. The usual suspects —the US and Australia chief among them— were ready to speak about market led solutions, winking (figuratively speaking) to the Private Sector and their role in reducing waste (never mind industrial food systems tend to be great creators of waste). France championed civil society’s word: Agroecology, followed by Ecuador speaking about Food Sovereignty, and Perú who spoke about Social Protection as safety nets.
We will keep you posted with updates and analyses as the week unfolds!