It is jointly supported by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) - the three Rome-based UN agencies (Rome-based Agencies - RBA).
The CFS was founded in 1974 and reformed into a multi-stakeholder committee in 2009.
Since this reform, representatives from civil society and business have also been institutionally involved in the work of the CFS through a civil and a private sector mechanism (CSIPM and PSM) via the Advisory Group.
Moreover, the CFS has since received scientific support from the High-level Panel of Experts (HLPE).
This participatory approach of the CFS is considered unique within the UN system. The German government attaches great importance to the CFS due to this approach and its rights-based work.
Tasks and objectives
The CFS is intended to support states in the gradual implementation of the realization of the right to adequate food in the context of their respective national food security. It therefore plays a central role in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, particularly with regard to SDG 2 “Zero Hunger”.
Building on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Right to Food (2004), the CFS develops important policy products (Voluntary Guidelines, Policy Recommendations, Action Plans) on food security.
The following products are of particular importance:
- Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition (VGFSyN, 2021);
- Policy recommendations to promote youth engagement and employment in agriculture and food systems (PR YEEAFS, 2022)
- Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls (VG GEWGE, 2023).
In fall 2023, the work programme (MyPow) for the years 2024 to 2027 was adopted at the 51st session of the CFS plenary (CFS51).
For 2024, it is planned the development of policy recommendations
- to improve the implementation of CFS products (“Uptake” workstream) and
- to reduce inequalities (“Inequalities” workstream)
The CFS consists of members (states), participants (representatives of UN organizations, civil society, research and science, international financial institutions and representatives of private sector organizations and foundations) and observers, who may be invited to CFS meetings on an ad hoc basis.
The CFS reports to the United Nations General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and through the FAO Conference.
Through its structure, the CFS enables input from all stakeholders at the global, national and regional levels.
The structure includes the Plenary, the Bureau, the Advisory Group, the Permanent Secretariat and the High-Level Expert Group.
- The CFS Plenary meets every year in October as part of its annual meeting in Rome. It is the central body for decisions and debates for all stakeholders at global level.
- The CFS Bureau takes over the administrative tasks between the plenary sessions. It consists of a chairperson and representatives from twelve member states (as well as so-called “alternates” from twelve other member states). At the CFS51 in October 2023, Nosipho Nausca-Jean Jezile (South Africa) was elected as the new Chair of the CFS. She replaces Gabriel Ferrero (Spain) and will chair the CFS for a period of two years. For the same period, France and Switzerland as well as Norway and Romania were appointed as members of the 24-member CFS Bureau for the European Group. The two EU member states Germany and the Netherlands left the office.
- The Advisory Group supports the CFS office in its work. It is currently made up of a civil society mechanism (Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples' Mechanism - CSIPM) and a private sector mechanism (PSM), among others. In addition, all three RBAs, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank and scientific institutions and foundations are also represented.
- The permanent CFS Secretariat supports the Chairperson, the members and the Advisory Group.
- The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) prepares scientific reports that serve as a basis for political discussions in the CFS.
The CFS is jointly financed by the three UN organizations based in Rome (FAO, WFP, IFAD). They provide staff for the Secretariat and finance a large part of the core budget.
In order to be fully operational, the CFS also requires additional voluntary contributions from the member states.
As of January 2024
Nosipho Nausca-Jean Jezile, Republic of South Africa, since October 2023
Committee on Food Security
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00153 Rome, Italy