Comittee on Food Security - CFS


The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is the central international and intergovernmental platform for fighting world hunger and ensuring world food security.

Committee on World Food Security (CFS)
Committee on World Food Security (CFS) © StäV Rom / Katherina Niemann

Indeed, the CFS also integrates non-state actors such as

  • civil society groups (CSMs),
  • private sector (PSM) and
  • scientific expertise (HLPE)

Tasks and objectives

The CFS was established in 1974 as an intergovernmental body and steering committee of FAO and reformed in 2009 to become a multistakeholder committee.

Within the CFS, government representatives, representatives of international organizations, and stakeholders from UN organizations, civil society, science, and the private sector jointly develop strategies and voluntary guidelines.

These pursue the goal of fighting hunger and securing food worldwide, as well as promoting the human right to food.

CFS plays an important role in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Through its work and products, it supports the implementation of SDG 2 “Zero Hunger” and promotes policy coherence at the national Level.

Here is a selection of CFS products:

  • Framework for Action on Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crises,
  • Guidelines for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems,
  • Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security.

In October 2019, the 46th Plenary Meeting of the CFS adopted the work plan through 2023.

In 2021, one focus of the CFS was the development of “Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition” and “CFS Policy Recommendations on Agroecological and Other Innovative Approaches.” After intense negotiations, their adoption succeeded during CFS47 in February 2021 and during CFS48 in June 2021.

In 2022, the adoption of “CFS Policy Recommendations on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls” and “CFS Policy Recommendations on Promoting Youth Engagement and Employment in Agriculture and Food Systems” are planned, among others.

Institutional structure

The CFS consists of

  • members (states),
  • participants (representatives of UN organizations, civil society, research and academia, international financial institutions, and representatives of private sector associations and foundations), and
  • observers, who may be invited to attend CFS meetings on an ad hoc basis.

The CFS reports to the UN General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the FAO Conference.


  • The CFS Plenum is held regularly each year in October in Rome. It is the central body for decisions and debates of all actors at the global level.
  • The CFS Bureau takes over the management tasks between the plenary sessions. It consists of a chairman and twelve representatives from the member states.
  • The Advisory Group supports the Bureau in its work. It is currently composed of two major mechanisms, one civil society (CSM) and one private sector (PSM). Also represented are: the three Rome-based UN agencies (FAO, WFP, IFAD), UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, UN Nutrition, World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank, and representatives of science and foundations.
  • The CFS has a permanent Secretariat that supports the Plenary, the Bureau, and the Advisory Group.
  • The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) provides scientific reports that serve as the basis for policy discussions in the CFS.

At CFS49 in October 2021, Gabriel Ferrero (Spain) was elected as the new chairman of the CFS.

He will lead the CFS for a period of two years, replacing Thanawat Tiensien (Thailand).

The Netherlands and Germany were appointed as members of the 24-member CFS Bureau for the same period, replacing France and Spain.


It is jointly funded by the three Rome-based UN agencies (FAO, WFP, IFAD).

They can provide staff for the secretariat and finance a large part of the core budget.

To be truly operational, additional voluntary contributions from member states are needed.

CFS and Germany

The German government attaches great importance to the World Food Committee (CFS) because of its multi-sectoral structure and rights-based work.

It is seen as a particular advantage that its products and recommendations are based on the inclusive nature of the Committee. This is unique in the UN System.

As of March 2021

CFS Chair
Gabriel Ferrero, Spanien, since Oktober 2021

Committee on Food Security
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00153 Rom, Italien

Internet: https://www.fao.org/cfs

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