Johannesburg - A five-day high-level intergovernmental meeting of the newly reformed Committee on World Food Security (CFS) opened on Monday, the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) announced.
The meeting takes place against a background of recent increases in international food prices, which pose additional challenges to food
Since its last session in October 2009, the CFS has been undergoing a major reform with the aim of making the committee the most inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all relevant stakeholders to work together to ensure food security and nutrition for all.
In its role as the cornerstone of the global governance of agriculture and food security, the CFS will be more effective in facing challenges to food security.
In this first session following the reform, a wider group of stakeholders such as non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations, other UN bodies, the private sector and philanthropic representatives are included in the deliberations of the committee.
The committee will also receive advice from a high-level panel of experts in a variety of fields associated with food security and nutrition.
On an operational level, the CFS Secretariat is now made up of members from the three Rome-based food and agriculture organisations - FAO, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and World Food Programme (WFP).
Welcoming the delegates, FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf said: "Global problems demand global as well as local solutions. The renewed CFS constitutes the required platform for debating global complex problems and reaching consensus on solutions."
He noted that "for the CFS to be concrete in action and achieve tangible results, it is also vital that partnerships and linkages be established at country level through proper and recognised mechanisms, like the thematic groups and national alliances for food security".
"FAO is fully committed to the CFS reform. Its expertise, experience, multidisciplinary and wide field presence are vital features," Diouf said.
This week marks the launch of a strategically coordinated global effort to draw on the combined strengths of all stakeholders engaged in the fight against global hunger, said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran.
"With recent volatility in commodity prices and increased global demand for food this comes not a moment too soon. The reformed CFS has an opportunity and a responsibility to rally nations of the world to respond effectively, efficiently and coherently to provide vital humanitarian assistance when disasters strike and build long-term food security," Sheeran said.
This session of the CFS has been designed to support the roles of the renovated committee to provide a forum for coordination of initiatives at global, regional and national levels.
Panellists from Africa, Asia and the South West Pacific, Euro-Asia, the Near East and Latin America will share their experiences, and thematic country case studies will be presented by Bangladesh, Haiti, Jordan and Rwanda.
A series of policy round tables are looking at important issues related to food security such as land tenure and international investment in
agriculture; food security in protracted crises; and ways to manage vulnerability and risk.