UN Committee for World Food Security endorses voluntary guidelines to end hunger

The guidelines will contribute to realisation of global goals on  hunger and nutrition even as more than 3 billion people do not have access to healthy diets

By Kiran Pandey
Published: Friday 12 February 2021
Photo: FAO's Twitter handle__

The first-ever voluntary guidelines on food systems and nutrition meant to end hunger and malnutrition were endorsed by members of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) February 11, 2021.

The endorsement took place at the 47th Session of CFS that was held virtually February 8-11.

CFS is an international and intergovernmental platform for stakeholders to work towards ensuring food security and nutrition for all. It is hosted and co-funded by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

The guidelines have been developed to support countries in their efforts to eradicate all forms of hunger and malnutrition by utilising a comprehensive food systems approach, according to the document released on the occasion.

They are structured around seven focus areas:

  1. Transparent, democratic and accountable governance
  2. Sustainable food supply chains to achieve healthy diets in the context of economic, social and environmental sustainability and climate change
  3. Equal and equitable access to healthy diets through sustainable food systems
  4. Food safety across sustainable food systems
  5. People-centred nutrition knowledge, education and information
  6. Gender equality and women’s empowerment across food systems
  7. Resilient food systems in humanitarian contexts

The guidelines are intended to build upon and complement the work and mandate of other international bodies, for example the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016-2025).

They call for realisation of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security for all, particularly for the most vulnerable and affected groups.

They focus on policy planning and governance so that food systems can be made more resilient and responsive and are in accordance with needs of consumers and producers too, especially  small and marginal farmers.

Governments have been asked to refrain from promulgating and applying any unilateral economic, financial or trade measures that impede the full achievement of economic and social development, while implementing the guidelines.

“Today is a historic day for the Committee on World Food Security and the entire UN family,” CFS Chair and Permanent Representative of Thailand to the UN Agencies in Rome, Thanawat Tiensin said.

The next step — the guidelines’ uptake and implementation at the regional, national and local level — would be even more important and challenging, Tiensin added.

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