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After its reform during the first decade of this century, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) has opened its doors to the participation of social organizations, to the point that it is the only space within the United Nations system where the “Civil Society Mechanism” is effectively legitimated. But some actions from pivotal countries show that this could all change for the worse.
For the South African Naseeg Jaffer, General Secretary of the World Forum of Fisher Peoples, the need to have organizations of food producers within this space is not an option “because governments don´t have experience in food production”, said Naseeg in a video interview conducted by Real World Radio in Rome.
The 44th Session of the CFS is taking place in Rome, at the headquarters of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. One of the most sensitive issues to be dealt with, among the many that are addressed each year, is related to forests and their contribution to food security. Organizations have worked in the previous days to include their concepts and demands among the recommendations to be considered by States.
But the biggest concern is about the future of the CFS and the Civil Society Mechanism that is part of it, since there have been signs by some powerful governments that are attempting to block important issues. This is known as “red-lining”, which has been used by the US to avoid addressing aspects such as agroecology in the discussions, or to block issues related to human rights.
Naseeg considered that this red-lining clearly undermines the entire discussion. “For us, food production, small-scale food production is a human rights issue. It´s not just about harvesting or reaching the markets. It´s also about our culture, our spirituality, people interacting with each other…”, he stated.
The CSM was founded in 2010 as a fundamental and autonomous part of the reformed CFS. The aim of the CSM is to facilitate the participation and articulation of the civil society in the political processes of the CFS.
The CSM is an open space, and therefore there are no formal members, but participant organizations. Every organization that belongs to the civil society and works around food security and nutrition can join and participate. In the past years, several hundred national, regional and global organizations have been part of the CSM.
All organizations that participate in the CSM belong to one of the following 11 sectors: small-scale farmers, pastoralists, artisanal fisherfolk, indigenous people, agricultural and food workers, landless workers, women, young people, consumers, food insecure urban communities and NGOs.
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