This week, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is taking place at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) here in Rome, Italy. CFS is the only intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder platform within the UN system specifically tasked with food security and nutrition policy. It convenes all the diverse food system stakeholders together in the most inclusive and coordinated way possible, including giving a voice to those most affected by the issues in hand.
One of the top items on the CFS menu this week is the proposed new Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition. While food systems might differ greatly, the Guidelines offer critical opportunities for public policies, mechanisms, instruments and investments to advance the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Guidelines primarily target governments to help design public policies that support the shift towards healthier and more sustainable food environments. They also recognize that there are many other stakeholders at the table, for example, the private sector and consumers, that are crucial in making this shift.
Importantly, the Guidelines note that policy decisions cannot stand alone or we can end up with solutions that solve one problem but may cause another, for example, policies related to climate change adaptation and mitigation that could affect agriculture and food production systems, and vice versa.