Background: At its 36th Session in October 2010 the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) decided to initiate an inclusive process leading to the development of principles for responsible agriculture investment. As per the agreed TORs, the purpose of this consultation is to develop and endorse a set of principles to promote investments in agriculture towards contributing to food security and nutrition and supporting the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security. The principles are expected to be endorsed by the CFS at the Plenary in 2014.
Neglect of public spending in the agricultural sector, and increasing role claimed for the private sector to fill that gap, together with the negative effects of private investment on communities' rights and livelihoods, call for a framework so as to guide public and private actors towards investment that would foster food security and the right to food, as opposed to affecting people and the environment.
The CFS principles are expected to address public and private investment; domestic and foreign, small, medium and large in scale. The CFS already released a zero draft , and is starting a series of regional multi-stakeholder consultations to get feedback and fit results into draft one. An e-consultation has also been launched from January 13 to February 7 to collect a wide range of opinions. The new draft one will be presented at a global meeting in Rome in April and negotiated in May 2014.
IFSN Submission: IFSN is a broad partnership composed of six regional networks operating to improve governance at regional level by creating a lasting space for dialogue between CSOs and regional institutions. IFSN advocates for increasing the space for the most vulnerable to claim for their rights to achieve food security and sovereignty. Depending on the specific regional context and challenges, the networks may focus on land rights, agroecology, seeds laws, right to food assessment, accountability and the like.
The Network is strongly committed to the CFS process and regularly engages with social movements and civil society through the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM). As part of its continued commitment, IFSN has been closely following the CFS-rai process and already shared a document that presents its position on the Zero Draft, based on the consolidated comments received from its members across the globe.
In this submission, IFSN strongly urges the CFS-rai to focus not just on the path towards food and nutrition security, but also food sovereignty. The CFS-rai must bring to the fore the role of small-scale food producers in championing agroecological approaches that support local food systems, which are socially just and ecologically sound, and in line with the national-level strategies towards the progressive realization of the right to food. This position stems from the understanding that food and agriculture are inseparable from the sociocultural, not just economic, continuity of rural lives and livelihoods, and hence investment in agriculture that primarily focuses on profits, corporate interests, and finance capital above all else is inadequate and irresponsible.