The following letter was sent to Honorable Cindy McCain, U.S. Permanent Representatives to the Rome-based Agencies, U.S. Mission to the Rome Agencies and Special Representative Cary Fowler, Office of Global Food Security, U.S. Department of State on December 14, 2022.
Dear Ambassador McCain and Special Representative Fowler:
In its 50th Plenary session from 10 to 13 October in Rome, Member States and participants of the Committee on World Food Security came together to work towards ending hunger by coordinating policy responses to the global food and food price crises. However, debates became mired in a battle of words between two geopolitical blocks styming much needed action.
The Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples Mechanism (CSIPM), representing over 300 million affiliated members including small-scale farmers, fishers, food workers, and consumers from all continents, and the undersigned U.S. based organizations, are deeply concerned about how the CFS - a multilateral space for coordinating response to the current alarming food insecurity in the world - was abused by powerful member states to clash on security issues.
At this most recent Committee on World Food Security session, the CSIPM provided evidence from those most affected by the systemic multifaceted food crisis currently impacting hundreds of millions of people worldwide, including the approximately 54 million people (disproportionately Black, Hispanic, Indigenous and household headed by single women) impacted by hunger and nutrition insecurity in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also showed how people and communities from all global regions took action to provide responses to the crisis. Yet, despite these grassroots efforts, increasing numbers of people continue to suffer and die from hunger every day. There was a strong consensus among Member States and CFS participants on the need to act now, and a recognition that the CFS is the place to develop a coordinated policy response to the crisis.
Due to the deadlock in debates, the CFS was unable to conclude the session and come to a decision on the role it should play in responding to the growing food and food price crises. [EM2] We are concerned that the compromise text presented on the food crisis response ignored the substance of the CSIPM evidence. Unfortunately, despite support from member states, the United States did not agree with the proposal that the CFS develop globally coordinated policy guidance.
We urge the United States to reconsider the position it took at the onset of CFS50 and support the mandate of the CFS to coordinate a response to the growing and alarming situation of hunger in the world. The CFS can best contribute to peace and stability by serving its mandate to achieve food security and the human right to food.
Member States have the responsibility to address the structural causes of the current global food and food price crises and prevent future crises. This includes leveraging the convening power of the CFS to discuss the challenges faced and responses of Member States, international organizations, and local communities. The CFS must coordinate collective action at all levels, building on the existing CFS policy outcomes with the support of the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE).
We urge the United States delegation to support the request that time be allocated in the reconvened CFS 50 on 19 December to discuss the role of the CFS regarding the global food crisis. We further seek your support for the CFS to adopt the following decision:
The Committee: Calls for engaging an inclusive Member-led dialogue to propose an approach for providing globally coordinated policy guidance to CFS51 to address the current and prevent future crises. We, social movements and organizations that participate to the CFS through the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples' Mechanism (CSIPM) representing millions of small-scale food producers, consumers, Indigenous Peoples, pastoralists, fisherfolks, women, youth, urban food insecure, landless people, agricultural and food workers, are ready and willing to contribute to this process by sharing our evidence and aspirations from the ground.
Patti Naylor (NFFC), Focal Point CSIPM North America
Agricultural Justice Project
Agroecology Research-Action Collective
Butte County Local Food Network (CA)
Caribbean Agroecology Institute
Family Farm Defenders (https://familyfarmers.org/)
Food in Neighborhoods Community Coalition
Friends of the Earth USA
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC)
New Roots, Inc
Northeast Organic Farming Association - New Hampshire
Oxfam America (OxfamAmerica)
Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA)
Presbyterian Hunger Program, Presbyterian Church USA
U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance
Download the letter.