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CFS negotiations to finalize the Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems for Nutrition

  |   SUN Country Network, SUN UN Network

Upcoming negotiations at the Committee on World Food Security to finalize the Voluntary Guidelines
on Food Systems for Nutrition 


UPDATE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the process to develop the Voluntary Guidelines for Food Systems and Nutrition will continue virtually and the official negotiations are postponed. All stakeholders are invited to provide written input by the 11th of May on the latest draft. The Open Ended Working Group will meet through Zoom the 28th and 29th of May to discuss these inputs. Further information and updates can be found on the website of the CFS.



This month the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) released a draft version of the Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems for Nutrition (VGFSyN) for the upcoming negotiations. The VGFSyN will be used as a global guiding document for governments, specialized institutions and other stakeholders to shape national policies and investments to promote sustainable food systems which improve nutrition and enable healthy diets. These guidelines – addressing policy fragmentation – are of great importance to the SUN Movement.

The CFS is an inclusive intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders to work together in a coordinated way to ensure food security and nutrition for all. Member State governments, civil society organizations, private sector entities, farmer organizations, UN agencies, research institutions, philanthropic foundations and other stakeholder groups come together to debate, develop and endorse policy guidance on food security and nutrition issues which they commit to implementing in their countries.

In 2018 the CFS collectively committed to develop Voluntary Guidelines on Food System and Nutrition. Last year there have been regional and online consultations on the draft version. In January 2020 the stakeholders, including SUN countries Costa Rica, Mali, Philippines and Senegal provided feedback. During the negotiations, which are planned for May and July 2020 in Rome the guidelines will be finalized. To finalize the process, the Voluntary Guidelines shall be endorsed at the 47th CFS plenary in October 2020.

What relevant issues might come up during the negotiations?

Overall, there is very positive feedback provided on the draft versions of the Voluntary Guidelines. However, different issues are foreseen to come up during the negations which are considered relevant from the SUN Movement’s perspective.

  1. It is important to stress the need for policy coherence and a multi-sectoral approach in the guidelines
  2. The guidelines should adhere to a systemic approach which addresses policy fragmentation on food systems and nutrition
  3. Both institutional and behavioural change are needed to improve the food system to address malnutrition in all its forms and be sustainable
  4. The term “sustainable healthy diets” as developed by the FAO and WHO should be used in the guidelines
  5. Extensive measures to protect and facilitate exclusive breast feeding should be incorporated in the guidelines
  6. An equity perspective should be incorporated to make sure “no one is left behind”
  7. A chapter on food systems in a humanitarian context should be included to protect the most vulnerable populations

More detailed feedback can be found in the attached briefing to SUN Focal Points:
English ¦ Français ¦ Español

The Secretariat strongly encourages SUN Countries to engage in the negotiations through their national delegation and their permanent representatives to the United Nations in Rome. Other stakeholders can participate through their own stakeholders group mechanism.


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