IAFN Updates

Chinese Premiere and FAO Director General
Chinese Premiere Li Keqiang (l) and FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva (r).

China has announced a $50 million donation to FAO to support the Organization’s program of “South-South cooperation” to improve food security and promote sustainable agricultural development over the next five years.

Chinese Premiere Li Keqiang made the announcement today in a speech at FAO ahead of tomorrow’s World Food Day celebrations. It was his first visit to a UN agency since assuming office. Read the full release on the FAO website http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/260439/icode/

Private Sector Delegates

L to R: Katy Lee, IAFN; Ann Steensland, Global Harvest Initiative; Nico van Belzen, International Dairy Federation; and Helen Medina, USCIB.

October 3, 2014 – As the Plenary session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) draws nearer, a cross-section of industry representatives are preparing to be present in Rome on Monday 13 October for the Round Table policy debates to emphasise the following points on food losses and waste:

  • Reducing food losses and waste is a core to how businesses function, as it offers an important way to maximize efficiency and returns.
  • The private sector is already actively addressing the issue of food losses and waste in its own operations, through supply chains, and by providing services and products to help others reduce waste and losses.
  • The private sector’s efforts need to be supported by sound policies as well as public investments in key areas, such as infrastructure, to be able to grow in scale and maximize impact and minimizing post-harvest losses.
  • Discussions to date have placed great emphasis on loss and waste at the retail stage. However it is important to tackle the issue through the supply chain and to recognise the need to address the roles of other actors, such as consumers, in reducing loss and waste.

23 September, 2014 – Private sector actors from farmers, to traders, to food companies and input providers, are self-organising their input into the 2nd International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) – an inter-governmental meeting on nutrition organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) from 19-21 November 2014.

The process has now been formalized by the co-organizers at FAO and WHO. The participation of the Private Sector shall be coordinated through the Private Sector Steering Committee (PSSC). The PSSC is comprised of the Private Sector Mechanism (PSM), the Sun Business Network (SBN) and the International Dairy Federation (IDF) on behalf of the livestock sector. The PSSC is tasked to arrange the engagement of the private sector in the ICN2 process and be the main interlocutor of the two agencies in arranging the engagement of the private sector in the ICN2 process. Private sector engagement will be self-organised, and develop mechanisms to call for open and transparent participation of private sector of all sizes and from all regions.

One hundred Private Sector representatives will be invited to the event on 19th-21st November at the FAO headquarters in Rome. On the 18th of November there will be a chance for Private Sector participants to present their thoughts on ICN2 to the Director-General of FAO, Mr. Graziano da Silva. Nominations for Private Sector participation can be made though the IAFN website here.

This week, private sector actors are in Geneva for the negotiations on the final ICN2 texts. To read an update from the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) click here.

8 August, 2014 – In Rome, private sector representatives have expressed extreme dismay with the lack of recognition of the role of farmers in new Principles on Responsible Agricultural Investment. The Principles, to be endorsed by the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in October, fail to recognise that farmers – in all their sizes – are a vital part of our agricultural system.

The document as currently worded suggests that being a farmer is not a valid self-identity – having to pick whether they are “smallholders” or “business”. It disrespects their established role around other UN processes and most of all it ignores their primary role in producing the world’s food. Private sector representatives have spoken on the Plenary floor, stating that this is a sad message to take back to farmer organisations around the world.

4 August, 2014: – Agri-businesses, United Nations countries and civil society organisations are in Rome this week to negotiate new Principles on “Responsible Agricultural Investment”, which will be endorsed the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in October 2014.

The private sector has had a seat at every stage of the two-year negotiation process through the International Agri-Food Network (IAFN) and has made the case that the Principles, being voluntary, must have a positive focus if businesses and states are to commit to them.

20 June, 2014: – A broad and diverse delegation of private sector representatives have participated in the global debate on nutrition with UN countries in Rome. The IAFN, the SUN Business Network and others were present for the meeting, which took place in the run-up to the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) in November 2014.

The IAFN told the international audience it hopes ICN2 “will be a game-changing, meaningful conference that will make a real difference for millions of nutrition insecure people around the world”. José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), welcomed the participation of both the private sector and civil society, highlighting that “the participation of non-state actors is critical for the success of any development process”.

The rest of the private sector intervention can be read pdf here (154 KB)

A write up from the Global Harvest Initiative can be read here

9 May, 2014: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was in Rome yesterday for a dialogue with the Committee on World Food Security, highlighting that “multistakeholder partnerships bring benefits to those who are at risk of food insecurity”.

Barrie Bain of Fertecon spoke out on behalf of the Private Sector Mechanism, stating “working together as governments, private sector and civil society is the only way to defeat hunger, poverty and malnutrition”. His intervention in Plenary can be watched at the following link: Webcasting From FAO.

29 April, 2014: The Private Sector Mechanism (PSM) has engaged in a day of discussions on Responsible Agricultural Investment with FAO member countries and stakeholders in Rome. The meeting, hosted by the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS), was a chance to exchange views on the first draft of the Principles on Responsible Agricultural Investment. Final negotiations will take place on the document from 19-24 May 2014, when the PSM will continue its calls for a clear and workable set of principles that acknowledge the value of investment into agriculture. The text of the private sector statements at the Rome meeting can be read pdf here (118 KB) .

The Private Sector Mechanism operates under modalities available at www.agrifood.net. The PSM holds an annual meeting and has an election process in place on a two year cycle. We happily accept registrations to engage at the CFS and operate a committee system to allow private sector actors to participate in areas of the greatest relevance to them.

The PSM supports a diversity of actors at CFS. The PSM believes in the principle of self-organising and we emphasise the importance of encouraging all Advisory Group representatives to have modalities to enable larger participation in a transparent manner.

The PSM calls for parity of seats with the CSM, given the breadth of the private sector actors involved at CFS. The private sector also encourages the inclusion of two farmer seats on the Advisory Group to recognize the unique role of farmers in food security discussions. Any change in seats on the Advisory Group should be inclusive though not unmanageable.

In PSM engagement at the Advisory Group we advocate for:

  • The relevance and utility of CFS
  • CFS to handle issues which are important, non-duplicative, and likely to result in action
  • Increased utility of CFS outcomes including fostering the convening power of CFS to engage actors with the capacity to act
  • To maintain a time-controlled environment so that CFS can be an efficient and relevant decision maker
  • To ensure CFS uses precious resources of time and funds in the most cost-effective, focused manner possible