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Opening statement by IFAD Vice-President on the occasion of the 41st session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS)

13 October 2014, Rome, Italy

Madam Chairperson of the CFS,
Honorable Delegates,
Esteemed Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is heartening to learn from the latest figures of the State of Food Insecurity in the World,  that the total number of chronically hungry people continues to decrease. The prevalence of undernourishment has also continued to fall for developing countries: in some cases quite drastically.

Significant and positive progress indeed! And yet more than 800 million people, most of them living in rural areas, are still not getting enough food to meet their nutritional needs, to lead healthy and productive lives.1 There is therefore no place for complacency.

This is why your work here is so important. The Committee on World Food Security is the prime multi-stakeholder forum dealing with food security on a global level. IFAD is proud to support your efforts, and encourages you to keep up the momentum for reaching the Millennium Development Goals. Indeed, the international community still avails of 440 days to achieve the MDG target of halving the number of undernourished people; we must reinvigorate our respective and collective efforts and actions.

In this context, I would like to congratulate the CFS for the successful outcome of the negotiation on the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems, which is being submitted for endorsement during this session. This accomplishment will resonate for years to come.

Indeed, the Principles, together with the "Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of National Food Security" represent essential contributions for achieving sustainable, inclusive agricultural and rural development. At IFAD, we are firmly committed to support our members in translating these voluntary principles and guidelines into concrete progress for the smallholder farmers and rural poor.

Investing in rural transformation and smallholder family farming is pivotal for achieving national and global food and nutrition security, as well as for ending poverty. At IFAD we encourage efforts by our members to engage more public resources in sustainable and inclusive agricultural and rural development. But more is needed, also by enlisting the support of Farmers' organizations, civil society, self-help groups, development partners, and the private sector.

In this regard, I am pleased to report that IFAD is expanding its outreach to facilitate and broker more effective linkages between the private sector and farmers' organizations.  We have experienced and learned how both sides can benefit, in a responsible and fair manner, from a value-chain approach.

This 41st session of the CFS has a packed and very substantive agenda. Beyond the decision on the RAI Principles, you will address during this week important policy issues, and we shall all benefit from shared experience and knowledge.

From the several policy roundtables and side-events, I would like to highlight the fact that several themes are already areas of solid and innovative collaborative efforts between the FAO, WFP and IFAD, for example in connection to the post-2015 agenda, the zero-hunger challenge, the international year of family farming, renewed action on food losses and waste, and building resilience for food security and nutrition. IFAD is strongly committed to an effective RBA cooperation; we believe this is the best way to add value to the work of the CFS.

The goal of IFAD is to contribute to creating the conditions for poor rural women and men to lift themselves, and their families, out of poverty and hunger. Doing so means giving high priority to smallholder producers, gender, empowerment of rural communities, environment, climate change, food security and nutrition. We know and value the fact that the CFS shares our goal.

On behalf of President Kanayo Nwanze, I wish you a very productive week, and we look forward to learning about the outcomes.


Thank you.