Committee On World Food Security Meeting Begins In Rome

A high-level meeting of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Committee on World Food Security – aimed at addressing food insecurity, price rises and the purchase of large amounts of agricultural land in developing countries – started in Rome on Monday, Agence France-Presse/Capital FM reports (10/11).

Since the committee’s last session in October 2009, it “has been undergoing a major reform” aimed at making it more inclusive, according to an FAO press release. This session includes “a wider group of stakeholders such as non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, other U.N. bodies, the private sector and philanthropic representatives.” The committee will also receive advice from a recently-formed panel of international experts on food security and nutrition.

“The reformed [committee] has an opportunity and a responsibility to rally nations of the world to respond effectively, efficiently and coherently to provide vital humanitarian assistance when disasters strike and build long-term food security,” World Food Programme Executive Director Josette Sheeran said in the press release.

FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf opened the meeting and said, “Global problems demand global as well as local solutions.” After touting the benefits of the committee’s reform, Diouf said that for the committee’s actions to “achieve tangible results, it is also vital that partnerships and linkages be established at country level through proper and recognized mechanisms, like the thematic groups and national alliances for food security” (10/11). He also discussed the problem of “increasing instability in commodity markets as reflected by more volatile prices,” AFP/Capital FM writes.

The meeting is set to conclude on Saturday just after the U.N. marks World Food Day on Friday (10/11).

Ambassador Ertharin Cousin, who is with the U.S. mission to the U.N. Agencies in Rome, will head the U.S. delegation at the meeting, according to a State Department press release. Ambassador Patricia Haslach, deputy coordinator for diplomacy, global hunger and the food security initiative, will also represent the U.S. along with “officials and technical experts from the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation” (10/8).

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