The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), within the context of reform of its intergovernmental machinery, created the Committee on Food Security and Sustainable Development (CFSSD), by Resolution 853 (XL) in April 2007. The CFSSD is both a technical and a legislative organ and is composed of high-level experts from governments, academia, Research and Development (R&D) institutions, the private sector and civil society of ECA member States. It meets on a biennial basis and serves as a forum for the promotion of cooperation, exchange of information and sharing of experiences in the areas of food security, agriculture, environment, land, climate change and broader sustainable development issues. It provides advice to ECA on ways to strengthen its support to member States in these areas.
The Committee also provides a platform for advocacy and assessment of the implementation of the outcomes of major conferences and summits related to sustainable development in Africa, particularly those contained in Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI), and the World Food Summit Programme of Action. And since 2005, the CFSSD meetings have provided platforms for the Africa Regional Implementation Meetings (RIMs) to review progress in the implementation of commitments contained in Agenda 21 (A21), the Programme for Further Implementation of Agenda 21 (PFIA21) and the JPOI and to agree on priorities for Africa and key messages to the Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD).
The Eight Session of the Committee on Food Security and Sustainable Development (CFSSD-8) was held from 19 to 21 November 2012. The Session provided a platform for the Africa Regional Implementation Meeting (Africa-RIM) for the Twentieth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, which focused on the main outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).
The main objectives of CFSSD-8 were:
- To provide a platform for the Africa RIM for CSD-20 which deliberated on the main outcomes of Rio+20
- To review progress in the implementation of the 2012/2013 work programme of ECA Subprogramme on Food Security and Sustainable Development (FSSDD), and provide guidance on further work during 2013. The CFSSD-8 also provided guidance on priorities for the 2014/2015 workprogramme in the context of the ECA strategic framework for the 2014/2015 biennium.
In line with the General Assembly resolution A/64/236, the Seventh Session of the CFSSD provided the platform for the experts segment of the Africa Regional Preparatory Conference for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). In this context, the Regional Implementation Meeting (RIM) for CSD 20 was postponed to accommodate the Conference. The two meetings were held from 20 to 25 October 2011 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
In accordance with usual practice, CFSSD-7 dealt with statuatory matters, reviewing the implementation of the 2010/2011 programme of work of the ECA Subprogramme on Food Security and Sustainable Development (FSSDD) and providing guidance on priorities for the 2012/2013 biennium in the context of the proposed programme budget of the ECA strategic framework for that biennium.
The Sixth Session of the Committee on Food Security and Sustainable Development (CFSSD-6) was held on the theme “Sustainable Consumption and Production for Sustainable Growth and Poverty Reduction”, which was a running thread in the thematic cluster of issues to be considered at the RIM, for which it provided a platform. These were; Transport, Chemicals, Waste Management, Mining, and A Ten-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP). These thematic cluster of issues were deliberated on at the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-18 & 19), held in May 2010 and May 2011, respectively.
The theme of the Fifth Session of the Committee held from 22 to 25 October 2005 was “Transforming African Agriculture and Rural Economy for Sustainable Development”. The Meeting placed emphasis on the RIM, which reviewed regional reports on Agriculture, Rural Development, Land, Drought and Desertification, and “Africa”. As expected, the RIM came out with a Statement, which was reviewed and endorsed by the Committee and which fed into the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Sessions of the Commission (CSD-16 &17). The outcome document of CSD-17 places particular emphasis on Africa, mainly drawing from the Africa RIM Statement and related documents produced for that RIM.
Given the importance of land-based resources such as forests, water, mineral resources, agriculture and grazing land in addressing Africa’s key sustainable development challenges, the Fourth Session of the Committee was held under the theme, “Managing Land-Based Resources for Sustainable Development”. The RIM, which was held under the auspices of the Meeting reviewed progress in the implementation of A21, PFIA21 and the JPOI commitments relative to Energy, Industrial Development, Climate Change, Air Pollution and Atmosphere. A key output of the RIM was the Africa RIM Statement on the thematic cluster of issues, which fed into the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD 14 & 15).
The Third Session of the Committee, which convened from 7 to 10 October 2003, was held under the theme, “Making Technology Work for the Poor”. This was premised on a common observation that “technology is power” and on the principle that technology should benefit all stakeholders, particularly the poor. A major achievement of the meeting was the revision of the constitution and functions of the Committee to address the multi-stakeholder and participatory requirements of sustainable development and to take into account the outcomes of WSSD. Thereafter, meetings of the Committee have provided platforms for the Africa Regional Implementation Meetings (RIMs) to review progress in the implementation of commitments contained in Agenda 21 (A21), the Programme for Further Implementation of Agenda 21 (PFIA21) and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI). The outcomes of the RIM feed into the Sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development. The thematic cluster of issues discussed in the RIMs is aligned with those contained in the Multi-Year Programme of Work of the Commission.
As considerable progress had been made in conceptualizing the nexus interrelationships, especially among policy makers since the first Committee meeting, it was deemed appropriate that the Second Session, held from 26 to 29 November 2001, be more focused and address specific aspects of the nexus that were of common interest to a large number of the member States. Hence, the theme for that meeting, “Agricultural Intensification: Feeding Ourselves and Sustaining Africa’s Land Resources in the New Millennium”.
The First Session of Committee was held from 25 to 29 January 1999 under the theme, “Ensuring Food Security and Sustainable Development in Africa: the Population, Agriculture and Environment Nexus.” Because an integrated approach for the conceptualization, analysis and management of the nexus issues that was being advocated by ECA had just been introduced to member States, the theme of the first meeting was deliberately broad in order to prompt guidance from the Committee on how the Commission should go about addressing the nexus issues. The Meeting recommended that the Committee should: serve as Africa’s regional forum of experts that deals with all the fields mandated by the UN General Assembly to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD); and as the regional advisory arm of the CSD on cross-sectoral activities in Africa, as well as on proposed activities and follow-up actions in the implementation of international programmes. In view of this, the Meeting further recommended that the periodic reporting of the Committee should follow the established procedures and practices of CSD.