High Level Panel 2: CFS & UN-Nutrition

Coherent policies, efficient actions: How to address the global food crisis



Committee on World Food Security (CFS)

Time: Friday, 20. January 2023, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Languages: English, German, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish


The state of global food security and nutrition is worrying: an estimated 702 to 828 million people globally were affected by hunger in 2021 – about 150 million more since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Globally in 2020, an estimated 149 million children under age five were stunted, 45 million were wasted, and 39 million were overweight, and nearly 571 million women experienced anaemia in 2019. Moreover, it was projected that nearly 670 million people will still be facing hunger in 2030. With only 8 years left to 2030, SDG 2 targets are unlikely to be achieved in many parts of the world unless we drastically change course. The interlinked shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, worsening effects of climate change and of conflicts are compounding an already dire situation.
Moreover, the current food systems place hard pressure on biodiversity, soils, and the environment, requiring urgent attention and prompt response by governments.
The global food and agriculture system, tied closely to global financial and energy markets, is presently in turmoil from an onslaught of challenges, the most recent being the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and its dramatic impact on planting, harvesting, transport and export of major agricultural commodities as well as to prices of and access to essential inputs like fuels and fertilizers.
It is of paramount importance that, when the world responds to the current global food crisis we are facing, countries, regional organizations, civil society, producer organizations, businesses and the research community acknowledge that food systems transformation is needed to help transition the current global system toward one that is more resilient, fair, sustainable, and inclusive.
Inclusive governance and policy coherence is critical to provide clear policy frames for joint action and better coordination among sectors and actors that can transform our food systems to deliver healthy diets for all, while also contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation, reducing biodiversity loss and restoring ecosystems.
The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) serves as the food security governance body of the United Nations where over 135 Members States, civil society, private sector, research and academia, UN agencies and programmes, international financial institutions, foundations and others deliberate upon and coordinate global policies to address systemic and structural causes of hunger and malnutrition in support of country-led efforts.
UN-Nutrition is the UN inter-agency coordination and collaboration mechanism for nutrition at the global and country levels. It brings together more than 15 UN agencies, programmes, and funds with a mandate or interest in nutrition, leveraging their collective strength to effectively address malnutrition in all its forms.
CFS and UN-Nutrition work in tandem to strengthen policy coherence and provide policy guidelines for food security and nutrition, mindful of the need for a strong and functional multilateral, inclusive, and interdisciplinary collaboration to realize the 2030 Agenda.
The Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition (VGFSN), endorsed by CFS in 2021, are a prime example of a global policy instrument that was negotiated multilaterally among governments and other stakeholders on the connections between food systems and nutrition. They provide guidance on policies and interventions to address malnutrition in all its forms through a holistic ‘food systems’ approach. A holistic perspective that considers food systems in their totality and looks at the multi-dimensional, multilevel causes of malnutrition. To this end, the guidelines include key guiding principles to support sustainable food systems in humanitarian contexts, including crisis settings.
The guidelines provide a framework to bring together the various actors across sectors that are involved in food systems with the objective of promoting the implementation of coordinated and multisectoral interventions in order to improve the ability of food systems to deliver healthy diets and to generate positive environmental outcomes.

Key objectives of the session
– Highlight the imperative need for Food Systems Transformation in the wake of the current unpredictable global food security landscape and the key role of CFS as a multi-stakeholder governance platform, and UN Nutrition as an inter-agency coordination mechanism, in promoting collaboration between all relevant actors and building synergies to help advance food system transformation;
– Discuss how efforts to implement the CFS Voluntary Guidelines can help countries achieve their evolving national food security and nutrition plans and realize 2030 Agenda – especially SDG-2 on hunger and nutrition;
– Promote inclusive governance, policy coherence and increased coordination among sectors and actors to ensure better human and planetary health, including by further use of CFS and other relevant policy guidance to boost accelerated policy actions – by all relevant stakeholders – at global, regional, national, and local levels in support of food systems transformation and to realize the 2030 Agenda.


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Keynote Speaker

Currently serving as Ambassador at Large for Global Food Security at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of the Government of Spain. 

Former Director General for Sustainable Development Policies from 2018 to 2021. In this position, he has been lead author and strategist of the 2030 Agenda Implementation Action Plan of Spain, coordinating the Spanish Voluntary National Review at the High Level Political Forum. Lead author of the Spanish Cooperation Joint Response Strategy to COVID-19 pandemic. 

He served in the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary General from 2011 to 2017, including as Coordinator of the UN Secretary-General High Level Task Force on Global Food Security and as Team Leader of the UN Secretary General´s Special Representative for Food and Nutrition Security from 2016 to 2017, based in Rome. In this capacity, he was representative of the UN SG at the Advisory Committee of the Committee on World Food Security and at the Steering Committee of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. He was part of the Milano Group on Sustainable Food Systems convened by UN SG Ban Ki-Moon in 2015 and made seminal contributions to linking ending hunger, poverty and climate-compatible sustainable food systems. Senior policy advisor on sustainable development to the UN Secretary General´s Special Advisor for the Post2015 Development Agenda Ms Amina J Mohammed from 2012 to 2016, leading on food security, agriculture and food systems, financing and climate change. Renowned as being part of the team facilitating the process leading to the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he was instrumental on crafting Ban Ki-Moon´s Zero Hunger Challenge and SDG 2. 

Before joining the UN, he was Deputy-Director General of Development Policies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Spain from 2007-2010, leading on Spain´s global response to the global food crisis. He coordinated the 2009 Madrid High Level Meeting “Food Security for All” and substantially contributed to the reform of the Committee on World Food Security. In this position, he was lead author of the 2009-2012 Spanish Cooperation Master Plan and was instrumental on the set up of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), the L´Aquila Food Security Initiative, the UN Fund for the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the „Spanish Fund for Cooperation on Water and Sanitation“. 

Full time Professor of Development Theory and Planning at the School of Agricultural Engineering and Environment at the Technological University of Valencia UPV (2000-2007) and Director of its Development Cooperation Centre (2004-2007). He founded and coordinated the Development Studies and Applied Ethics Research Group, his research and practice focuses on Sen‘s Capability Approach, development methodology, climate and sustainable development. 

An engineer by training, he holds a nationally awarded Ph. D on development planning and management. He is author or co-author of more than 50 publications including journal research papers, 3 books, book chapters and op-eds with a focus on rural development, climate and development effectiveness. With field level experience at project, program and policy levels on agriculture, rural development and renewable energy, in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Morocco, and Argentina, he has been advisor to national and subnational governments, social movements and NGOs on rural development planning, management and sustainable development policies. 

Panel Guests

Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri is appointed as the Minister of Climate Change and Environment of the UAE. In this capacity, she leads the Ministry’s mission of spearheading the UAE’s drive to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, protect the country’s ecosystems, and enhance its food and water security through developing and implementing effective measures, policies, and initiatives.

Prior to her current role, Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri was appointed as Minister of State for Food and Water Security. Her responsibilities included monitoring national food stocks and water supply, channeling investments in food and water technology innovation, and building international partnerships in this area.

Previously, Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri held the post of Minister of State for Food Security, where she oversaw the development of the necessary infrastructure to achieve the country’s food security objectives in line with the UAE Centennial 2071.

Education and working experience

  • Master’s in political science from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (PUC).
  • Master’s in development from the University of Wisconsin, United States.
  • Doctor in Contemporary History from the University of Valencia, Spain.
  • Consultant on local and rural development for GIZ on: Guatemala, Colombia, Paraguay and the Dominican Republic.


Previous political positions­­­

  • Founder and vice president of the Social Green Regionalist Front Party (FRVS).
  • Mayor of Rancagua (1992-1996).
  • Vice president of the Chilean Association of Municipalities.
  • Member of the Parliament for District No.32 (O’Higgins Region) in two consecutive periods, between 2010 and 2022.
  • President of the Decentralization Commission (created by Michelle Bachelet in 2014).


Personal and other professional activity­­­­­­

  • Academic
  • Regionalist
  • Environmentalist activist
  • Writer (Where his youth novel, Pichilemu Blues, and books on development and political analysis stand out)
  • Was born on March 12, 1964, Rancagua, Chile.

The CV will be available at a later date.

Since 1 December 2022, Dr. Maria P. Neira is the Assistant Director-General, ad interim, of the Division of UHC/Healthier Populations. Dr. Maria P. Neira is ALSO the Director of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health at the World Health Organization.
Prior to that she served as Under-Secretary of Health and President of the Spanish Food Safety Agency.
Dr. Neira began her career as a medical coordinator working for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). She then spent several years working in different African countries during armed conflicts.
Dr. Neira is a Medical Doctor by training, specializing in Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases in Paris, France, Master of Public Health and a University Diploma in Human Nutrition, Epidemic Preparedness and Crisis Management.
Among many distinctions, she has been awarded the Médaille de “L’Ordre National du Mérite” by the Government of France and received an “Extraordinary Woman” award by HM Queen Letizia of Spain. In early 2019 and again in 2022, she was nominated among the top 100 policy influencers in the health and climate change.



 STINEKE OENEMA, is nutritionist and agricultural economist. She is the first Executive Secretary of UN-Nutrition, which was established in 2020. Central to her work is coherent and consistent nutrition policy, advocacy and programming in the UN system at both global and country levels. Before 2020, she was coordinator of the UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN), the predecessor of UN-Nutrition. From 2003 to 2015, she worked for an internationally operating NGO, being in charge of food and nutrition security policy and program development. Internationally and nationally, she chaired and facilitated several networks and multi-stakeholder groups. She was member of the editorial boards of the UNSCN Nutrition/News and the Right to Food and Nutrition Watch. As member of the first Independent Expert Group, she supported the development of the Global Nutrition Report during its initial years. She briefly worked at Wageningen University. In her early career, she worked for FAO and UNICEF in Ghana, Vietnam and Latin America.


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