Hivos International

Hivos and IIED promote food diversity at CFS 44th annual meeting

From 9 to 13 October 2017, the UN’s Committee on World Food Security will hold its 44th plenary session (CFS44) in Rome. Organised annually, the CFS Plenary is the central body for global decision-making, debate, coordination, lesson-learning and convergence by all stakeholders on food security issues. Hivos is attending the conference and will organise a side-event about the need for multi-stakeholder action to safeguard diversity within the global food system.

Loss of diversity negative for health and agroecosystems

Organised together with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), UN Environment and the Zambian Government, our event will dive deep into the challenges of the current food system. Hivos and our partners believe that despite its phenomenal productivity, the current food system is not oriented towards delivering healthy, diverse and high quality diets for all people. Today, over 60 per cent of dietary calories worldwide are derived from just four crops:  wheat, maize, rice and potatoes. The result is a rapid increase in the loss of diversity both on the farm and on our plates, with damaging impacts on human health and the resilience of agroecosystems.

Large-scale commercial exploitation of just a few crops also poses challenges to the sustainability of food systems and fosters a decline of agrobiodiversity, which in turn reduces the resilience of food production systems. Malnutrition and environmental unsustainability must be addressed to make food systems truly sustainable and reduce their negative impact on the most vulnerable inhabitants of our planet.

Multi-stakeholder action is essential

Hivos’ primary focus is achieving structural change, so to address these issues we support multi-stakeholder action that ensures the inclusion and representation of low-income producers and consumers, who – as those most affected by the current food system – have a major interest in formulating solutions.

During the event we will launch and present policy recommendations that outline challenges and solutions to diversifying food production and consumption internationally. (The document will be uploaded to this page on October 10).  A short film at the event, ‘Life Beyond Maize’, will highlight the absence of agricultural and dietary diversity from a local community perspective in Zambia.


All policy-makers, practitioners and researchers at CFS44 are invited to join this Hivos/IIED side event to discuss multi-stakeholder action to promote food diversity from farm to plate on 10 October at 18.00 to 19.30 in the Iran Room, Building B Floor 1. See the invitation in the right sidebar. To reserve a seat and find out more about this event you may also contact Nout van der Vaart at

Follow Hivos’ participation in CFS44 on Twitter: @hivos #CFS44 #sustainablediets

Panellists and moderator

The panellists and moderator of the event are (click on expand): » expand

Gerda Verburg: Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. Ms Gerda Verburg works with country governments, UN agencies, civil society, business and donors in a common mission to defeat malnutrition in all its forms. As a former Minister of Agriculture, she served as Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN Organizations for Food and Agriculture in Rome, and in 2014 she was appointed Chair of the Global Agenda Council for Food and Nutrition Security of the World Economic Forum (WEF). From 2013 until 2015, Ms. Verburg served as Chair of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS). 

Dr Kayoya Masuhwa: Kayoya Masuhwa has 18 years experience in Agricultural Rural Development and 5 years at senior management level dealing with policy issues in the Ministry of Agriculture in Zambia. He worked as a Chief Agricultural Officer at the Ministry, conducting supervision of M & E in order to facilitate the implementation of intervention measures. One year directing the development and implementation of policies, strategies and operational plans as Executive Director Programme Against Malnutrition (PAM) and currently he is the Agricultural Attaché of the Zambian Embassy and Alternate Permanent Representative to the Rome Based United Nations Organisation. 

Professor Corina Hawkes: Director of Food Policy Centre at City University. As an expert of food systems, nutrition and health Corina sits on the international panel of experts on sustainable food systems and has published widely and advises government and international agencies on topics such as food systems globalization; the links between agricultural policy, trade and nutrition; and policies and regulations to encourage healthier diets.

Hans Hoogeveen: Permanent representative the Netherlands to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. Before becoming a representative to the UN he was the Director General for Agriculture and Nature Management at the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs. As such, Dr. Hoogeveen is the most senior civil servant to lead the agriculture, agribusiness, food security, veterinary and plant health, international affairs, market access and nature/biodiversity managements agendas. Dr. Hoogeveen is Professor of Practice in Natural Resource Policy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Boston. He is also lead lecturer in European Policy at the Netherlands School for Public Government.

Seth Cook: Senior Researcher in the Agroecology and China Teams at IIED. His recent work in the Agroecology team has included: sustainable diets; the linkages between agricultural biodiversity and dietary diversity; addressing declining soil fertility in South Asia through organic fertiliser value chains; and sustainable intensification. Projects in the China Team have included: case studies of sustainable agriculture in China; new perspectives on climate resilient dryland agricultural development; Chinese investment in Ethiopian agriculture; and China-Africa forest governance. Prior to joining IIED, Seth worked for IUCN and WWF in Beijing. Seth holds PhD and MA degrees from Yale University in environmental studies.

William Chilufya: Hivos Southern Africa Regional Advocacy Manager for Sustainable Diets. He leads the advocacy and campaign on safe, nutritious, environmental friendly, accessible and healthy food. Previously, he worked as Country Coordinator of the Zambia Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance (CSO-SUN).  Chilufya was instrumental in organizing civil society around Scaling Up Nutrition in Zambia. His untiring efforts with the CSO-SUN have rewarded him with being an authority on discussions surrounding raising the profile of nutrition in Zambia, within civil society and beyond. William has managed to marshal attention to Nutrition through social media, and was indicated in 2014 by the Guardian Newspaper of the UK as one of the top ten people on Twitter shaping policy and practice on nutrition and development.  Further, he was recognized as one of the ten ‘Transform Nutrition Champions’ for 2015. Email:

The session will be moderated by James Lomax. He has been the Sustainable Food Systems and Agriculture Programme Officer in UN Environment's Division of Technology, Industry and Economics based in Paris, France since 2009. James leads work on mainstreaming sustainable consumption and production practices from 'farm to flush' in the agriculture and food sector. He has pioneered the idea of systems thinking in the food and agriculture sector where nutrition, waste, environmental externalities and livelihoods must be considered if a shift to more sustainable food systems is to be realised.