CFS Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS-RAI)

Responsible investment in agriculture and food systems is essential to improve food security and nutrition.

Today almost one in eight people still suffer from hunger or malnutrition. The majority of these 800 million people live in rural areas. In order to make a definitive improvement to food security, there must be much greater investment in agriculture and food systems. However, not all investments contribute equally to improving the living conditions of the poorest populations, strengthening agricultural systems and protecting natural resources. There must be responsible investment in order to meet the challenges posed by population growth, changing consumer behaviour and climate change, and to successfully overcome hunger and malnutrition.

In the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), Switzerland led negotiations to draw up principles for responsible investments in agriculture and food systems (Responsible Agricultural Investments, RAI), which were adopted by the CFS at its 41st session in October 2014.

The Principles grew out of a collaborative process in which all relevant actors (governments, civil society, the private sector, international organisations, private foundations and research institutions) were involved. That is why these Principles have wide support.
Their aim is to promote responsible investments which improve food security and contribute towards wider realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security. This voluntary instrument is aimed at all actors involved in investment in agricultural food systems and offers practical direction.

The 10 Principles at a glance

  1. Contribute to food security and nutrition.
  2. Contribute to sustainable and inclusive economic development and the eradication of poverty.
  3. Foster gender equality and women’s empowerment.
  4. Engage and empower youth.
  5. Respect tenure of land, fisheries and forests, and access to water.
  6. Conserve and sustainably manage natural resources, increase resilience and reduce disaster risks.
  7. Respect cultural heritage and traditional knowledge, and support diversity and innovation.
  8. Promote safe and healthy agriculture and food systems.
  9. Incorporate inclusive and transparent governance structures, processes, and grievance mechanisms.
  10. Assess and address impacts and promote accountability.

The CFS adopted the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT) in 2012. These Guidelines supported fair governance of tenure of land, i.e. giving access to and control over land and other natural resources to the poorest rural populations in developing countries. The Principles complement the VGGT Guidelines.

Last modification 19.10.2020

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