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Independent Evaluation of the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM)


IFAD contribution agreement no 2000001795 “Supporting Civil Society participation in the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS)”

Total value of project


Project team

Dr Priscilla Claeys, Dr Jessica Duncan (Wageningen University)


Wageningen University

Duration of project

January 2018 - July 2018


CSM logo

Project overview

The 2018 independent evaluation of the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) was conducted with the aim of assessing how the CSM is functioning in line with its founding document, guiding principles and mandate. As the Evaluation Team, we were tasked with evaluating key aspects of the CSM functioning in the context of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) as it is today, 8 years after the Reform, and 3 years after the last evaluation.

Project objectives

As per the terms of reference (ToRs), the evaluation addressed the following key dimensions:

  • The CSM internal dynamics: the internal ways of working of the CSM, the successes achieved and the challenges faced by its participating organizations across the different levels of articulation of their struggles.
  • The CSM external dynamics: the effectiveness and usefulness of the CFS global governance space for civil society organizations and social movements engaged in the CSM; this external dimension is analyzed in conjunction with a forward-looking vision for the CFS, enabling us to assess the role of the CSM in relation to a changing CFS.
  • The UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is the world’s leading platform addressing issues of hunger and food insecurity. CFS policy recommendations are elaborated through a participatory process involving 300 million small-scale food producers through the Civil Society and Indigenous People’s Mechanism (CSM). Yet the CSM is facing challenges to ensure the participation of marginalized groups in global governance. This research enabled the CSM to address these challenges by increasing the engagement of rural youth, the capacity of CSM Coordinators, the involvement of under-represented sub-regions and the CSM’s ability to monitor, leading to greater inclusion and diversity. It contributed to political change through the development of new norms that incorporate small-scale farmers’ concerns, enhancing the legitimacy, buy-in and implementation of CFS policy outputs.

  • Priscilla Claeys & Jessica Duncan (2018): Evaluation of the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) for relations with the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS), Full Report, August 2018. Available at:

    Jessica Duncan & Priscilla Claeys (2018). Politicizing food security governance through participation: opportunities and opposition. Food Security, 10, 6, 1411–1424. DOI: 10.1007/s12571-018-0852-x 

    Priscilla Claeys & Jessica Duncan (2018). ‘Do we need to categorize it? Reflections on constituencies and quotas as tools for negotiating difference in the global food sovereignty convergence space’, The Journal of Peasant Studies, 46, 7, 1477-1498. 

    Priscilla Claeys & Jessica Duncan (2019). Food sovereignty and convergence spaces. Political Geography. 75, 102045.

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