Following the opening by CFS Chairman Mario Arvelo, the new General Director of FAO Qu Dongyu addressed the CFS Plenum for the first time since taking office on 1 August 2019. He called on the member states to participate in the "hand-in-hand" initiative, with which the FAO wants to provide an impulse to eradicte hunger and malnutrition. In his statement, Gilbert Houngbo, IFAD Director General, called in particular for the strengthening of small farms’ resilience. Michael Beasley, WFP Director General, emphasised the importance of the humanitarian-peace nexus and the need for greater involvement of the private sector.
CFS 46 began with the presentation of FAO’s 2019 State of Food and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report and followed by a press conference to launch another report on The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) 2019 Report under the theme of "Moving forward on food loss and waste reduction." The SOFI 2019 report presented the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) for the first time as a new indicator for measuring access to food. Many Member States called for action to transform food systems, e.g. through fiscal or food price policies, with a necessary focus on consumer nutrition. At the same time, they also expressed their concern about the fact that there is an increasing hunger figures over the past three years although there has been progress in reducing the global prevalence of malnutrition). In stressing the urgency of transforming food systems, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, called for various measures such as innovation in the context of climate change, increased investment in small farms and the promotion of gender equality.
One of CFS-46’s central agenda items dealt with the current status of the drafting of the voluntary guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition, which are to be adopted at the 47th CFS in 2020. The Finnish EU Presidency welcomed this process and stressed the importance of a systems-based approach and the governance of food systems. The sustainability of food systems is significantly influenced by their outcomes in terms of nutritional status and health. The Food System Summit 2021 at the FAO was often cited as a milestone for a change in the global food system.