BY ASHIM SANYAL, COO CONSUMER VOICE
A food system is defined as a system that embraces all the elements (environment, people, inputs, processes, infrastructure, institutions, markets and trade) and activities that relate to the production, processing, distribution and marketing, preparation and consumption of food and the outputs of these activities
UN Secretary-General António Guterres will convene a UN Food Systems Summit to be held during the UN General Assembly in New York on September 23 as part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The Summit will launch bold new actions to deliver progress on all 17 SDGs, each of which relies to some degree on healthier, more sustainable and equitable food systems. The Summit process aims to deliver the following outcomes:
- Generate significant action and measurable progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Summit will succeed in identifying solutions and leaders, and issuing a call for action at all levels of the food system, including national and local governments, companies and citizens.
- Raise awareness and elevate public discussion about how reforming our food systems can help us all to achieve the SDGs by implementing reforms that are good for people and planet.
- Develop principles to guide governments and other stakeholders looking to leverage their food systems to support the SDGs. These principles will set an optimistic and encouraging vision in which food systems play a central role in building a fairer, more sustainable world.
- Create a system of follow-up and review to ensure that the Summit’s outcomes continue to drive new actions and progress. This system will allow for the sharing of experiences, lessons and knowledge; it will also measure and analyse the Summit’s impact.
The following UN agencies have been selected as anchoring agencies for each action track:
- FAO – Action track 1: Ensuring access to safe and nutritious food for all
- WHO – Action track 2: Shifting to sustainable consumption patterns
- UNCCD – Action track 3: Boosting nature-positive production at scale
- IFAD – Action track 4: Advancing equitable livelihoods
- WFP – Action track 5: Building resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks and stresses
Time to revamp the global food system
The global food system needs a revamp and science is one lens for making sure that changes are integrated and collectively deliver better outcomes. The Summit is a great opportunity to harness science and technology to improve nutrition, safeguard the environment, and focus on move into setting actions and targets. Advancing a policy framework and innovative solutions to improve access to healthy and sustainable food will require multi-sectoral engagement.
Access to healthy, nutritious food is a human right and yet it remains out of reach for far too many. In this Decade of Action, there is much to do, and it will require new partnerships and coalitions of actors who believe in overcoming the challenges in front of us. This Global Inter-Faith Summit Dialogue will focus on building and strengthening the coalitions between faith and secular groups to achieve food systems transformation.
Good food keeps us healthy. It helps us reach our potential. It strengthens our communities, powers our economies, and protects our planet. But not everyone gets good food every day, and this has to change. The Summit is bringing together everyone – farmers, Indigenous Peoples, young people and consumers from across the globe – to carve a path to a world where good food for all is a reality.
Is Summit’s Action Track on the right path?
The Summit’s Action Tracks offer stakeholders from a wide range of backgrounds a space to share and learn, with a view to fostering new actions and partnerships and amplifying existing initiatives. The Action Tracks are aligned with the Summit’s five objectives. Importantly, the Action Tracks are not separate, nor do they sit in silos. Each Action Track is designed to address possible trade-offs with other tracks, and to identify solutions that can deliver wide-reaching benefits.
Food Systems Summit Dialogues offer a powerful opportunity for people everywhere to have a seat at the table at this milestone UN Summit. Dialogues bring together a diversity of stakeholders, including voices that are seldom heard, and provide an important opportunity for participants to debate, collaborate, and take action towards a better future. They give us the chance to connect, meet new partners, inspire and be inspired.
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