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11 Sep 2020

UN Food Systems Summit likely next year

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IISD
Food

The UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Summit, Agnes Kalibata, said five “action tracks” are at the center of the preparatory process for 2021 Food Systems Summit.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, who organized the briefing on 4 September 2020, said transforming food systems will be central to achieving the SDGs.

The Summit will be a “foundational element” of the Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs by 2030, Mohammed noted, citing the 2019 Global sustainable development Report’s finding that food systems and nutrition are key entry points for getting the world on a more sustainable trajectory. 

Kalibata said the Summit aims to raise public discourse around food systems and what we can do differently. More specifically, it will ensure access to safe, nutritious food for all; shift to sustainable consumption patterns by reducing waste and creating demand for healthy diets; boost “nature-positive production,” entailing reduced emissions and energy usage and protection of ecosystems; advance equitable livelihoods, including raising incomes and promoting decent work; and build resilience to vulnerabilities and shocks.

An action track is being established in each of these areas. The action tracks will be charged with developing “exemplary, game-changing, and systemic solutions.” Each track will include participants from the global north, the global south, and youth. The organizers are seeking expressions of interest in the five action tracks by 30 September 2020.

To make the event “both a people’s summit and a solutions summit,” several additional work streams and support structures are being established.

The Summit is currently anticipated to convene in September or October 2021. According to the organizers, the “best case scenario” is gathering Heads of State and leaders from around the world, but the Summit should also be prepared to take place virtually or in a hybrid format with one or more small, in-person events.

The Food Systems Summit is expected to result in a high-level call to action and a system of follow-up and review. It is being convened by the UN Secretary-General. The Rome-based UN agencies (World Food Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, and International Fund for Agricultural Development) are playing a leading role in organizing the event and the preparatory roadmap.

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