22 September 2021

First-ever UN Food Systems Summit

On 23 September 2021, the UN General Assembly in New York hosted the first-ever UN Food Systems Summit. During the UN General Assembly High-level Week, UN Secretary-General António Guterres lead the historic Food Systems Summit with the aim of transforming global food systems to achieve Sustainable Development Goals set out for 2030. The focus of the summit was on ambitious new actions, exploring innovative solutions, and revolutionize present-day global food systems to make them more sustainable for all. Delivering progress on the Agenda 2030 front was the main aim of all UN Member States and other stakeholder groups – including food producers, indigenous peoples, civil society, experts and private sector entities. 

UN Secretary-General led the call-for-action for the UN Member States, local governments, companies and other stakeholder groups to make bold applicable outcomes and raise awareness over the need to bring reform in our global food systems. Especially now with the increasing impacts of climate change further deteriorating global food systems, the need to bring reform is urgent. Present-day incompetence and inequalities in global food systems play a critical role in giving rise to conflict, as food insecurity is often the underlying condition paving the way for the eruption of conflict. Therefore, the overarching goal of bringing reforms to global food summits is not just to eradicate hunger, but to achieve accountable and sustainable food systems that could help to bring significant progress across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. 

The summit was successful in engaging hundreds of thousands of people from around the world as over 51,000 viewers tuned in from 193 countries. More remarkably, the Food Systems Summit recorded 231 commitments across different constituencies in the forms of partnerships and coalitions aiming to transform global food systems. The commitments were made in Five Action Areas that have in the process emerged as primary areas with the potential to accelerate action and deliver on the 2030 Agenda. In the build-up to the event, the Summit received nearly 2,200 ideas and submissions by various stakeholder groups such as summit actors and constituencies, from representatives of national (and sub-national) governments to civil society, youth, food producers, research and academia, indigenous peoples, the private sector, UN system organisations and other development partners. The submissions were subsequently assessed and consolidated into a smaller number of game-changing propositions and then thematically classified into 4 solution clusters. these clusters present a host of action steps toward a more sustainable food system and can be viewed by all.

The Planetary Security Initiative followed the developments leading up to the Summit. Holistic solutions to improve food systems that meet the challenges of climate change are high on the priority agenda of the Planetary Security Initiative. 


Watch the Food Systems Summit here 

Photo credit: NATO/Flickr