A Critical Week in Food

Many exciting developments in the week of the UN Food Systems Summit.

The UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) culminated with a high-level virtual event on 23 September, during the High-Level Week of the UN General Assembly. More than 51,000 people tuned in live from 193 countries. All the sessions and statements are available on-demand.

On the day of the Summit, heads of state from around the world pledged their support and shared their perspectives on the critical importance of food systems transformation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Other stakeholders, including representatives of youth, civil society, Indigenous Peoples, business, and academia, also took the stage, and shared their commitment and demands to action.

The Summit program highlighted some of the Coalitions emerging from the UNFSS process, including the Coalition on Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems for Children and All, which EAT is active in driving forward.

This video was used to present the Healthy Diets Coalition in the official Summit program:

EAT has also helped develop two other Coalitions that were presented at the Summit: the Food is Never Waste Coalition and the School Meals Coalition.

The UNFSS has already seen some exciting outcomes. Over 200 commitments from all kinds of stakeholders have so far been submitted to the UNFSS Commitment Registry, and over 100 countries have submitted their national pathways to sustainable food systems.

At the Summit, the USA pledged 10 billion USD to food systems initiatives over the next five years and official support to the Food is Never Waste Coalition. Ghana committed to a 40% increase in production of climate resilient varieties of diverse vegetables, legumes, and fruits using sustainable agriculture practices.

Furthermore, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged to spend 922 million USD on nutrition over the next five years. As part of the Zero Hunger Private Sector Pledge, 42 companies have so far pledged 345 million USD in 34 countries.

These are just some examples of outcomes the Summit process has helped mobilize.

The day before the Summit, EAT, along with the other UNFSS Action Track organizations, organized what some have referred to as the Youth Summit, a youth-centred virtual event titled Food is the Future.

The Food is the Future event showcased some of the work that has been done in the Action Tracks throughout the Summit process and looked ahead at the action required to bring about the change we need. Youth from all around the world shared their perspectives and challenged the ideas of experts and policymakers.

Food is the Future had two parts, each with the same program, but with different speakers – accommodating different time zones and featuring an inspiring diversity of perspectives.

The Food is the Future morning session can be viewed here:

Also available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Russian.

The Food is the Future afternoon session can be viewed here:

Also available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Russian.

In this critical week in food, EAT carried out a public engagement campaign…

The bulk of EAT’s official UN mandate as Chair of Action Track 2 is now completed. However, we continue to engage with the Coalitions and Initiatives emerging from the UNFSS process, and to build on the valuable networks, collaborative spirit, and trust forged throughout the process.

As the UN Secretary General says: Changing our food systems is not only possible, it is necessary, and it can only be done through partnerships.