Expert group meeting on population, food security, nutrition and sustainable development

28 October 2020 to 30 October 2020

(Virtual meeting)  

Overview 

The United Nations Commission on Population and Development (CPD) was to address the special theme “Population, food security, nutrition and sustainable development” at its fiftythird session in 2020. In preparation for the session, the Population Division prepared the report of the Secretary-General on population, food security, nutrition and sustainable development, which was issued in February 20201. Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Commission was not able to hold its formal session at the end of March 2020. The Commission decided to postpone a full consideration of the theme to its fifty-fourth
session in 2021.

The report prepared for the 2020 session focused on four broad themes:

  • Concepts, measures and state of food security and nutrition
  • Nutrition, food security and population health, including diets, nutritional habits and burden of disease; hunger and undernutrition; and overweight and obesity
  • Population growth, food consumption and sustainability
  • Rural development, population movements and settlement patterns.

To inform preparation of an updated report of the Secretary-General for the 2021 session, the Population Division of UN DESA will convene an expert group meeting on the theme, to be held virtually from 28 to 30 October 2020. The expert group should advise on 1) elements where new data or analysis has become available in 2020; 2) elements that should receive greater attention in the new report; and 3) evidence for impacts of COVID-19 in each area. 

Documents 

Organization of work 

DAY 1: Wednesday 28 October

 

INTRODUCTION, NEW EVIDENCE AND COVID-19 IMPACTS

The 54th session of the Commission on Population and Development (19-23 April 2021) will consider the special theme “Population, food security, nutrition and sustainable development”. The first day of the expert group meeting will provide an introduction to the Commission’s deliberations on the theme; highlight new data on food security, nutrition and health; and review the impacts of COVID-19 on various aspects of food security and nutrition.

 

8:00 - 8:45am

Session I. Introduction and scene setting 

Moderator: Cheryl Sawyer, Population Division/DESA

This session will give background on the Commission on Population and Development, its mandate, the topics covered in the previous report of the Secretary-General on the theme, and the questions to be addressed in preparation for the 54th session in 2021. The session will also outline synergies of the Commission’s discussion of the special theme with other United Nations processes upcoming in 2021, including the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and the United Nations Food Systems Summit.

 

8:45 - 9:55am

Session II. Food security, nutrition and health

Moderator: Sandile Simelane, UNFPA

This session will present new data on food security and nutrition that has become available during 2020 and also new analysis of the affordability of healthy diets. In keeping with key focuses of the ICPD Programme of Action, it will also look at maternal and child nutrition and health, including impacts of COVID-19.

 

10:00 - 11:00am

Session III. COVID-19 and food security 

Moderator: Vladimira Kantorova, Population Division/DESA

This session will address various pathways of impacts of Covid-19 on food security and nutrition. It will include a general overview as well as targeted presentations on value chains, food security in crisis situations, and impacts on migration and remittances.

 

DAY 2: Thursday 29 October 

 

FUTURE OUTLOOK FOR FOOD SYSTEMS – HAS COVID-19 CHANGED ANY ASSUMPTIONS? 

The second day of the meeting will discuss the future outlook for various aspects of food systems, considering both a broader long-term view and new considerations raised by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

8:00 - 9:00am

Session I. Future outlook for food systems, climate and environment 

Moderator: Pierre Boileau, UNEP

This session will look at environmental impacts of food systems, interrelationships with climate change, sustainable diets and foresight scenarios for food and agriculture.

 

9:00 - 9:55am

Session II. Data including big data, innovation and technology

Moderator: Ronald Jansen, Statistics Division/DESA

The topics of technology, innovation and data (including big data) in food systems received limited focus in the 2020 report of the Secretary-General. This session will seek to draw out succinct messages and focus areas for the Commission’s attention.

 

10:00 - 11:00am

Session III. Food system transformation

Moderator: Luz Maria de Regil, WHO

This session examines selected aspects of changing food systems and their implications for livelihoods. Topics covered will include decent employment in rural areas; inequalities with a focus on the gender dimension; and impacts of rapid urbanization on rural areas.

 

DAY 3: Friday 30 October 

 

REGIONAL OUTLOOK

The third day of the meeting will bring together experts from different regions to examine selected aspects of population, food security, nutrition and sustainable development. The meeting will conclude with a general discussion of key messages and recommendations for the report of the Secretary-General.

 

8:00 - 9:30am

Session I. Key issues in selected regions

Moderator:  Katinka Weinberger, UNESCAP 

 

9:40 - 11:00am

Session II. Discussion and conclusions

Moderator: Cheryl Sawyer, DESA - Summary presentation
Participants from all three days are encouraged to join a final discussion on directions and key messages for the report of the Secretary-General.

 

Contributed Papers 

Background documents 

  • Report of the Secretary-General on population, food security, nutrition and sustainable development (E/CN.9/2020/2)
  • Report of the Secretary-General on programmes and interventions for the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development in the context of population, food security, nutrition and sustainable development (E/CN.9/2020/3)

Other resources