Photo of commercial fisherman in the Atlantic Ocean

Levers of Change

A lever of change can be understood as an area of work that has the potential to deliver wide-ranging positive change beyond its immediate focus. With regards to the Food Systems Summit, four levers of change have been identified: human rights, innovation, finance, and gender equality and women’s empowerment. Each of these levers cuts across all five of the Summit’s Action Tracks and each has the power to bring about significant progress, on both food systems transformation and the achievement of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Youth empowerment is also a top priority of the Summit; as such, it is incorporated at all levels of the Summit content and process. Young people are represented as Vice-Chairs in all five Action Tracks, working together with the Youth Champions and Food Systems Heroes. On multiple continents, self-organized youth constituencies led by young champions are actively engaging in all Action Track debates. Through regional forums and a variety of advocacy, social and educational activities before and during the Summit, these young leaders will ensure that young people have a strong voice in shaping the future of sustainable food systems.

The four levers of change described below are relevant across all of the SDGs and are critical to the transformation of food systems in the coming decade. The communities engaged in the levers will identify key issues that deserve attention within the Summit’s Scientific work, Dialogues and Action Tracks.


The gender community has identified seven prominent issues that can elevate gender equality, women’s empowerment and the engagement of women across all Action Tracks: women’s rights to land; economic empowerment of women in food systems; unpaid care and agricultural labour burden; women’s leadership in food systems; access to technologies (including digital); changing norms and addressing institutional barriers; and gender-responsive agricultural and food systems policies.

Human Rights

The human rights lever of change aims to help ensure that human rights and law play a central role in all Summit efforts and the outcomes. It will help bring a systematic understanding of the existing policy instruments, legal frameworks, resolutions and treaties that are relevant to the Summit’s efforts. The Summit’s work on human rights will focus on action and implementation, and on identifying new ways to build upon the foundations of multilateralism and human rights.


The finance community will work with Action Tracks on areas including assessing investment needs, creating incentives, identifying solutions that address inclusion, and managing risk. Across all Action Tracks, the objectives of the Summit’s finance work are to leverage substantial resources, de-risk innovations, accelerate change and mobilize private capital, including from financial institutions, business and consumers. The finance community further identified specific questions and issues to be brought into discussions for each Action Track, and especially when participants are shaping solutions.


The innovation community will bring together public, private and social sector innovation partners in a commitment to make innovation a significant enabling factor for food systems transformation and the achievement of all 17 SDGs, both before and during the Summit. The innovation community has identified a twin-track approach that supports specific Action Tracks and new initiatives, while also promoting an agenda that cuts across business models, scientific research, technological advances and social change. Emerging areas of focus include data and digital, scientific and technological, national and regional innovation ecosystems, as well as societal and institutional innovation models, including traditional and Indigenous knowledge.