UN Special Envoy invites all sectors of society to share their perspectives and solutions for food systems that are fit for the future.

25 November 2020, NAIROBI – The process allowing everyone around the world to contribute to a milestone UN event on food systems was today opened by the UN Special Envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit.

The Food Systems Summit Dialogues are critical to the engagement process and offer a purposeful and organized forum for stakeholders to come together to share evidence, experiences and new ideas to transform the way the world produces, consumes and disposes of food.

There are three types of Dialogues: UN Member State, Global Events, and Independent, with this last one allowing individuals and institutions to hold their own Dialogue within their own communities.

Throughout the process, the Dialogues will feed in to the Summit’s five priority areas, or Action Tracks, and the preparatory work of its scientific and advisory groups to ensure a dynamic and harmonized global push to leverage changes in our food systems to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Dialogue participants can step forward to indicate how they will contribute, with a view to foster new actions and partnerships and amplify existing initiatives.

“I am delighted to announce the start of the Food Systems Summit Dialogues because this is an exciting opportunity to share the floor with everyone who cares about making food systems more equitable and sustainable,” said Dr. Agnes Kalibata, the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit. “The Summit will only be effective at setting out the pathway to 2030 if we successfully leverage the collective knowledge and experience of the broadest possible cross-section of the population.”

The Summit process will draw on the best evidence, ideas, and experiences from around the world to inform new, more sustainable directions for food systems. The Food Systems Summit Dialogues use a standardized approach to convening, curating and facilitating structured conversations among groups with different perspectives on how to get their food systems to work for the common good and that are based on local realities.

The Secretariat for the Food Systems Summit has brought onboard a team in the Geneva-based social enterprise 4SD, led by Dr. David Nabarro, to oversee this ambitious Food Systems Summit Dialogues process. 

“We all have to be part of the movement for change if we are to improve our food systems. As we widen our connections and deepen our interactions through a multi-stakeholder dialogue process, our perspectives shift – we establish new forms of alliance and new solutions. With the Food Systems Summit Dialogues, we have established a process of change that can accommodate multiple perspectives and make sure that we all hear as many voices as possible.” Dr. Nabarro said.

The first Global Food Systems Summit Dialogue will take place on December 1, hosted by the 3rd global conference of the Sustainable Food Systems Programme of the UN One Planet network. The Dialogue will aim to yield recommendations on actionable measures that can address the complex, interrelated challenges in our food systems across a range of identified priority areas: collaborative action mechanisms, scientific challenges of food systems metrics, holistic policies, investing in transformative initiatives, public procurement, and consumer behaviour change. The event will be co-convened by Dr. Kalibata, Costa Rica, Switzerland and WWF. The One Planet Sustainable Food Systems conference will share the outcomes of this Dialogue as an early contribution into relevant action tracks of the Food Systems Summit.

The Food Systems Summit is convened by the Secretary-General of the UN as part of the Decade of Action to achieve the SDGs by 2030. The Summit will help establish the future direction for food systems in our world and inspire action to help all people get there. With only 10 years remaining, many of the 17 SDGs remain far out of reach.

With its activities spread over more than a year, the Summit will bring together key players from the worlds of science, business, policy, healthcare and academia, as well as farmers, indigenous people, youth organizations, consumer groups, environmental activists, and more. This is an opportunity to engage all citizens as food system stakeholders, and bring about tangible, positive changes to the world’s food systems.


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For more information, please contact Katie Taft at katie.taft@un.org.