UN Secretary General’s Food Systems Summit

September 2021, dates/times to be announced

In September, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres will convene the UN’s inaugural Food Systems Summit, which ‘will awaken the world to the fact that we all must work together to transform the way the world produces, consumes and thinks about food.’

One of the UN’s first big events of the decade, the 2021 Food Systems Summit is aimed at ‘launch[ing] bold new actions to deliver progress on all 17 SDGs, each of which relies to some degree on healthier, more sustainable and equitable food systems’, the UN states.

Dubbed ‘a people’s summit’, the solutions-focused event is designed for ‘everyone, everywhere’. It will bring together leading voices from science, business, policy, healthcare and academia along with farmers, consumer groups, representatives of indigenous peoples, youth organisations, environmental activists and other stakeholders committed to wide-ranging collective action to transform food systems across the globe.

These key players will convene before, during and after the Summit to contribute to its agenda and help develop strategies by which to bring about tangible, positive changes to existing systems of food production, supply and consumption.

The people’s summit is ‘not just as a point in time in September 2021, but … a year-long global engagement process to bring solutions to reali[s]ing the Sustainable Development Goals’,  Frick says.

‘A broad understanding is emerging that our food systems are a key factor in our environmental planetary emergency: food, as a system, is a massive contributor to global heating, the number one killer of biodiversity, the biggest reason for land use change and the largest consumer of freshwater.

‘Our food systems expos[e] the profound inequalities and injustices in our global society. Three billion people cannot afford a healthy diet and are suffering from the consequences of hunger or malnutrition. Vulnerability to the pandemic is but one example of the sufferings of a staggering 40 per cent of the planet’s population.’

Watch the official UN’s Food Systems Summit video below.

Summit aims and objectives

Guided by five Action Tracks, the UN’s Summit process aims to deliver the following outcomes:

  1. Generate significant action and measurable progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, identifying solutions and leaders and issuing a call for action at all levels of the food system, including national and local governments, companies and citizens.
  2. Raise awareness and elevate public discussion about how reforming our food systems can help us all achieve the SDGs by implementing reforms that benefit both people and the planet.
  3. Develop principles of engagement to guide governments and other stakeholders looking to leverage their food systems to support the SDGs – principles that ‘set an optimistic and encouraging vision in which food systems play a central role in building a fairer, more sustainable world.
  4. Create a system of follow-up and review to ensure that Summit outcomes continue to drive new actions and progress. This system will allow for the sharing of experiences, lessons and knowledge; it will also measure and analyse the Summit’s impact.

Further information

For further information on the Action Tracks, ancillary events and other ways to get involved in the lead-up to September’s Summit, view our summary, or visit the official UN Food Systems Summit website.

Lead image: UN Secretary General’s Food Systems Summit logo. Credit: United Nations