Across the globe, work is accelerating around the 2021 Food Systems Summit now set for September in New York in conjunction with the UN General Assembly. To ensure that food producer input is prominently represented in these discussions, Solutions from the Land (SfL) and the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) are teaming up to stage a series of “dialogues” for agricultural producers and their value chain partners.
The stated objective of the summit is to engage all citizens as food system stakeholders and bring about tangible, positive changes to the world’s food systems to achieve all of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a collection of interlinked global mega-goals – ending hunger, restoring clean water and curbing climate change among them – set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly to be achieved by 2030.
Achieving these goals poses immense challenges, and as the UN’s Secretary General has made clear, they will require – with the utmost urgency – the development of sustained and meaningful action at all levels to reach them. That includes obtaining the views and contributions from as wide a range of interests as quickly as possible so they can be shape the bold actions that will be launched at the Summit.
Given the enormity of this global UN initiative and the speed at which it is moving, SfL and the USSEC have formed a planning team composed of a diverse cross section of food producer organizations. The team’s mission is to design a series of dialogues through which producers can efficiently and effectively advance their input on meeting these challenges to our food system in a proactive and constructive way.
Anticipated outcomes of these lead-up dialogues are straightforward and include significant commitment to action, with measurable outcomes and impacts that enable achievement of the SDGs by 2030. The dialogues are also expected to dramatically elevate the public discourse about the importance of food systems leading to the achievement of the SDGs.
Other objectives the dialogues are expected to meet include the production of a high-level set of principles, established through the process, that will guide nations and other stakeholders to leverage the capacity of their food systems to support the SDGs. And they are expected to provide a system of follow-up and review that can drive new actions and results.
The dialogues being organized by SfL and the USSEC are among hundreds more being held in all parts of the world, promoting advocacy, communications and mobilization efforts. These efforts in turn will engage a wide range of constituencies to raise awareness, elevate the narrative and inspire action on food systems in support of the SDGs.
SfL’s work in the global food policy debate follows our participation in a national food summit staged last month by the USDA, which aimed to identify food system challenges from multiple perspectives. Representing a vast array of farmers, ranchers, forestland owners and others in the agricultural supply chain, we shared what we perceive to be the principal challenges to shoring up our food systems.
Ahead of our independent dialogue, we invite partners to contribute to the significant efforts already under way. These “game changing” ideas – action-oriented, innovative approaches – may transform global food systems to be more inclusive, sustainable, efficient, healthy and nutritious, all while improving food security and sustainably nourishing billions. Food producer voices in these conversations are critically important. We look forward to helping advance your messages and recommendations in the Food Systems Dialogues and once again at the Summit being prepared for later this year.