Farmer leaders of Solutions from the Land have formally voiced their support of today’s UN Food Systems Summit (FSS) 2021, a New York-based virtual event aimed at leveraging the power of food systems to drive the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The summit also has the aim of getting the world back on track to achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
The UN SDGs for 2030 – an end to hunger, a restoration of water resources and a curbing of climate change, among others – conjure a bold vision that is possible only through an ambitious framework that brings humankind together to build a better world, with systematic international cooperation and strategic design to bring human systems into alignment and harmony with natural systems.
In a declaration of FSS support issued earlier this month, SfL has committed to inspire agriculture and forestry leaders to help direct the broader discussion of sustainable food systems and climate change, including adaptation and mitigation; mobilize thought leaders to advocate for needed changes in food system land use practices, research, education and policy; and educate ag and forestry leaders on the potential impacts of climate change on food systems in ways relevant to their daily lives. SfL leaders will also work to equip producers with the tools and knowledge they need to make informed decisions and manage new risks under changing conditions.
In the lead up to today’s summit, SfL staged a food systems dialogue back in April when it engaged a cross-section of farmers and ranchers in discussing the optimal use of environmental resources in food production, processing and distribution. These deliberations led to the development of a set of FSS guiding principles that will enable food systems to support the timely attainment of the SDGs. The principles include keeping farmers at the center of all discussions and decision-making; looking beyond a simplistic, “silver-bullet” solution for enhancing the resilience of agriculture and food systems; and relying on science-based decision making in adopting climate-smart practices for sustainable agriculture and global food production, among others.
SfL believes that the ever-tightening constraints on natural resources makes raising the productivity of those resources the only viable option to meet the food security needs of current and future generations. Meeting the rapidly growing nutritional needs of the global population can only be done through sustainable intensification of production if the world is to avoid bankrupting farmers and consumers – as well as nature.
In support of the Food Systems Summit’ desired outcomes, SfL leaders have joined with likeminded organizations and countries in endorsing the U.S. government’s formation of a Coalition of Action focused on growing sustainable production. The coalition is essential to attaining the SDGs, all while going beyond single-approach silos and delivering on the potential offered by the growth of agricultural productivity. The coalition aims to accelerate progress across multiple sustainability objectives.
While growth in agricultural productivity is a necessary part of the solution, SfL leaders recognize that it is not sufficient to ensure all desired outcomes. Delivering on the multi-objective potential of ag productivity growth requires a holistic, systems approach to resource conservation and efficiency. This week’s summit will be advancing a means to help elevate sustainable productivity. We encourage other stakeholders to join SfL and support action that can boost productivity while advancing social, economic and environmental objectives.