To help ensure that farmer and rancher experiences, insight and recommendations are elevated in the discussions leading up to a UN Food Systems Summit (FSS) this fall, Solutions from the Land (SfL) and a group of collaborating agricultural organizations are holding a dialogue April 6.
The objective of the dialogue – a virtual event that will run from 9-11:30 a.m. – is to engage a cross section of farmers and ranchers in a discussion of topics to be considered under an FSS “action track” aimed at optimizing the use of environmental resources in food production, processing and distribution, thereby reducing biodiversity loss, pollution, water use, soil degradation and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Boost Nature Positive Production at Sufficient Scale,” the third of five action tracks laid out for the global summit, aims to deepen understanding of the constraints and opportunities facing farmers and enterprises along the food value chain. It will also strive to support food system governance that realigns incentives to reduce food losses and other negative environmental impacts.
Joining SfL in staging the dialogue are the Almond Board of California; Animal Agriculture Alliance; Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions; National Corn Growers Association; National Institute for Animal Agriculture; U.S. Grains Council; and the U.S. Soybean Export Council.
Underscoring the importance of input from agricultural stakeholders is the fact that this fall’s event will be the first global food summit in 25 years, and stakeholders across the globe are weighing in with their suggestions for changes to our food systems. Of critical importance in any discussion about the future of food systems are the voices of farmers and ranchers – the producers who make the investments, incur the risks and do the real work to grow the food that the world needs.
The critical nature of this fall’s summit and the work to be done at the April 6 dialogue is underscored in the fourth annual Global Report on Food Crises, which holds that the number of people across the globe suffering from hunger and malnutrition is rising. In the 55 countries that the survey covered, 135 million people were classified as being in the crisis or worse category; 183 million were classified as experiencing stressed conditions; 75 million children were stunted and another 17 million were suffering from wasting.
These tragic conditions, fueled by conflict, climate shocks and low economic activity, will likely deepen as the full impact of the current global pandemic is realized. In response to these and other challenges, the UN Secretary General plans to use the 2021 Food Systems Summit to:
- Dramatically elevate public discourse about the importance of food systems leading to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how to get the public working for people and the planet.
- Prompt significant action, with measurable outcomes that enable achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. This will include highlighting existing solutions and celebrating leaders in food systems transformation, as well as calling for new actions worldwide by different actors, including countries, cities, companies, civil society, citizens and food producers.
- Establish a high-level set of principles through the process that will guide Member States and other stakeholders to leverage their food systems capacity to support the SDGs. Distilled through all elements of the preparatory process, these principles will set an optimistic and encouraging vision in which food systems play a central role in building a fairer, more sustainable world.
- Establish a system of follow-up and review that will drive new actions and results; allow for the sharing of experiences, lessons, and knowledge; and incorporate new metrics for impact analysis.
“While food and agriculture may differ by region and locale, U.S. producers face challenges relating to economic, environment, and social sustainability and are equally invested in the Summit vision and objectives,” says SfL President Ernie Shea. “There is no one size fits all in agriculture. Each farm, notwithstanding its size, type or production style, plays a role – and each is interconnected through our food systems.
Solutions from the Land (SfL) builds and facilitates state, national and global initiatives and alliances through which farmers, ranchers, foresters and collaborating partners showcase examples of innovation and proactively advocate for policies, partnerships, investments and research that will enable agricultural landscapes to deliver near-term, cost-effective, integrated solutions to global mega-challenges: food and energy security; sustainable economic development; climate change and environmental improvement. For more on SfL, click here.