11 July 2023, New York: Addressing a high-level United Nations Townhall Meeting held in New York during the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) 2023 on Sustainable Development, under the theme “Overcoming the crises, driving transformation for the SDGs, and leaving no one behind,” FAO Director-General QU Dongyu today outlined six actions he said were needed to transform agrifood systems to make them more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable.
The HLPF held at the United Nations Headquarters under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), centered on discussing transformative policies and actions needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ahead of the 2023 SDG Summit in September. The COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts, including the war in Ukraine, the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and the many other challenges facing the world have contributed to reversing three decades of steady progress in poverty and hunger reduction.
“Taking stock of progress on achieving the SDGs is becoming an increasingly painful matter. In recent years, SDG Progress Reports have warned us that the world is off track to meeting most of the SDGs,” the FAO Director-General told participants during a panel discussion.
“The number of people suffering from food insecurity and malnutrition has been too high for too long, and better and innovative solutions are urgently needed. We need to transform our agrifood systems to meet the needs and demands of countries to ensure food security for all,” Qu stressed.
According to the FAO Director-General, going forward there is a need to: invest in the most vulnerable countries by improving their resilience – agriculture aid is about “long term development and short term recovery”; foster policies that increase productivity sustainably – this includes investment in innovation and new technology, especially automation and digital technologies; reduce food waste and losses; ensure more sustainable and efficient use of available fertilizers; improve water resources management; and, increase women’s empowerment.
UN Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking Moment
The Director-General also reminded participants that the UN Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking Moment will be held at FAO’s headquarters in Rome on 24-26 July , and that it will be an important occasion to further generate momentum for implementation at the national and sub-national level.
The HLPF is the pivotal UN platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs at the global level. The FAO Director-General participated as a panelist on food security trends and the follow-up process of the UN Food Systems Summit.
The event also saw the participation of, among others, Lachezara Stoeva, President of the Economic and Social Council, Li Junhua, Under-Secretary-General of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations, Catherine Mary Russell, Executive Director of UNICEF, Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Ovide Mercredi, Ambassador of the International Longevity Centre Canada, Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Coordinator of UN Regional Commissions, Steve Macfeely, Co-Chair of the Committee for the Chief Statisticians of the United Nations System, Director of Data and Analysis of WHO, Elham Youseffian, Inclusive Humanitarian Action and Disaster Risk Reduction Advisor, International Disability Alliance (MGoS).
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