Global Agriculture

FAO at the UN Food Systems Summit+2 Stocktaking Moment

20 July 2023, Rome: Around 2000 participants from over 160 countries, including over 20 Heads of State and Government, will attend the UN Food Systems Summit+2 Stocktaking Moment (UNFSS+2) at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) headquarters in Rome on 24-26 July.

The event convened by the United Nations Secretariat, and hosted by Italy, in collaboration with the Rome-based UN Agencies (FAO, IFAD, WFP), will be officially inaugurated on Monday 24 July at 14:30 CEST during a high-level opening led by the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, and the Prime Minister of Italy, Giorgia Meloni.

The opening segment will also have the participation of FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, and several Heads of Government, including the Prime Ministers of Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Samoa and Nepal.

Over three days, the high-level meeting aims to create a conducive space for countries to review progress on the commitments to action made at the first Food Systems Summit in 2021, and identify successes, enduring bottlenecks and establishing priorities.

‘’The UNFSS+2 stocktaking meeting will be an important occasion to further strengthen political commitment and pathways for implementation at global, national and sub-national levels.  The historic task we are facing is clear: defining a holistic, coordinated and science based approach to make our agrifood systems more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable, for better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life, leaving no one behind,” the FAO Director-General said.

The event will also be an opportunity for countries to outline the work required to address some of the challenges they face to transform their agrifood systems. These include the impacts of conflicts and climate change as well as access to finance and other resources.

The Summit comes at a time when up to 783 million people are facing hunger in the world, 122 million more since 2019 due to the pandemic and repeated climate shocks and conflicts, according to the latest State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report.

The capacity of people to access healthy diets has also deteriorated across the globe: more than 3.1 billion people in the world – or 42 percent – were unable to afford a healthy diet in 2021.

“If we project that to the future, we will have 600 million people chronically undernourished by 2030, far from the goal of Zero Hunger,” FAO Chief Economist, Máximo Torero, warned during a recent media briefing on the UNFSS+2.

FAO’s role

The 2021 UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) in New York, and its Pre-Summit, hosted by Italy at FAO headquarters, envisioned a global transformative future for food systems, encompassing shifts in production, storage, consumption, and waste management. The landmark event ended with the tagline “From New York, back to Rome” and adopted, for the first time, a comprehensive approach towards agrifood systems transformation, to fight poverty and hunger, reduce inequalities and preserve the environment.

Following the UNFSS, the Secretary-General committed the UN system to establish a Coordination Hub, led and hosted by FAO, that collaborates with and draws upon wider UN system capacities to support follow-up to the Food Systems Summit.

The FAO Chief Economist noted that while other summits on agriculture were held in the past, the 2021 event was the first Food Systems Summit in history.

“The difference with this system approach is that we are not only taking into account the goal of ending hunger—that is, of course, our priority— but also other impacts that the agrifood systems have linked to climate, the environment, water, and soil”, he said.

FAO—which pledged to take a leadership role in following the implementation of the commitments adopted at the UNFSS—  has been leading the global call for the transformation of agrifood systems, including through its Strategic Framework 2022-31.

FAO has been also using its flagship programmes – such as the Hand-in-Hand Initiative and the Food Coalition – as important mechanisms for accelerating the transformation of agri-food systems at a country level and mobilizing the required investment.

For the past two years, the Organization has been working with nations providing its technical expertise to create national pathways for agrifood systems transformation and convening regional meetings ahead of the UNFSS+2 Stocktaking moment.

“It is really important that we focus on this and try to work with countries to create this transformation by looking at all these different elements. The role of FAO is to support this joint effort with the Italian government and the United Nations and try to make this into a reality. One of FAO’s major contributions as a mean of implementation is the Hand in Hand initiative” the FAO Chief Economist underscored.

According to an advanced UN report ahead of the UNFSS+2, following the first summit, 122 countries embraced national pathways towards this transformation, and 155 appointed food systems national convenors, signifying a strong interest and commitment to the cause.

Preparations for the Summit included a remarkable amount of global participation and engagement, with 101 countries submitting voluntary country progress reports. These reports provided valuable insights into the ongoing efforts and advancements being made worldwide to revolutionize food systems.

The UNFSS+2 Stocktaking Moment takes place ahead of several other important global gatherings. These include the SDG Summit, the UN Climate Conference COP28, and the G7 Summit.

FAO led-events

FAO and its team at the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub will lead a series of special events and high-level dialogues related to important topics related to transforming agrifood systems, including food waste, fertilizers, food prices, climate, urbanization, and science and technology.

Monday 24 July (All times in CEST)

09:30-10:30      Monitoring global food systems

10:30-11:30      The true cost of food

11:00-12:30      How do coalitions support governments

11:30-12:30      Fertilizers: Meeting short-term needs while working towards sustainable solutions

16:30-18:00      Leveraging urbanization for food systems transformation

Tuesday 25 July

09:30-10:30      Blue transformation: Advancing aquatic food systems for people, planet and prosperity

09:30-12:30      Food systems transformation in practice: Successes, challenges and the way forward

11:30-12:30      Governance for agrifood systems transformation

14:30-16:00      Food systems for prosperity: Inclusive growth through agrifood systems

15:30-16:30      Value chain for resilient agrifood systems

16:00-17:30      Science, technology and innovation

18:00-19:00      Small islands developing states event

Wednesday, 26 July

09:30-10:30      Trade for agrifood systems transformation

09:30-11:00      Partnerships for food systems

10:30-11:30      Aero Space technology for food systems transformation

11:00-12:30      Empowering National Convenors towards 2025: Systems Leaders for transformative action

14:30-16:00      Food loss and waste prevention and reduction: A key lever for agrifood systems transformation

The Full programme and a list of side events are also available here.

All sessions of the official programme, as well as many side events, will be broadcasted on the UNFSS+2 virtual campus.

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