ROME - On the second day of United Nations Food Systems Summit +2 it started with a special plenary session
led byUnited Nations Food Organization e
agriculture (FAO) who focused on the successes and challenges that
countries, organizations and other stakeholders have experimented towards agri-food systems transformation as set out at the first summit in 2021. "We need to find opportunities and solutions and take action to move forward. The question is, how to translate agri-food systems transformation into concrete action? That's why we need a debate among all of us, to share ideas," said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu, opening the session.
"Let's break down barriers and work together". Qu conveyed a message of unity, inviting countries to work together by sharing experiences and converting challenges into opportunities for change. “… Breaking down barriers to implementation means that we will have to do things differently: we have to change our business model, we have to change the way we work together,” he urged, recalling that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is only possible through the transformation of agri-food systems.
Food and agriculture interconnected. The director-general stressed that FAO continues to advocate for food and agriculture to be recognized as part of an interconnected system, while efforts to transform global agri-food systems cut across a range of sectors including agriculture, the climate crisis, biodiversity, trade and nutrition. "But often these different agendas are not aligned. Bottlenecks in governance processes and policies often hamper collective and coherent action, resulting in a gap between policy expectations and their impact on the ground," he warned, adding that while many solutions exist, they are often split into numerous overlapping and disjointed efforts, with no synergies.
More coordination. To address this, he said, we need to scale up coordination efforts, work differently by linking short- and long-term efforts, and actively seek synergies in solutions. "For example, greener cities not only help improve productivity, but lead to better nutrition, a better environment and better lives. Addressing food losses and waste leads to greater efficiency for the economy, improving access to healthy diets, efficient use of our water and land, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions," he explained, urging attendees to actively seek out these synergies and work collectively in science and innovation, data, finance and governance and other related fields.
Nepalese Prime Minister. Sharing, solutions and bottlenecks. The event featured a keynote speech by Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who said that since 2021, his country has been holding national and provincial level dialogues to examine existing food system vulnerabilities and the design and pathway to transform them. He added that they are currently focusing on improving agricultural productivity by supporting local agriculture and investing in better storage systems and minimizing waste. They also aim to revitalize local indigenous food systems and revive ancient food grains such as millet, among a number of other measures and solutions. Their biggest challenge, he said, was a funding gap.
A voice from Bangladesh. The event also saw panel discussions including Mohammad Abdur Razzaque, Minister of Agriculture of Bangladesh; Mariam Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment; Jennifer Moffitt, US Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs; and Estherine Fotabong, director of Agriculture and Food Systems and Environmental Sustainability at the African Union Development Agency.
"Advancing technologies". Among other things, they highlighted the importance of advancing technology, supporting farmers, establishing partnerships and adapting to climate change to advance the transformation of agri-food systems. They also recognized some budding solutions such as young people growing their own food, special subsidies for farmers to grow a variety of crops, and increased peer-to-peer exchanges. FAO is helping its members advance these solutions and address its commitment to work as ONE FAO, to optimize resources, maximize outcomes and achieve tangible impacts at scale.