From the Convenor’s Pen

The UN Food System Summit 2021 called by UN Secretary-General António Guterres provides a unique opportunity to the Member States to reflect on the future of food systems and identify innovative ideas and bold actions that can transform these and help countries in achieving SDGs 2030.

The Summit revolves around five Action Tracks to achieve the SDGs by 2030 and shape pathways of actions to transform the way we produce and consume the food. These are:

  1. Ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all.
  2. Shift to sustainable consumption patterns.
  3. Boost nature-positive production.
  4. Advance equitable livelihoods.
  5. Build resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks, and stress.

The Government of India has volunteered for Action Track 4 - “Advance Equitable Livelihoods” but not limited to this Action Track alone. India will suitability engage and contribute in all the Action Tracks to showcase the best practices and provide ‘game-changing ideas’ for the betterment of agri-food systems globally based on her policies, programmatic interventions through an Inter-Ministerial collaboration which contributed to India’s agriculture growth trajectory.

Issues around the food system are being debated widely in India by national and sub national governments, academic institutions, practitioners, civil society organizations, Prof Ramesh Chand Member (Agriculture), NITI AayogPage 2 political groups, and other stakeholders like farmers, the private sector, women groups, and youth organizations. The knowledge generated in these fora is immensely useful for shaping the future of the food system in the country and globally. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has constituted an interdisciplinary group to facilitate cross-sectoral consultations to prepare for India’s participation in the UN Food Systems Summit 2021.

State-level and National Dialogues have been planned to get views of diverse stakeholders to devise pathways for a sustainable future of the food system that make a significant contribution towards SDGs.

All stakeholders with a common interest in further sustainable food systems are invited to contribute to shaping the pathways and suggest game-changing ideas, based on their knowledge, wisdom, and experience. I suggest some leading questions, though not limited to these alone, as follows:

  1. What should the National pathways be for ensuring sustainable food systems in the coming decade in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development?
  2. are the levers and opportunities to bring pathways to life? This should include inter alia practices, policies, actions, infrastructure, institutions, partnerships and commitments.
  3. How to cope with shocks and vulnerabilities caused by unprecedented events like COVID-19?
  4. What national ambitions and efforts are needed to achieve that?
  5. How to manage damage to Nature caused by food systems?
  6. What are the changes needed and mechanisms to balance the need for the present and future?
  7. Changes needed in national development plans, climate action, and sustainable food systems, as well as relevant regional and international agreements?
  8. Game-changing ideas, experiences, and replicable success stories.

We look forward to your stimulating ideas for a successful and fruitful dialogue, leading up to the pre-Summit in July 2021 in Rome and the Leaders’ Summit in September 2021 in New York.

Food Systems Summit 2021