UN Secretary-General António Guterres will convene a Food Systems Summit as part of the Decade of Action to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. On that background, the Government of India has organised Food Systems Summits to be held at National and Sub-national levels to encourage wider participation and collection of best practices related to Food Systems from across India. This is seen as an opportunity to renew and strengthen GoI’sefforts towards achievingIndia’s development objectives within the framework of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Through this process of introducing India’s flagship programs and progress on SDGs, India seeks to identify challenges and opportunities in the existing Policy Frameworks to build efficiency, resilience and socio-economic viability in the food systems. And develop foundational structures and agencies to guarantee equitable livelihoods in the agriculture and allied sectors. The National Summit will launch bold new actions to deliver progress on all 17 SDGs, each of which relies to some degree on healthier, more sustainable and equitable food systems.
The Food Systems Summit will emphasize on building awareness and participation of every actor in the food systems; we all must work together to transform the way the world produces, consumes and thinks about food. It is a summit for everyone everywhere – a people’s summit. It is also a solutions summit that will require everyone to take action to transform the world’s food systems.
The world Food Systems Summit and, as well as the National and Sub-national dialogue processes are guided by five Action Tracks. India has chosen to present its achievements on the Action Track Number 4: Advance Equitable Livelihoods. The Dialogue Process will bring together ideas and suggestions from key players from the worlds of science, business, policy, healthcare and academia, as well as farmers, indigenous people, youth organizations, consumer groups, environmental activists, and other key stakeholders. Before, during and after the Summit, these actors will come together to bring about tangible, positive changes to the food systems, learning from experiences and success stories.
What does the Summit aim to achieve?
The Summit process aims to deliver the following outcomes:
Why food systems?
- Generate significant action and progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Summit will succeed in identifying solutions and leaders, and issuing a call for action at all levels of the food system, including national and local governments, companies and citizens.
- Raise awareness and elevate public discussion about how reforming our food systems can help us all to achieve the SDGs by implementing reforms that are good for people and planet.
- Develop principles to guide governments and other stakeholders looking to leverage their food systems to support the SDGs. These principles will set an optimistic and encouraging vision in which food systems play a central role in building a fairer, more sustainable world. Principles of engagement
- Create a system of follow-up and review to ensure that the Summit’s outcomes continue to drive new actions and progress. This system will allow for the sharing of experiences, lessons and knowledge; it will also measure and analyse the Summit’s impact.
The term “food system” refers to the constellation of activities involved in producing, processing, transporting and consumingfood. A food system is directly connected to most social and much of the economicaspectsof human existence. The health of our food systems profoundly affects the health of our bodies, as well as the health of our environment, our economies and our cultures. When it functions well, food systems have the power to bring out efforts together in inching closer to over-all sustainability.
But too many of the world’s food systems are fragile, unexamined and vulnerable to collapse. What was evident became apparent during the COVID-19 crisisas millions of people around the globe had to experiencefirst-hand the tenuous nature of food systems’ supply chains. When our food systems fail, the resulting disorder threatens our education, health and economy, as well as human rights, peace and security. As in so many cases, those who are already poor or marginalized are the most vulnerable because they have no protection against fall-back patterns.
The good news is that we know what we need to do to get back on track. Scientists agree that transforming our food systems is among the most powerful ways to change course and make progress towards all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Rebuilding the food systems of the world will also enable us to answer the UN Secretary-General’s call to “build back better” from COVID-19. We are all part of the food system, and so we all must come together to bring about the transformation that the world and India needs.
The need is urgent, and our ambition is high.
India’s National Food Systems Summit will launch bold new actions, solutions and strategies to deliver progress on all development parameters, each of which relies on healthier, more sustainable and more equitable opportunity for all.
The Dialogues will result in:
- Dramatically elevated public discourse about the importance of food systems and what to do to get the public working for people and planet.
- Significant action, with measurable outcomes that enable align India’s national priorities with the UNSDGs. This will include highlighting existing solutions and celebrating leaders in food systems transformation, as well as calling for new actions nationwide by different actors, including states, cities, communities, companies, civil society, citizens and food producers.
- A high-level set of principles established through the process that will guide 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 delivering India’s development Agenda.
- A system of follow-up and review that will; allow for sharing of experiences, lessons and knowledge; and incorporate new metrics for impact analysis.
Principles of Engagement
The National Food Systems Summit is guided by a set of seven principles of engagement, listed below. Underpinning each of these principles is the Summit’s vision of an equitable and healthy future for all, and one that gives voice to citizens in every country of the world. Everyone is invited to become a Food Systems Hero, host a Food Systems Dialogue, spread the word about food systems transformation, or find another way to support the Summit process. The Summit is open to all, and it belongs to us all. It is ours to create; we must define and build a strong food system, together. What does a strong food system mean? (Youtube link)
Act with urgency:
We recognize the utmost urgency of sustained and meaningful action at all levels to reach the respective Development Goals.
Commit to the Summit:
We commit to practice what we preach personally and professionally to contribute to the vision, objectives and the final outcomes of the Food Systems Summit.
Within our respective capacities and circumstances, we will promote food production and consumption policies and practices that strive to protect and improve the health and well-being of individuals, enhance resilient livelihoods and communities and promote good stewardship of natural resources, while respecting local cultures, contexts.
We recognize that food systems are complex, and are closely connected to, and significantly impact, human and animal health, land, water, climate, biodiversity, the economy and other systems, and their transformation requires a systemic approach.
Embrace multi-stakeholder inclusivity:
We support inclusive multi-stakeholder processes and approaches within governments and communities that bring in diverse perspectives, including indigenous knowledge, cultural insights and science-based evidence to enable stakeholders to understand and assess potential trade-offs and to design policy options that deliver against multiple public goods across these various systems.
Complement the work of others:
Recognizing that issues related to food systems are being addressed through several other global governance processes, we will seek to ensure that the India’s Food Systems Summit aligns with, amplifies and accelerates these efforts where practicable, avoiding unnecessary duplication, while encouraging bold and innovative new thinking and approaches that deliver systems-level transformation in line with the Summit’s principles and objectives.
We will work to ensure the Summit and associated engagement process will promote trust and increase motivation to participate by being evidence-based, transparent and accessible in governance, decision-making, planning, engagement and implementation. We – from member states to private businesses to individual actors – will hold ourselves accountable for commitments made with mechanisms in place to uphold this accountability.