The On-Going Worry About Food

Recently the first-ever UN Food Systems Summit convened world leaders in an effort to spur national and regional action to deliver the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through transforming food systems. The catalyst fo the event is an on-going worry about food security, safety and sustainability in light of climate change and other geo-political and economic factors.

The summit featured commitments from more than 85 heads of state.

Following from the latest IPCC report, which raised a ‘code red’ for human-driven global heating, the United States administration pledged $10 billion to address climate change and food insecurity. 

Half of these funds will be invested domestically in ‘recognition that all countries, even those that produce a surplus of food, must take steps to improve nutrition and adapt their food systems to a changing climate.’

The COVID-19 pandemic increased poverty levels by up to 124 million people and undernourishment by around 9.9 per cent.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who announced New Zealand would join the Indigenous Peoples’ Food Systems Coalition, said, “We are committed to ensuring Indigenous Peoples can help lead the way forward.”

Honduras, Samoa, Peru, the Philippines and other countries also pledged support for indigenous rights.

“We, as the global community, are not delivering on our promises to eradicate hunger,” said President Sauli Niinistö of Finland. 

Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, highlighted the need to focus on ‘quality food for everyone.’ Likewise, Burkina Faso committed to including the right to food in their constitution. 

Cambodia pledged to work towards the promotion of gender equality and the creation of job opportunities for youth and women.

Josaia Voreqe BainimaramaPrime Minister of the Republic of Fiji said, “Just as our environment, peoples, and food systems are profoundly interwoven and mutually sustaining, so must our response be, for the sake of our and future generations.”

The United Arab Emirates announced the Agriculture Innovation Mission (AIM) for Climate launched with the United States. 

“We must use the power of ingenuity to improve on food systems so they provide safe, nutritious, affordable, and accessible food for all, while conserving natural resources, and combating the climate crisis,” said the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack

All submissions are being compiled in an official compendium, while all commitments are lodged in an online commitments registry.

New five-year funding of US$922 million focussed on nutrition was also announced by Melinda Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.