Ministerial Session of the 2021 UN Food Systems Pre-Summit

The Ministerial Roundtable of the 2021 UN Food Systems Pre-Summit explored the interlinkages between Rio conventions on Biodiversity, Climate Change and Desertification, as well as their positions in supporting the transformation of the food systems.

The session was commenced by Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, France Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, who highlighted the inseparable relationship between climate change and the current socio-economic and environmental affairs, and urged for collective actions at all levels through the Food System Summit and the three Rio conventions to build a sustainable future for all.

A moderated roundtable with Member States followed to discuss opportunities to build synergies between the Rio conventions on the environmental issues and bring remarkable impacts on combating global hunger and malnutrition. As emphasized, unsustainable agricultural practices are the driving causes of climate change, biodiversity loss and desertification, and these impacts, in turn, exacerbate poverty, food insecurity and conflict, etc. To break the vicious circle, all stressed governments’ paramount role in mainstreaming nature through political decision-making, and incentivizing all stakeholders into making environmental-friendly decisions in investment, business and consumption. In addition, it is essential for all countries to promote nature-based solutions in agricultural production and ensure all farmers can strengthen their resilience in adapting to the impacts of climate change and deliver more quality, healthy food in the market. Lastly, all highlighted the importance to rethink and connect the Rio conventions for delivering multi-beneficial actions on nature restoration and food system transformation.

Representatives of the three Rio conventions then provided their perspectives on the conventions’ principles, and underlined the importance to implement policies in a holistic and circular approach to account for the interlinkages between all environmental issues and social well-being.

Meeting: 2021 UN Food Systems Pre-Summit, Ministerial Roundtable on UN Food Systems Summit and Rio Conventions on Biodiversity, Climate Change and Desertification

Date/Location: Wednesday, July 28, 2021; 03:00-04:30; Red Room, Rome, Italy

Speaker:

Dr. Martin Frick, Deputy to the Special Envoy, Food Systems Summit Secretariat;

Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, France;

Ms. Teresa Ribera Rodriguez, Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Spain;

Dr. Thongplew Kongjun, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agricultural and Cooperatives, Thailand;

Mr. Christian Hofer, General-Director of the Federal Office for Agriculture, Switzerland;

Lord Zac Goldsmith, Minister for Pacific and the Environment Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), United Kingdom;

Dr. Yasmine Fouad, Ministry of Environment, Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, Egypt;

Prof. Dr. Rameesh Chand, Member of Nitiaayog, India;

Ms. Marije Beens, Vice Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Netherlands;

Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD);

Ms. Elizabeth Mrema, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity;

Ms. Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC);

Dr. Inger Andersen, Chair, UN Task Force and Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Written by: WIT-UN Intern Iris Sit

People and Nature – Solutions to Accelerating Progress Towards the 2030 Agenda and Averting Planetary Catastrophe

Co-organised by Costa-Rica, the Delegation of the European Union with YouNGO, UNEP, WWF and UNDP, delegations and civil organizations convened to discuss solutions that can accelerate progress towards achieving the SDGs by 2030. The meeting specifically called for collaborative climate action, where the balance between nature and humans can then be restored and sustained.

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SDG Two: “Zero Hunger” is Currently Unattainable by 2030

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Goal Two of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is to achieve “Zero Hunger,” or further explained as  “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.” According to the World Food Programme, 821 million people (1 in 9 persons) go to sleep without food each night. An even greater statistic is that 1 in 3 people suffer from some form of malnutrition. In a global perspective, these issues are not necessarily from a shortage of food, but rather, a lack of access to it. Some may not be able to afford it, while others may be in areas with a supply that doesn’t support their whole population. There are even “hunger seasons” which occur in agricultural areas and communities in some countries. This is when food runs out between planting and harvesting. This is especially detrimental to people living in rural areas and farmers, who only rely on what is grown.

Most speakers were on the same page when speaking on this issue, in which, the world is not on track to achieve Goal 2 by 2030 unless changes and improvements begin now. The main topics and issues that were continuously brought up were agriculture, poverty, and climate change.  

Agriculture was brought up by most speakers who mentioned how it plays a crucial role, and therefore, must be prioritized and expanded. The representative of Mali talked about how the agriculture sector is the backbone of their country but is facing challenges like ensuring food to their growing population, especially in the context of climate change. Climate change is a huge issue which affects many other matters aside from food insecurity. Climate change deals with natural disasters, droughts, and floods which affect food production and distribution. Many also brought up the link between poverty and hunger/malnutrition. Poverty and hunger are in a cyclical pattern. Poverty is a driver of hunger, especially how most impoverished people in the world live in rural areas and therefore rely on agriculture to support them.

Meeting: Committee on Agriculture development, food security and nutrition; 73rd Session
Location/time/date: Conference Room 2, UN HQ-NYC; 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM,
October 12, 2018
Speakers:
● The Chair (Guatemala) Representatives of Egypt (on behalf of the Group of 77 and
China), Myanmar (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Malawi (on
behalf of the Least Developed Countries), Guyana (on behalf of the Caribbean
Community), Maldives (on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States), Morocco (on
behalf of the African States), El Salvador (on behalf of the Community of Latin
American and Caribbean States), India, the Russian Federation, Costa Rica, the Sudan,
Algeria, Afghanistan, Nicaragua Jamaica, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ukraine, Cambodia,
China, the United Arab Emirates, Tonga, Mozambique, Morocco, Brazil, Ethiopia,
Zambia, the Philippines, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Mali,
Finland, Indonesia, Nepal, Burkina Faso, and Saudi Arabia, as well as by the observer for
the Holy See.
● The representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Written by: WIT Representative Yasmeen Razack