Ahead of the milestone UN Food Systems Summit, FAO and UNDP hold the country’s first summit dialogue
In the build up to the first ever United Nations Food Systems Summit later this year, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have hosted Bangladesh’s inaugural Food Systems Dialogue.
Around 50 high-level participants discussed how to make the country’s food system safer and more environmentally friendly.
The summit will take place in New York in September, with a pre-summit in Rome in July. The summit will launch bold new actions to deliver progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), each of which relates to some degree on healthier, more sustainable, and equitable food systems. Food Systems Summit Dialogues offer a powerful opportunity for people around the world to debate, collaborate, and take action towards a better future.
“Food systems are responsible for about a third of global greenhouse gas emissions,” said Robert D. Simpson, FAO Representative in Bangladesh. “One of the major objectives of the summit is to formulate a pathway for Bangladesh to make the transition to sustainable food systems that consider and respect environmental impacts.”
Sudipto Mukerjee, UNDP Representative in Bangladesh, said: “We have a lot to do to transform our whole food system in a way that it is more inclusive, gender responsive and transformative in terms of responsible production and consumption which is SDG 12. Democratic food governance is also a very important aspect of building a sustainable and transformative food system.”
Participants at the dialogue came from the government, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), development partners, the private sector, and academia. Primary topics of discussion were sustainable management of the environment, identifying solutions for mitigating climate change in food systems, and finding innovative financing solutions.
Participants agreed on a number of ways that the food system in Bangladesh can be strengthened:
- Bangladesh should be a regional and global leader in developing sustainable food systems, learning from experiences and the mistakes of other countries.
- Food producers and consumers need to change their behaviour to better consider the long-term care of the agro-ecosystem.
- Policies and mechanisms for monitoring and regulating pollution from agricultural systems need to be strengthened.
The dialogue will help to achieve three summit action tracks, namely: boost nature-positive production; ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all; and shift to sustainable consumption patterns.
FAO and UNDP will submit the outcomes of the dialogue to the organizers of the UN Food Systems Summit. Organizers will use the information to feed into the Summit’s five priority action tracks, as well as the preparatory work of its Scientific and Advisory Groups, Champions Network, and other summit support structures.
To learn more about the dialogue, visit: https://summitdialogues.org/dialogue/16615/
Why food systems?
The term ‘food system’ refers to activities involved in producing, processing, transporting and consuming food. Food systems touch every aspect of 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 they function well, food systems have the power to bring us together as families, communities and nations. But too many of the world’s food systems are fragile, unexamined and vulnerable to collapse, as millions of people around the globe have experienced first-hand during the COVID-19 crisis. 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.