The United Nations (U.N), along with global stakeholders (Governments, private sector, agricultural coalitions, non-governmental organizations, etc.), is having an ongoing dialogue as part of the ‘Decade of Action’ to discuss future food systems in the face of climate change and growing global hunger issues. As part of this, Italy recently hosted the UN Food Systems Pre-Summit in Rome from July 26-28, 2021. This pre-summit served as a preparatory meeting for the various stakeholders to set the agenda for the main event, the UN Food Systems Summit in New York in September 2021.
The key themes at the Pre-Summit pointed to what discussions are likely to happen at the actual Summit. The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) featured prominently. Themes centered on reducing global hunger by reducing food waste, supporting an inclusive growth that includes small farmers and marginalized communities, providing much-needed financial assistance to these stakeholders to help with the adoption of newer, climate-smart technologies – and enhancing soil health by reducing the use of synthetic inputs.
The UN Food Systems Summit will serve as an important discussion forum for what food systems should look like going forward and the role agriculture will play in meeting climate action goals. Several non-governmental organizations are seeking to use these international meetings to set in motion fundamental changes in how farming is done. Many of these concepts are also shaping the priorities and objectives in key export markets.
For example, the EU’s Green Deal, particularly their Farm-to-Fork strategy, emphasizes an increase in organic production and a reduction of chemical inputs. Thus, this Summit has much broader implications for potentially shaking up trade and regulatory frameworks, by highlighting what will likely drive regulatory changes and negotiating priorities well into the future. Needless to say, every agricultural grower needs to be engaged. The Almond Board of California participated earlier in facilitating a “producer dialogue” with other ag commodities as part of the Pre-Summit outreach, specifically to bring forward the needs of food producers and the challenges agriculture faces.
Given the importance of this Summit as stakeholders discuss ways of achieving the UN SDGs as part of the ‘Decade of Action’, ABC will stay engaged to keep a finger on the pulse and assess any potential impact on the California almond industry. Agriculture has an important story to tell and a role to play, ensuring our opportunities – and challenges – are not lost in a broader global strategy.