INRAE takes part in the UN Food Systems Summit 2021

Zero hunger, sustainable consumption and production, clean water – ten years remain to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN 2030 agenda. The sustainability of food systems is considered a major lever for achieving several of these goals. For this reason UN Secretary General António Guterres has called for the first UN Summit on food systems to be held in 2021. Through its integrated approach to agriculture, food and the environment, INRAE contributes to several of the Action Tracks of this Summit.

The UN Food Systems Summit: purpose and audience

 

The 2021 UN Food Systems Summit (Food Systems Summit: FSS) aims to raise global awareness and work together to change the way we think about, produce and consume food.  It will bring together key players from the worlds of science, business and politics, with scientists, farmers, consumers, environmental activists and all key stakeholders. The FSS is a people's summit and a summit of innovative and bold solutions to combat the burden of malnutrition (hunger, micronutrient deficiencies, excess weight and obesity) and to protect the environment and the climate.

DEfinition:

The term 'food system' refers to the constellation of activities involved in producing, processing, transporting and consuming food.


A multi-actor and multi-scale process

Governments, citizens – everyone involved!

The Summit aims to generate a vast range of discussions among as many stakeholders as possible, based on several principles, including respect for local cultures and contexts, consideration of the complexity of the issues, and complementarity with other initiatives carried out at the international level.

The Summit develops a standardised approach with three types of Dialogues:

  • A Member State Summit Dialogue organised by governments with stakeholders, under the aegis of a designated coordinator. It should result in "national pathways" supported by a wide range of stakeholders.
  • A Global Summit Dialogue co-organised by the Summit's Special Envoy, Agnès Kalibata, to address the issue of food systems in a range of major thematic events on climate, biodiversity and more.
  • An Independent Summit Dialogue organised by individuals or communities based on a guide available on the Summit web site.

Today in the world: 305 Member State Summit Dialogues, 4 Inter-State Summit Dialogues, 8 Global Summit Dialogues, 560 Independent Summit Dialogues

Through these extensive exchanges, the Summit aims to identify initiatives at all levels to produce concrete measures and support the implementation of reforms. It will establish a system to monitor achievements in each country.

Science as a basis for reflection

The design and implementation of the Summit is supported throughout the process by several bodies including a scientific panel of 29 independent experts. Jean-François Soussana, INRAE's Vice President of international policy is an expert on the panel.  

Through monthly meetings held since July 2020, this panel has gathered scientific summary reports and analyses on ongoing initiatives in the framework of, among others, the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and the UN system (the UN and all its programmes, funds and specialised agencies).  The Scientific Panel ensures the reliability, representativeness and independence of the scientific data on which the Summit and its products are based. Among the many reports prepared by this panel, Jean-François Soussana (INRAE) and Sheryl Brook (UNESP, Brazil) coordinated the drafting of a background paper (available in English only) to carry out the first Action Track of the summit: The aim is to "ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all through the transformation of food systems".

INRAE's involvement

The goal of "Healthy and sustainable food for all" requires an integrative approach between agriculture-food-environment, which corresponds to INRAE's scientific strategy for 2030. Indeed, sustainability must be designed and applied at every stage of the food chain: a socially, economically and environmentally multi-performing agriculture; the reduction of resource loss and waste; varied, balanced and safe diets; producers who enjoy a decent standard of living; preserved ecosystems, and resistance to climatic and health upheavals. INRAE promotes the need for a transition of agricultural and food systems, combining the principles of agroecology with technical and social innovation such as digital agriculture and biotechnology. The Institute is developing its research strategy through major projects that fall within the 5 Action Tracks of the Summit.

Agenda

The 2021 UN Food Systems Summit (FSS) is an ongoing international reflection process, with a few key milestones: