Transformation of agri-food systems key to Agenda 2030 - FAO

13Jan 2022
By Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Transformation of agri-food systems key to Agenda 2030 - FAO

ACHIEVING the 2030 Agenda calls for fundamental transformation of agri-food systems, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has said.

It said that when many of the goals in the 2030 Agenda are off-track, the need for all actors to engage more effectively at all levels - from international to regional to national - becomes more pressing.

 

“Today’s challenges require cooperation, not only across borders, but across the whole of society with relevant stakeholders including regional and sub-regional organisations, non-governmental and civil society organisations, the private sector, research institutions and academia and parliamentarians,” states the FAO in its strategic framework, 2022-2031.

Food systems encompass the entire range of actors and their interlinked value-adding activities involved in the production, aggregation, processing, distribution, consumption and disposal of food products.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was launched by a UN Summit in 2015 and is aimed at ending poverty in all its forms.

It envisages “a world of universal respect for human rights and human dignity, the rule of law, justice, equality and non-discrimination”.

Challenges

Statistics by the FAO show that a total of 690 million people suffered from hunger even before COVID-19.

Millions more are micronutrient deficient and an alarmingly growing number of people are overweight across all ages, classes and borders.

The pandemic has increased the number of undernourished up to 132 million more people, putting the importance and vulnerability of the world’s agri-food systems under the spotlight.

Food markets continue to face uncertainties due to prospects of weak economic growth. African swine fever and a catastrophic desert locust outbreak constitute major disasters, in addition to threats and shocks of climate change.

Agri-food systems, which directly employ over one billion people and provide livelihoods to another 3.5 billion, are experiencing disruptions that could at least temporarily disrupt the incomes and, by extension, food access of 1.5 billion people.

Defeating hunger

There is growing recognition of the fundamental role of agri-food systems in achieving the 2030 Agenda. The Global Sustainable Development Report 2019 identified building sustainable food systems and healthy nutrition patterns as one of the six key “entry points” where focused and collaborative action by various stakeholders can accelerate progress towards the SDGs.

“At the core of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is a healthy planet that allows our agri-food systems to provide a healthy diet for all in a sustainable manner,” the FAO framework said.

Also, as the world faces escalating threats, it demands that countries act without delay to safeguard livelihoods, transform our agri-food systems to future-proof the planet and lock in sustainable outcomes.

“The 2030 Agenda is there to guide us. But the historic consensus surrounding its adoption must be matched by political determination to deliver it.

 “It squarely commits the international community to ending poverty, hunger and malnutrition. Explicit in SDG 2 Zero Hunger - but implicit throughout, the concept of food security - safe and nutritious food for all - underpins the 2030 Agenda,” it said.

FAO Strategic framework

The FAO’s work is guided by a strategic framework prepared for a period of 10 t0 15 years, reviewed every four years.

The Strategic Framework 2022-2031 has been developed in the context of major global and regional challenges in the areas of FAO's mandate, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

It seeks to support the 2030 Agenda through the transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable, agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind.

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