UN Secretary General António Guterres has defined a new plan to transform the world’s food systems – coinciding with the start of World Food Week – which will culminate in an important summit scheduled for September next year.
Guterres stressed the importance of food systems and their impact on the economy, environment and health, but warned that they are “one of the main reasons why we cannot stay within the ecological boundaries of our planet”. To address these issues, the Secretary General is convening a Food Systems Summit next year to raise global awareness and stimulate action to rethink food systems so that they can play a more positive role in ending hunger, reducing food-related diseases and helping in the fight against climate change. The event will be held at the United Nations headquarters in New York in September, in conjunction with the next opening session of the UN General Assembly, and will focus the attention of world leaders on the issue. For Guterres, “This year’s award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the World Food Programme (WFP) highlights the timeliness of the Summit. The summit will be managed by a specially appointed envoy, the former Rwandan Minister of Agriculture, Agnes Kalibata. In a conference he stressed the need for food systems – responsible for trillions of dollars in wasted food and significant greenhouse gas emissions – to change radically. The special envoy told journalists that the summit places food and food systems at the center of the United Nations’ decade of action, the 10 years left to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.