On Monday 19 April 2021 SACAU is hosting a UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) Member Consultation Workshop via Zoom from 10h00 – 13h00 (SAST).
The purpose of the workshop is to better equip farmers’ organisations (FOs) and their members for effective participation in UNFSS processes – nationally, continentally, and globally.
More specifically, the workshop aims to (amongst others):
a) Enhance the farmers’ understanding and appreciation of the UNFSS 2021.
b) Highlight farmers’ key issues at stake.
c) Develop/generate common positions/responses and key messages on food system transformation pathways from farmers’ perspective.
d) Support and encourage farmers to effectively engage in the UNFSS process, particularly at country level.
e) Nurture the development of a regional farmers’ food system transformation network/platform
1. Dr Agnes Kalibata (Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for the 2021 Food Systems Summit)
Special address: Transforming Our Food Systems: opportunities for farmers and producers.
2. Dr David Nabarro (Chair of Global Health and Co-Director at IGHI Imperial College London, WHO COVID-19 Special Envoy, Strategic Director 4SD Leadership Mentoring Geneva CH, Senior Adviser: Food Systems Summit Dialogues)
Topic: Exploring food systems transformation through multi stakeholder’s dialogue
3. Mr Sean de Cleene (Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum)
Topic: Value proposition of a systems approach to farmers – what is in it for them, including their responsibilities and obligations?
4. Dr Theo De Jager (President, World Farmers’ Organisation) Topic: The extent to which the current food systems are broken from a farmers’ perspective – what are the allegations being made against farmers, and what should be some of the key messages to take to the UNFSS?
5. Mr Ajay Vir Jakhar (Chairman of Bharat Krishak Samaj – Indian Farmers Forum, UN Food Systems Summit Action track 2 Vice Chair)
Topic: Highlighting what is at stake in general and for farmers in particular.
The format of the workshop is designed to stimulate critical dialogue amongst the farmers’ constituency, to map the way toward actualising their desired food systems.
Food systems are unsustainable, and effectively broken. Despite significant advancements made in current food systems in recent decades, compelling evidence confirms their persistent lag in (amongst others) health and nutrition, the welfare of farmers and people in general, as well as the planet and natural environment.
The global convergence of interest in food system transformation clearly underscores the need for inclusivity in any system shifts or changes. The UNFSS 2021 has thus aptly been dubbed “a people’s summit”, seeking to engage with as many diverse interest groups (from far and wide) as possible, to engage and amplify relevant voices – particularly those of the marginalised. To this end various mechanisms have been put in place at global, regional and national level. But of the particular concern is the absence of farmers’ voices in the various engagement processes, which highlights various unique challenges that keep farmers “invisible”.
The UNFSS 2021 presents a rare opportunity for farmers and producer-based organisations to bring their matters to global attention. The producer constituency needs to be proactive in influencing the “building back better” narrative, to reflect their aspirations for the desired state and the principles underpinning it.