The 2023 United Nations Food Systems Summit+2 commenced on Monday, July 24, at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy.
Over 20 heads of state and governments and heads of multilateral bodies attended the Summit which seeks to assess the gains achieved since 2021 when the UN Convened the first Food Systems Summit.
UN Secretary General António Guterres and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni graced the high level conference.
Also present were African Heads of States and government representatives including Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Somalia’s Hassan Mohamud and Kenya’s Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.
In their unified stance, the African leaders stressed the need for a review of the global food funding system with the help of the international community.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, while addressing the delegates, noted that a strong funding system would ensure that Africa as a continent is not left out in efforts to achieve food security goals.
“A new and robust agricultural global financing model is essential for food security, job creation and economic growth,” Abiy Ahmed noted.
Kenya’s Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua termed the current food financial system disadvantageous to African countries.
While insisting that African governments have shown commitment in efforts to achieve food security, the Kenyan Deputy President urged the delegates to consider treating the continent differently in matters funding citing unique challenges facing Africans.
“We call upon our partners to look at African issues differently and finance food systems for more production of food and ensure there is surplus,” the Kenyan leader stated in a panel discussion.
UN’s Commitment at Food Summit
UN Secretary General António Guterres also delivered a keynote speech as the convenor of the summit which focused largely on the international community strides since the Food Systems Summit in 2021.
Guterres noted that countries across the globe have embraced food systems transformation citing an increase in the number of national and sub-national laws signed in various jurisdictions.
However, the UN Chief warned that time was running out and hence calling for intensified actions in the food system transformation efforts.
“Let’s keep holding each other to account and learning from one another. Let’s transform food systems for the future, and ensure that every person, in every community and country, has access to the safe and nutritious food they need and deserve,” Guterres stated.
Transforming global food systems
On his part, FAO Director General Qu Dongyu emphasized the need to leverage crucial accelerators like science and innovation, improved data capabilities, increase in targeted and coordinated public and private finance to speed up progress in the global commitment to transforming global food systems.
“Unlocking the full potential of agrifood systems can only happen if we focus on these accelerators, to help minimize trade-offs and maximize synergies,” the FAO DG stated.
The conference will continue in Tuesday before closing on Wednesday, July 26. High-level dialogues and side events will take place within the three days as stakeholders from the world converge to chat the way forward regarding the problem of food insecurity in the contemporary world.