What will it take to ensure that the world's population has an adequate supply of healthy food in future? In September 2021, the UN will host the Food Systems Summit to provide a platform for discussion on sustainable food systems that will also help to protect the world's biodiversity and climate. A series of preparatory dialogues were held at national and international level ahead of the summit in September.
UN Food Systems Summit
Sustainable food systems play a key role in efforts to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN's 2030 Agenda. UN Secretary-General António Guterres considers them to be critically important in this respect. Jacques Ducrest, the Federal Council's delegate for the 2030 Agenda, notes: "Food systems are interlinked with each of the 17 SDGs". Sustainable food systems ensure that the world's population will have access to a healthy diet long into the future and at the same time protect the climate and biodiversity. They also contribute to prosperity. Following a national-level preparatory phase, representatives of the UN member states will meet at the Food Systems Summit in New York in September 2021 in order to define common priorities aimed at making food systems sustainable in the long term.
Preparatory phase: national and independent dialogues
Four rounds of dialogue were held at national level in Switzerland between March and June 2021 in preparation for the Food Systems Summit. Representatives of the agricultural sector, academia, the private sector and civil society met with representatives of the Federal Administration to define a common line of action.
At the same time, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) organised, through its Agriculture and Food Security Network, independent dialogues with around 290 participants from 69 countries.
The topics discussed included ways to achieve sustainable food production to ensure that everyone has access to healthy and affordable food, as well as methods to improve livelihoods in rural areas.
Stocktaking in Rome
Following the national preparatory phase, a Swiss delegation led by the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) and consisting of representatives from the FDFA, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO), as well as from the private sector and academia, took part in the pre-summit of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome from 26 to 28 July 2021. The Swiss delegation presented Switzerland's transformation plan for sustainable food systems. The participants shared ideas and approaches, took stock of progress achieved so far and defined joint lines of action to be discussed in a global framework at the Food Systems Summit in September.