By Babajide Okeowo
In a bid to arrest the increasing global food crisis particularly, among poor nations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, António Guterres is to convene a UN Food Systems Summit, FSS.
The food summit amongst many other objectives hopes to raise awareness and shape global commitments in transforming food systems to tackle hunger, reduce diet-related diseases, and restoring planetary health.
It is also designed to launch bold new actions to transform the way the world produces and consumes food, delivering progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
According to the UN scribe, it is unacceptable that hunger is on the rise at a time when the world wastes more than one billion tonnes of food every year.
“It is time to change how we produce and consume, including to reduce greenhouse emissions. Transforming food systems is crucial for delivering all the Sustainable Development Goals. As a human family, a world free of hunger is our imperative” he said.
There are rising fears that Nigeria and many African countries were on the verge of a food crisis occasioned by various challenges including floods, climate change effects, insecurity, and locust invasion, among others.
But following the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), an agency of the UN, QU Dongyu recently declared that “the shocks of 2020 will reverberate long into 2021.”
Dongyu noted that the extraordinary challenges faced this year, from the pan-continental desert locust upsurge to the global pandemic, the number of people facing emergency levels of acute food insecurity might rise further “unless we act now and act at scale.”
In planning for 2021, the UN, therefore, considered a promising food systems summit in the face of current realities.
According to the information posted on the UN website, Antonio Guterres called for the collective action of every global citizen to radically change the way food was produced, processed, transported, marketed, and consumed.
The proposed summit would build on a number of global events and platforms as well as their agreements and collaborative actions.
Preparations for the summit will explore synergies between multiple regional and national initiatives that support the transformation of food systems and draw knowledge from the sources to inform the summit’s recommendations.
The event will follow five action tracks, which include ensuring access to safe and nutritious food, shifting to sustainable consumption patterns, boosting nature-positive production, advancing equitable livelihoods, and building resilience.