The Pre-Summit gathering for the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit will take place in Rome from July 19 to July 21, as announced in a joint press release by the UN and the Italian Government. The event sets the stage for the UN Food Systems Summit that will take place in September alongside the UN General Assembly in New York. The three-day event in Rome will bring together youth, smallholder farmers, indigenous peoples, researchers, the private sector, political leaders and ministers of agriculture, environment, health, and finance with the aim of taking stock of the latest scientific developments and good practices, setting new objectives and mobilizing new financing and partnerships.
The term “food systems” refers to all activities involved in producing, processing, transporting and consumption of food. A healthy food system is fundamental for the quality of human life and that of the environment. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, highlighted how fragile food systems are globally, and how dangerous this is for the poorest populations. Transforming them, therefore, is an important step toward a more sustainable future.
The Pre-Summit aims at finding new solutions, partnerships, and strategies to transform global food systems, fostering sustainable economic growth and delivering progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), each of which relies to some degree on nutritious, sustainable and equitable food systems. The Pre-Summit event is expected to take place in a “hybrid” virtual format over three days, during which many people will participate in person at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, while others from around the world will be engaged on a virtual platform.
In the words of UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “The Pre-Summit in Italy will be a key moment for building sustainable food systems that work for people, planet, and prosperity. Through accelerated action, we can help the world recover better from COVID-19, combat rising hunger and address the climate crisis”
The Italian participation in organizing the Pre-Summit event is part of the country’s efforts to bring the international community together in the fight against climate change and the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, this year Italy presides over the G20 and, together with the UK, will co-chair the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) that will take place in Glasglow next November.
As Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said: “Italy is ready to welcome this key appointment of the Food Systems Summit in Rome. We want to address the issue of food security within our broad agenda as President of the G20. Together with the UN and its agencies based in Rome, Italy will engage with its partners to promote better agriculture, sustainable value chains and healthy lifestyles. I expect everyone to join us in a global effort to protect the environment with meaningful actions.”