Chair’s Summary: UN Food Systems Summit
The 2021 UN Food Systems Summit is an extension of longstanding U.S. leadership and investment in ending hunger, malnutrition, and poverty and building more sustainable, equitable, and resilient food systems. During the UN General Assembly, President Biden previewed the United States’ commitment to $10 billion in multi-year initiatives to strengthen food security and nutrition for all, accelerate climate change mitigation and adaptation, and expand inclusive food systems at home and abroad, especially for the most vulnerable. The Administration looks forward to working with Congress to advance these critical initiatives.
At the UN Food Systems Summit, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and USAID Administrator Samantha Power reinforced the United States’ commitment to work with domestic and international partners to tackle hunger and poverty and build more sustainable, equitable and resilient food systems at home and abroad. This virtual Summit, which convened thousands of participants including UN member states, private sector representatives, farmers, producers and civil society participants, focused on concrete actions to transform food systems to accelerate progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
The Summit emphasized the need for systems-level change. Global leaders supported promotion of holistic and inclusive food systems-based approaches to poverty alleviation, nutrition, resilient and reliable agricultural production, resource conservation, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. The Summit highlighted the ongoing threats of COVID-19, conflict, and climate change that have already increased poverty, hunger and malnutrition across the globe. It focused the world’s attention on addressing these challenges and advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for the health of the planet and the wellbeing of current and future generations. The inclusive approach of this “People’s Summit” opened the door to diverse stakeholders and cooperation among key actors, including civil society, farmers, farm and food workers, entrepreneurs, the private sector, and governments – all of whom must work together to achieve food systems transformation.
In preparation for the Summit, the U.S. government hosted three U.S. National Food Systems Dialogues that brought together hundreds of diverse stakeholders to discuss challenges and opportunities for food system transformation in the United States. Discussions at the Dialogues focused on the priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration and those of the UN Food Systems Summit: food security and nutrition for all; climate change mitigation and adaptation; and inclusive and equitable food systems that address the needs of the most vulnerable by empowering youth, women, and disadvantaged communities.
Of the $10 billion in planned U.S. investments highlighted during the summit, $5 billion are to strengthen food systems in the United States, including through investments in systems and infrastructure to ensure access to healthy diets for all Americans, and investments in fair and efficient markets to improve the inclusivity and resilience of our food systems. Other planned investments support the expansion of climate smart agriculture and forestry.
During the Summit, Secretary Vilsack noted in remarks “We must use the power of ingenuity to improve on food systems so they provide safe, nutritious, affordable, and accessible food for all, while conserving natural resources, and combating the climate crisis.”
The United States, working with Congress, also intends to invest $5 billion over five years to support Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, which aims to reduce poverty, hunger, and malnutrition. Within the Feed the Future expansion, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) set a goal to finance $1 billion in food security and agriculture, research, and food fortification programs.
Administrator Power stated “With new investments and a new strategy, Feed the Future aims to contribute to a 20 percent reduction in poverty and stunting in target countries over the next five years. But the United States cannot end hunger on its own—no country can. We need the support of foundations and food scientists, donors and development agencies, private companies and partner countries, to not just feed the future, but build a future where hunger is a distant memory.”
Other commitments include launching the Global Coalition on Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation to sustainably feed the world, alleviate poverty, achieve our global environmental goals and confront climate change; advancing the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate, a global initiative to accelerate investment in agriculture-based climate solutions; and joining coalitions to combat food loss and waste and to expand school feeding programs to children worldwide. The United States also vowed to share U.S. expertise and experience in science-based innovation, technology, and development to help countries advance along their own paths to eliminate hunger and malnutrition and build sustainable, resilient, and equitable food systems.