FSS Briefs available now

A first set of five Food Systems Summit Briefs prepared by Research Partners of the Scientific Group is available now.

Read FSS Briefs here.

Opening of new High Level Expert Group to assess need for an International Platform for Food Systems Science

Joachim von Braun, Chair of the Scientific Group for the UN Food Systems Summit, gave a guest lecture at the opening of the new High level Expert Group that was appointed by the EU Commission to assess the need for an International Platform for Food Systems Science (see EU News Alert and von Braun’s presentation attached).

He outlined the needs and options for better international mechanisms to facilitate science – policy interface, including a panel, like the IPCC for the food system. “Given the challenges, science and policy must interact more effectively and more evidence based in support of a sustainable food systems, for ending hunger and malnutrition, income of small farming communities, and protection of biodiversity, natural resources and climate.” highlighted von Braun and pointed to the Food Systems Summit as a unique opportunity for launching the actions needed that help reach the food systems related SDGs by 2030.

» EU News Alert
» Presentation of Joachim von Braun

Latin America and the Caribbean urged to let its voice be heard at the UN Food Systems Summit

Joachim von Braun, President of the Scientific Group for the UN Summit, issued this appeal during a meeting of IICA’s Advisory Council for Food Security in the Americas.

Chair of the Scientific Group for the UN Food Systems Summit, Joachim von Braun, and UN Special Envoy for the Summit, Agnes Kalibata.

San Jose, 16 February 2021 (IICA). Chair of the Scientific Group for the UN Food Systems Summit, Joachim von Braun, urged Latin America and the Caribbean to project a “strong voice” in the organization of the global meeting that is slated to take place at the end of September, in a bid to build more productive, sustainable and equitable food systems.

Von Braun made the appeal during his presentation as a special guest of the Advisory Council for Food Security in the Americas of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). The Council is comprised of experts from ten countries with a track record of major contributions to the agrifood sector, in the areas of policy and academics.

As Chair of the Scientific Group for the UN Food Systems Summit, von Braun leads a team of close to 50 experts, whose purpose, according to him, is to ensure that “the Summit uses the most outstanding scientific evidence from around the world, based on shared knowledge and experience, to foster more sustainable, inclusive and equitable food systems”.

Agnes Kalibata, UN Special Envoy for the Summit, recently remarked that the global forum “should serve as a turning point on the path that the world should take to achieve the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals”, and thus, she reaffirmed that the “Scientific Group plays a critical role”, by presenting “bold science-based measures and innovative solutions in the interest of a more equitable future for upcoming generations”.

At the invitation of Kalibata, IICA Director General, Manuel Otero, joined the Summit Champions Network, one of the four main support structures of the global meeting.

Von Braun, who is also a Professor at the University of Bonn, stressed that, “it is important that Latin America and the Caribbean project a strong voice leading up to the United Nations Food Summit”.

“I hope that the Latin American and Caribbean region will emphasize the role of food trade and the development of a sustainable trade agenda – trade that is rules-based trade and that allows us to reduce the global footprint of food systems. It is important that the voice of the region be heard”, he added.

Last week, at a meeting of the Central American Agricultural Council (CAC), the IICA Director General advised the ministers of agriculture of Central America and the Dominican Republic that an information campaign would be launched throughout the Americas, in a bid to spark a hemisphere-wide discussion to ensure that deliberations at the Summit reflect the interests of agricultural producers in this region – the world’s major net food exporter.

On September 1 and 2, prior to the UN Food Systems Summit, the ministers of agriculture of the Americas will attend a meeting of the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA) – IICA’s highest governing body. Here, they are expected to arrive at a common position for the global forum.

At the meeting with the IICA Advisory Council, von Braun remarked on the importance of governance to the process of transforming food systems. “Food systems have evolved rapidly in the last three decades and the issue of processed foods is as much a rural as an urban one. It is critical that we work with industry to develop affordable and sustainable diets. We cannot transform food systems without addressing issues of governance”, he indicated, adding that he also hopes that IICA “will be one of the actors” in the meetings of scientific groups prior to the Summit.

The IICA Advisory Council for Food Security in the Americas monitors the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on food security in the region, with a view to presenting an analysis and recommendations that may be useful for decision-making by various public and private sector entities.

About IICA

IICA is the specialized agency for agriculture in the Inter-American system, with a mission to encourage, promote and support its 34 Member States in their efforts to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being through international technical cooperation of excellence.

More information:
Institutional Communication Division, IICA.

Press release on web:

Consultation by the African Agricultural Research Organizations

Prof. Joachim von Braun, Chair of the Scientific Group for the UN Food Systems Summit, addressed the virtual conference preparing for the UN Food Systems Summit, organized by Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) held February 16, 2021 with distinguished leaders of African agricultural research organizations. More than 300 participated. The consultation is under the heading “Strengthening the African Agricultural Research and Development Towards Improved Africa Food System”.

Distinguished leaders of African agricultural research and development organizations!

I applaud FARA and its partners to launch this initiative to articulate the African voice of agricultural research in the UN Food Systems Summit, and thank Dr Alioune Fall, Chairman FARA Board of Directors and Dr Yemi Akinbamiyo, Executive Director of FARA for the invitation.

The UN Food Systems Summit seeks to transform food systems to be healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable, and to get there quickly. The leadership of the FSS rests with the DSG Amina Mohamed from Nigeria, and special envoy Dr Agnes Kalibata from Rwanda, president of AGRA.

The summit is a moment for FARA and its partners to draw on its deep knowledge. The summit needs to address food systems failures that have contributed to the hunger, malnutrition, and obesity problems; to the environmental problems; to the problems of poor livelihoods in farming communities especially of women. The Food Systems Summit needs to offer solutions to address these failures, and this is where science-based innovations come in:

– Innovations in policies for lowering the cost of healthy diets are needed;
– innovations of institutions that effectively connect farmers to markets and to food industries;
– innovations in technologies for plant breeding for higher and more stable yields, animal health, new protein production;
– innovations in using digital opportunities, and many more.

For this, the food systems in Africa need a more sustained and much higher level of funding for agricultural, food and nutrition research.

The Food Systems Summit is the opportunity to address food systems problems, which only political leaders can tackle. Policy makers including those from Africa will consider food issues in the contexts of other big problems: Covid-19 crisis, climate crisis, and the devastating conflicts that create hunger. And they want to hear about opportunities: science evidence based investment opportunities that can scale; innovative finance opportunities.

An agenda with the appropriate level of ambition is required. The ambitions are clear, and in the SDGs: End hunger and facilitate healthy diets. Achieving that goal and not conflict with sustainable use of biodiversity and natural resources. And eliminate poverty and increase wealth and incomes of the low income segments is the third big objective.

It was a bold decision by UN leadership to appoint an independent Scientific Group for the Summit, which I have the honour to chair. We are 29 scientists from around the world, rooted in the many different disciplines related to the food systems. Linking to you in the African Agricultural research community is important to us. The members in the Scientific Group participate in about 60 scientific associations that each have thousands to tens of thousands of members. We have partnerships with the academies of sciences, University consortia, the Global Young Academy and reach out to student networks.

The UN leadership made clear that “The Scientific Group is responsible for ensuring that the Summit brings to bear the foremost scientific evidence from around the world and helps expand the base of shared knowledge about experiences, approaches, and tools for driving sustainable food systems that will inform the future.”

We are committed to deliver on this request. We can only achieve that in partnership with you. I am sure, the African proposals – your proposals for an evidence based FSS – will be heard at the Summit. We appreciate the UN empowering the Science communities for the summit. This must last beyond the Summit.

Thank you and I look forward to the outcome documents of your consultations.

» Flyer

Joachim von Braun’s speech at Montpellier Conference

Joachim von Braun, Chair of the Scientific Group for the UN Food Systems Summit spoke at the Montpellier Conference on “Bonding science and policy to accelerate food systems transformation – Towards the United Nations Food Systems Summit and Beyond”, February 4th, 2021 on the topic “Science and policy for accelerate food systems transformation – perspectives from the Scientific Group for the Food Systems Summit”. His speech is here.

Louise Fresco, Vice Chair of the Scientific Group for the UN Food Systems Summit also addressed the conference.