In September 2021, the UN Secretary-General will convene a UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) as part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Harnessing science, technology and innovation is key to meeting the aspiration of efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable food systems. Thus, in support of a science- and evidence-based Summit, the UN established a Scientific Group for the UN Food Systems Summit to ensure the robustness, breadth and independence of the science that underpins the Summit and its outcomes.
In preparation of the UNFSS and drawing on the Action Tracks and various dialogues, the Scientific Group is organizing the “Science Days for the UN Food Systems Summit 2021”, facilitated and hosted by FAO on 08-09 July 2021.
The Science Days will focus on highlighting the centrality of science, technology and innovation for food systems transformation. The event will encourage a diversity of perspectives based on science, thereby facilitating rationalization and inclusiveness of debate. More specifically, the objectives are to:
- Assess the challenges confronting food systems, and share robust science-based evidence and options to achieve more healthy diets and more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable food systems.
- Explore the frontiers of science and opportunities offered to catalyze food systems’ transformation to achieve the SDGs.
- Critically assess risks, opportunities and controversies in science, technology and innovation for food systems, with attention to equity and to resilience.
- Strengthen the science–policy interface so that existing scientific evidence can effectively inform policy and policy in turn can better use science to support the transition to sustainable, inclusive and resilient food systems.
Expected outcomes include the following:
- Presenting science and innovation contributions that can support the Agenda for the UNFSS.
- Connecting food systems science with other science communities of key global action areas (related, for instance, to biodiversity protection, climate change, and ocean protection) to facilitate coherent sustainability agendas with food at a central place.
- Making a big push for food systems science, including in terms of investments in emerging economies and for global partnership to facilitate more sharing of related science.
- Exploring options for establishing a conducive science – policy interface.
The Science Days will be organized as two half-day virtual events, in combination with side events.
Plenary and parallel sessions will cover key topics such as:
- Unlocking the potential of science and innovation for transformation of food systems
- Identifying science-based options to achieve more healthy, more sustainable, and more resilient food systems
- Exploring frontiers of science for food systems
- Getting to grips with contentious issues related to science, technology and innovations for food systems
- Increasing inclusion, knowledge sharing, and unleashing transformative opportunities
- Strengthening science, policy, and people interactions
- Looking ahead to 2030 and beyond: Opportunities, trade-offs and synergies