The UN Food Systems Summit, taking place virtually on September 23, calls for a profound transformation on how food is produced, processed and consumed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Food systems are directly linked to the major global challenges of our time, including food security, nutrition, climate change, water scarcity, biodiversity loss and global health risks. Currently, two billion people are malnourished, around 800 million people are hungry and about 700 million adults are obese, with health problems related to overweight increasing in both developed and developing countries. “Innovation and investments are central themes of this meeting, because they are two key ingredients for transforming food systems”, said Guy Parmelin, President of the Swiss Confederation. He emphasised that this includes technological innovation, such as the use of geospatial data for precision agriculture, but also innovations at social and political level such as new forms of multi-stakeholder collaboration with cities and the youth.
H.E. Macky Sall, President of Senegal stressed the necessity of fighting food deprivation: “The Covid-19 pandemic that we have been experiencing for more than a year has brutally reminded us how important it is to control our food sovereignty in order to be protected from the vagaries of the market when unforeseen events occur.”
Costa Rica, Senegal and Switzerland have similar views on various issues, including water and peace, and a similar approach to food systems.
The meeting also offered the opportunity to taste sustainably produced food from transformative and thus exemplary partnerships from the three regions. The culinary experience included fonio, a cereal widely grown in West Africa that can be produced with very little water; a Swiss made insect snack, which are a sustainable, environmentally friendly source of protein; buckwheat served according to a traditional recipe; and honey from a Costa Rican enterprise that helps conserve biodiversity jointly with small family businesses. H.E. Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica pointed out: “We must support family farmers, especially through fair prices and food traceability, to advance hunger eradication, sustainable development and environmental protection”.