WFO commitment at ‘Bold Actions for Food as a Force for Good’, the first pre-UN Food Systems Summit event

On November 23 and 24, the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) together with the World Economic Forum, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Unilever, PepsiCo, Royal DSM, Rabobank, One Young World, Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy, Wageningen University & Research, and the Government of The Netherlands, co-led the virtual meeting ‘Bold Actions for Food as a Force for Good‘, the first pre-UN Food Systems Summit event.

Here’s our round-up of the events and activities WFO has been involved in during the two-day event:

23 November

Bold Actions for Change – “Farmer Education as a Key Pillar of Oceania’s Food Systems Transformation”
Co-hosted by Nuffield Australia and World Farmers’ Organisation

The event brought youth voices and experiences on-the-ground from New Zealand and Australia into the debate on challenges and actions that can make a difference that can make a difference to food systems issues, from production to consumption.
Katie Sarah Milne, Former President of the Federated Farmers of New Zealand, and WFO Board Member from the Oceanian Constituency since 2018 encouraged young people to stay in agriculture and contribute to change the vision of farmers into “food growers”, food for a better world around sustainable farming. “NZ is already on a good path trying to understand how to reduce GHG but also increase productivity, implementing regenerative crop rotation. We are developing initiatives where youngsters learn on the farm instead of going to universities, as well as programs for children at school to go to farms to show them what a farmer is and does. This takes children into the process of how the soils work with sunlight and water; we also have irrigation modules available to teach children. We also have programs for technology transfer to the pacific islands, being a good neighbour is a big part of NZ strategy, the best we can do is scaling up and transfer technology and sustainable innovation practices, as well as bring them policymakers, researchers. We need to respect the environment and produce sustainably and transfer this information to the youth.

Bold Actions for Change – “How science-based solutions can secure nutritious and sustainable proteins, for all
Hosted by Royal DSM

Hans Roust Thysen, Head of the Centre for Climate and Responsibility at SEGES, the research organisation of the Danish Agriculture & Food Council (member at WFO) brought the Danish experience on climate-neutral food production into the discussions on how science-based solutions can ensure more efficient use of our finite natural resources. The event recording is available HERE.

UN Food Systems Summit Action Tracks and Cross-Cutting Themes – “Our generation’s challenge: getting young people back into farming
Hosted by UN FSS Secretariat, SUN Youth Leaders One Young World, United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth

Jannes Maes, President of the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA), and member of the WFO Gymnasium Alumni, joined the session with a strong call to action: “Recognising farming systems diversity is an empowering opportunity for young farmers as to when they connect and network they can share their experiences and solutions and come up with a strong position, so once they are sitting around decision making tables, they can effectively contribute to the conversation.” You can watch the session back HERE.

UN Food Systems Summit Action Tracks and Cross-Cutting Themes – “Forces for Financing Food Systems Transformation
Co-hosted by Rabobank and WBCSD

This session aimed at exploring innovative approaches to financing food system transformation and identifying priorities ahead of the UN FSS 2021. WFO Secretary General, Arianna Giuliodori, and Nono Sekhoto, Executive Council Member, African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA), and member of the WFO Gymnasium Alumni brought farmers’ needs and expectations into the debate.
Making sure all farmers, including small-scale and family farmers, can have access to targeted and appropriate investments and finance is key to maximize farmers’ contribution towards sustainable food systems,” stated Nono Sekhoto addressing the opening remarks.
Addressing the panel on boosting nature-positive production at sufficient scale, Arianna Giuliodori pointed out four key actions to make sure finance evolves towards boosting nature-positive production:

  1. Working together with the farmers – “at WFO, we call it Farmers Driven Approach!” – as they already have solutions to protect, manage and restore nature and what is needed is the right investment to scale them up.
  2. Promoting a land tenure reform for women and young farmers.
  3. Promoting blended finance approaches, where public, private and charity money converge to the outstanding goal of promoting a lively agricultural sector in vibrant rural areas. “How? By using public money to de-risk investment (guarantee funds) and partnering up with local actors to make solutions relevant to farmers and their cooperatives“.
  4. Adopting a systemic and holistic approach that involves all the actors in the wider agricultural value chain and beyond.

Bold Actions for Change – “Advancing regional Food Innovation Hubs through Partnerships
Hosted by the World Economic Forum

Giovanni Vanni Frajese, WFO Scientific Advisor and Coordinator of the WFO Scientific Council, addressed the session to highlight the value of multi-stakeholder partnerships and what is really needed to drive and accelerate the adoption of innovation by farmers.
True transformation requires that all stakeholders group work together in a joint bottom-up approach,” he stated, reminding that listening to farmers and learning more on their needs is an undelayable necessity if we want innovation enables and accelerates food systems transformation, being aware of the huge diversity of situations farmers are facing at the local level.

24 November

Bold Actions for Change – “The Climakers- A farmers driven climate change agenda towards the sustainability of Food Systems
Hosted by the World Farmers’ Organisation

This session brought together the members of the Climakers Alliance, farmers first and other relevant stakeholders of the agricultural sector, to raise awareness about the contribution of farmers to the sustainability of food systems showcasing farmers driven solutions to climate change and how a “Farmers Driven Approach” can ensure the UN Food System Summit of next year become a turning point to the shift towards sustainable food systems. READ MORE

Closing Plenary – “Bold Actions for Food Systems Transformation”

WFO President Theo de Jager joined high-level leaders from the public- and private-sector organizations, civil society groups and consumer groups for a brainstorming session on multi-stakeholder collaboration at scale to achieve the transformation needed and deliver on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“We can compare food systems to a plane; one wing is the farmers; one is the consumers. We need to rebuild this plane. We need climate-smart production; we need to enhance biodiversity; we need soil health. AMR has taught us that we need to do something dramatic about sustainability, and we need to reduce food loss and waste. You have no partner more keen and more excited to play our part than the farmers of the world. But agriculture needs to be also profitable, and solutions need to science-based, and the process needs to be transparent. We need to go against centralisation and to mainstream the contribution and the potential of women and youth. We must be very clear on where families and communities fit in all this.”

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