Rome, Italy, 29 July 2021 -The UN Food Systems Pre-Summit concluded yesterday after a three-day event in which youth, farmers, indigenous peoples, civil society, researchers, private sector, policy leaders and ministers of agriculture, environment, health, nutrition and finance, reflected, discussed, and have committed to support food systems transformation and chart the course towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals through an inclusive, collaborative, and transparent process for all food systems actors, with people at the centre.

The World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), together with the Pan-African Farmers’ Organisation (PAFO), the Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA), the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) and many other fellow producers’ associations, reminded the world that farmers, fishers and other food producers are at the heart of sustainable food systems. World food producers came to Rome, showing the world what they are already doing to provide healthy and nutritious food, protect and enhance biodiversity, fight climate change and pave the way to a more sustainable future for all.

In a nutshell, here is what happened!

Highlights from the Plenary

26 July: Elizabeth Nsimadala, President, Pan Africa Farmers Organization (PAFO) and President, Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) addressed on behalf of the producers’ constituency the Opening Plenary – “A Bold Ambition to Improve Food Systems”.

26 July: Estrella Penunia, Secretary General, Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), spoke at the Opening Plenary – “A Bold Ambition to Improve Food Systems”.

28 July: Tamisha Lee, President, Jamaica Network for Rural Women Producers, represented the producers’ constituency and delivered an official statement at the Synthesis Plenary.
Read the full statement HERE

28 July: Thales Bevilacqua Mendonca, Inter-Continental Network of Organic Farmer Organisations (INOFO), delivered an official statement on behalf of the producers’ constituency at the Closing Plenary. Read the full statement HERE.

Other Must-Attending Sessions

21 July: The Food Systems Summit: Opportunities for Transformative Change

Hosted by the Food and Land Use Coalition in the UN Food Systems Pre-Summit side-lines, the panel discussion featured farmers, businesses, country representatives, nutritionists, and climate experts, discussing key opportunities, desired outcomes, and main challenges for transformative change in our food and land-use systems.
The WFO Secretary General Arianna Giuliodori joined the roundtable to provide insight into the opportunities, challenges and priorities for farmers in the UN Food Systems Summit and how farmers can drive a better system and be at the heart of that process: “The biggest opportunity, also the real challenge and the top priority of the UN Food Systems Summit, is to drive systemic change in the food systems at any level, combining food security ambition with climate, nutrition with biodiversity and resilience without forgetting livelihoods. Farmers anchor the food systems, but they are not alone in this game. It’s key that we talk about farmers as actors in a system, in the framework of SDG17, with all the stakeholders going in the same direction. As farmers, we are expecting that the Summit is really a people and actions summit. The time has come to find win-win-win solutions. “Win” for the economic actors involved, “win” for the people and “win” for the planet!Click HERE to watch the event recording

26 July: Repurposing Public Support to Food and Agriculture

The event was organized by the Just Rural Transition initiative in partnership with COP26 Presidency (UK Government), World Bank, World Farmers’ Organisation, and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
It aimed at exploring how repurposed public agricultural policy and support can advance productive, efficient, and sustainable agriculture towards sustainable food systems for all.
Addressing the panel discussion, the WFO Secretary General highlighted how food producers can be best engaged within decision-making processes around agriculture, ensuring effective, implementable, and inclusive change. “It is not just about having a seat at the table and being consulted. Everything we do around agriculture should be farmer-driven! There is the need to co-build policies, starting from their formulation. None knows better than the farmers what can and should be changed. Leveraging on this incredible knowledge that is inside the agricultural sector, we can really improve. Repurposing agriculture policies to be farmer-friendly needs to embrace a systemic approach that sees farmers interconnected with other actors,” she stated. Click HERE to watch the event recording

26 July: The Voice of Farmers, Fishers, Pastoralists, and other Producers toward the Food Systems of the Future

Led by farmers, fishers, pastoralists, and other producers in all their diversity, the Pre-Summit session “The Voice of Farmers, Fishers, Pastoralists, and other Producers toward the Food Systems of the Future” engaged a wide range of stakeholders around a vision to jointly build more equitable, empowering sustainable, and resilient food systems. Read more

26 July: Coalition for Carbon+ Farming Journey: European Green Deal in Action 

The EU Carbon+ Farming Coalition hosted a Pre-Summit affiliated session, putting around a virtual table the CEJA President Diana Lenzi, Dirk Voeste, Senior VP – Regulatory, Sustainability & Public Affairs Agricultural Solutions of BASF, Andy Zynga, Chief Executive Officer of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) and Veronica Scotti, Chairperson Public Sector Solutions, Swiss Re, to discuss what can be done to move forward the European Green Deal. The coalition wants to promote a farmer-centric approach focused on the uptake of regenerative and climate-smart agriculture practices. “I believe that young farmers and youth are key for the success of this transition to a more sustainable food system. But there is no magic wand that can make this happen overnight. We need practical, pragmatic and implementable solutions that we all need to build together,” stated Diana Lenzi, starting the discussion and building on a constructive debate to analyse how the role of the private sector, innovation and risk management can be of service to the farming sector as it takes on the great challenge laid out in the Farm to Fork.

27 July: Sustainable Food Systems: Livestock Matters!

Hosted by the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) on the occasion of the UN Food Systems Pre-Summit, the event shined a light on the success stories of livestock farmers who contribute daily to sustainable food systems, proving that livestock farming is a pivotal solution to transform food systems. Read more

27 July: Unleashing science’s potential to transform food systems

Co-organized by CGIAR and the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), this session aimed to explore how agricultural research for development initiatives act as a platform to operationalize transformational food systems targets.
Speaking at the event, the WFO Secretary General Arianna Giuliodori called on the need to shift from a farmer-responsive to a farmer-driven approach. She highlighted how crucial it is to generate solutions that are science-based and take all stakeholders in the systems on board to be win-win for everyone. Click HERE to watch the event recording

27 July: Accelerating and Scaling Investment in Soil Health

Hosted by WBCSD, this session aimed to build a multi-stakeholder consensus on scaling and accelerating investments into soil health. Tamisha Lee, President, Jamaica Network of Rural Women Producers, and member of the WFO Committee on Women, joined the discussion. She highlighted the need for more education for farmers who do not have the scientific knowledge to talk about the scientific matter, cost-effective services to farmers to get the soil testing done, and collaboration between farmers, scientists, and agronomists.

27 July: A producers’ delegation meets with DSG Amina Mohamed

On the margins of the UN Food Systems Pre-Summit (26-28 July 2021), a farmers’ delegation including Arianna Giuliodori, Secretary General of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), Elizabeth Nsimadala, President of the Pan-African Farmers’ Organisation (PAFO), and Vijay Kumar, Vice-Chair, Rythu Sadhikara Samstha, met the UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J Mohammed for a fruitful exchange on the role of the producers as key actors at the heart of food systems, as well at the centre of the Summit agenda, its outcomes and its implementation. Read more

28 July: Accelerating Progress towards Good Food for All

Organized by SDG2 Advocacy Hub and International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), this virtual session featured the participation of a wide range of stakeholders engaging in a lively discussion about the urgency and the opportunity to build policy consensus to improve the health, livelihoods, productivity and sustainability of smallholder farmers, especially as we “build back better” from COVID-19, and greater coordinated collaboration is needed during this Decade of Action to deliver the Global Goals by 2030. Tamisha Lee, President of the Jamaica Network of Rural Women Producers and member of the WFO Committee on Women, brought into the debate the voice of the Jamaican rural women producers. Click HERE to watch the event recording

28 July: Towards Global Partnerships for a Climate Smart and Efficient Food Future

Organized by  Cooperative Partnership for Climate-Smart Food and Forestry (Dutch Agri-development agency Agriterra, Dutch Agricultural and Horticultural Association (LTO), Dutch Young Farmers (NAJK), Danish Agriculture and Food Council (DAFC) and the Finnish Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK), The session focused on the need to mobilise more global climate finance for public-private partnerships to help cooperatives help their owners, the farmers, sequester carbon and mitigate agriculture emissions in developing countries.  Ambra Raggi, WFO Policy Officer and member of the WFO Task Force on Food Systems, pointed out the relevance of collaborating and breaking silos to drive the transition towards climate-resilient food systems, sharing the example of The Climakers as an effective multi-stakeholder alliance for the sustainability of food systems in the framework of a changing climate. Click HERE to watch the event recording