The series of Summits that were convened during the high-level week of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, including the SDG and Climate Ambition Summit, wrapped up on September 22. 

SDG Summit: Advancing SDGs with Agriculture and Food Systems 

Kicking off the UN General Assembly (UNGA) High-level Week, the SDG Summit (September 18 – 19) launched a new phase of accelerated action on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs.
Member States adopted a political declaration reaffirming their commitment to turn our world towards 2030. 

It is worth mentioning, that agriculture and food systems were recognised as crucial accelerators to achieve SDGs.
Indeed, in the political declaration, Heads of State and Government and high representatives affirm their willingness to “accelerate actions to end hunger, food insecurity and all forms of malnutrition, and the realization of the right to adequate food, including through access to sufficient, safe and nutritious foods all year round, the promotion of sustainable and resilient agriculture and food systems, as well as safe, nutritious and healthy diets. […]to keep trade channels and markets open for the movement of food, fertilizers and other agricultural inputs and outputs, while recognizing the importance of shorter supply chains at the local levels.” In this context, they also “commit to supporting developing countries to address extreme food price volatility.” 

The Summit focused on what it will take to keep the SDG promise, and featured six leaders’ dialogues on: 

  1. Scaling up actions on key transitions to accelerate SDG progress 
  1. Building resilience and leaving no one behind 
  1. Applying science, technology, innovation, and data for transformative action 
  1. Strengthening integrated policies and public institutions for achieving the SDGs 
  1. Strengthening the multilateral system for enhanced support, cooperation, follow-up, and review; and 
  1. Mobilizing finance and investments and the means of implementation for SDG achievement. 

A delegation of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), led by the President Arnold Puech d’Alissac, participated in the debate, in representation of the overall Farmers’ Major Group. 

SDG Action Weekend: Farmers for Sustainable Development 

The SDG Summit was preceded by the SDG Action Weekend (September 16 – 17), which served as a platform for stakeholder engagement to maximize the impact of the Summit. 

During the SDG Mobilization Day, on September 16, farmers, together with civil society, the private sector, youth, women, scientists, and other stakeholders, outlined their key role for a successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda. 

Speaking on behalf of the Farmers’ Major Group, the WFO President pointed out that the SDGs Agenda is all about people, and farmers are the people behind sustainable food production and stand at the heart of all efforts towards Sustainable Development Goals. 

He called on Governments and all other stakeholders to: 

  • join efforts to create an enabling environment for farmers and family farmers, women and youth, to thrive and unlock their inner power to contribute to a sustainable future for all.
  • Integrate the SDGs into national policies, budgets, and long-term strategies while engaging local communities, including farmers and food producers, in the policy-making processes to deliver the actions the world needs 
  • Build fair and inclusive partnerships, pooling the strengths, knowledge, and expertise of all stakeholders, valuing their on-ground experience and where responsibilities and benefits are shared among all actors. 

We are in this together, and only together can we succeed in co-developing strategies and solutions for social, environmental, and economic sustainable development that Leave No One Behind,” stated President d’Alissac, closing his speech. 

The SDG Acceleration Day, on September 17, focused on actions, financial commitments, and support to speed up the SDGs implementation from now to 2030. The Day specifically centred on the 12 High Impact Initiatives the UN Secretary-General has identified as crucial areas for the UN development system to work on to bring progress to scale, including Food Systems Transformation. 

Climate Ambition Summit: World Leaders Rally for Climate Action 

Amid the busy UNGA High-level Week, Heads of State and Government and other leaders convened for the Climate Ambition Summit (September 20), a full day of discussions on pathways towards accelerated climate action and increased ambition. 

In his opening remarks, the words of the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, “Distraught farmers watching crops carried away by floods,” reminded delegates that farmers worldwide are on the frontline of climate change and their resilience is vital for food security. 

In this context, it is noteworthy that the incoming UNFCCC COP 28 President Sultan Al Jaber, United Arab Emirates, has urged all countries to sign the first-ever “Leaders Declaration on Food Systems, Agriculture, and Climate Action”.
This declaration will serve as a landmark commitment, consolidating global ambition and firmly establishing food systems as a prominent item on the climate agenda and within the COP process for years to come. 

Now that the UNGA High-level week has come to a close, it is time to take action and move forward, and farmers stand ready to play their crucial role in powering the 2030 Agenda toward a brighter future for our people and our planet.