The UN Summits Week 2019 marked a crucial juncture for evaluating progress on climate goals and SDG implementation.
A wide range of significant events took place on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, including the Climate Action Summit on September 23rd, and the SDG Summit on September 24th-25th, to name but a few.
A delegation of WFO, led by the President Dr Theo de Jager, brought the farmers’ voice in the debate, by taking part in several high-level meetings, workshops and international discussions.
Look back on all of the events and activities in which WFO has been involved.
September 22 – Securing our Future: People, Food and Nature Solving the Planetary Emergency
This high-level reception, co-hosted by the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU), the World Economic Forum (WEF), Conservation International (CI), National Geographic, UNDP, and Nature4Climate, focused on opportunities to transform food and land use systems to deliver resilient ecosystems and livelihoods and unlock the potential for nature-based solutions to the climate crisis. This event showcased ambitious leadership, innovative partnerships, and the mobilization of collective action behind a pathway in which food and land use play a central role in delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement climate targets.
Working through the entire value chain, breaking silos, including all actors from food producers to consumers in a joint bottom-up approach, is the only way to get win-win solutions for a sustainable future for all.
The Farmers of the world stand ready to do their part… are all the other actors and experts ready to do the same?
September 23 – Climate Action Summit
Convened by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, this one-day meeting welcomed world leaders and youth activists from around the planet.
Several commitments and announcements were made through the day by national and sub-national governments, as well as private sector representatives, but most of all, the Summit will be remembered for the words of the youth climate activist Greta Thunberg who directly addressed world leaders, demanding they go beyond economic interest and concretely act to drastically cut carbon emissions.
Global attention now turns to the Santiago Climate Change Conference (COP 25) and an obvious question arises: How will the commitments made at the Climate Action Summit translate into the NDCs? Will the momentum be as high as in New York?
September 24 – An Action Agenda for Halving Food Loss and Waste
As a member of the coalition dedicated to cut down food waste and reduce food loss worldwide by 2030, Theo de Jager didn’t miss the opportunity to join the annual summit of the Champions 12.3.
The event, which convened the leaders from across the food system, released the annual update of the world’s progress toward achieving SDG 12.3
Prepared by the World Resources Institute (WRI), the 2019 progress report advises governments to set ambitious targets and “act boldly” to reduce food loss and waste, particularly because such commitments could also accelerate progress towards the Paris Agreement on climate change as well as other agreed development goals and priorities.
September 24 – Civil Society SDG forum
Organized by the Major Groups and other Stakeholders coordination mechanism, the Civil Society SDGs Forum provided an opportunity for dialogue between civil society and the UN Member States, international organizations, and other stakeholders, to discuss possible responses to the challenges uncovered during the first four years of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
WFO attended the event to represent the perspective of the Farmers’ Major Group.
By the end, there was general agreement that:
- Key obstacles to achieving the SDGs include an imbalance between public and private funding, lack of systemic thinking in governance and policymaking, and insufficient support for grassroots CSOs.
- The reform of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) should realize effective dialogue between CSOs and governments and create better opportunities to provide input.
- The UN and governments should provide more resources to grassroots organizations and consider CSOs and local organizations as partners, not beneficiaries.
September 24 – 25 – SDG Summit
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit, which was the first UN summit on the SDGs since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda in September 2015, took place on September 24th and 25th, 2019 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to follow up and comprehensively review progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
World leaders called for a decade of action to deliver the SDGs by 2030 and announced actions they are taking to advance the agenda. More than 100 acceleration actions have been announced.
The Summit also featured the launch of the 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report (2019 GSDR) and adopted the Political Declaration, “Gearing up for a decade of action and delivery for sustainable development”.
The declaration reaffirms the principles in the 2030 Agenda, and launches an ambitious and accelerated response, pledging to make the coming decade one of action and delivery.
Will world leaders shift gears to move into the fast track of action? This remains to be seen.
September 25 – Countdown to 2030: Transforming our Food Systems
At the High-Level Event “Countdown to 2030: Transforming our Food Systems to Achieve the SDGs”, world leaders and experts gathered to discuss the importance of food systems for delivering the Global Goals as well as share initiatives and efforts underway to transition food systems along sustainable pathways.
Convened by Ireland, Malawi, the Kingdom of Norway, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Economic Forum (WEF), the event showcased the potential of food systems as sustainable transformative pathways to accelerate progress toward the SDGs and climate action. As we enter the decade of action and delivery of the Agenda, the principle outcome of the event was to call all stakeholders to take action and understand the urgency of transforming food systems.