Closing reflections and takeaways

During the introductory plenary Lawrence Hadded offered a timely reminder of the benefits of collaboration across different sectors. “The UN Food Systems Summit showed that talking with people from different disciplines is hard. People talk a different language, you need to make an effort to meet them where they are. The brilliance of the UN FSS was bringing all these different people and disciplines together. Lots of mindsets were challenged. New conversations were started, for example bringing together Human Rights Watch with the Right to Food community.”

Throughout the day participants listened to a range of perspectives across the three key topics and challenges, before being given the opportunity to put forward a number of innovative ideas and recommendations on how these challenges could be addressed.

During the closing  plenary Wilma van Esch, Head of the Food Security and Nutrition division at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs offered a three part approach to taking the agenda forward on food systems transformation. 

‘As an international community we have been working on partnering up, integration for the past thirty years. Who still remembers the Paris and Accra agreements for development effectiveness - which included a harmonisation agenda where we would look for synergies and further alignment? We need to do better! This means three things: 1) We need to accept that stakeholders have different interests. Being aware of power imbalances between countries and within countries is crucial to start addressing them. 2) Based on that, we need to look for our common goal, a common agenda. Develop a common strategy, accepting that organisations will still do many different things. To do this, we need to: 3) Create trust amongst each other as partners.’

When asked to reflect on her main takeaways from the event, NFP Executive Director Myrtille Danse closed proceedings by stating,  “I feel inspired, hopeful and connected after this World Food Day. It strengthens our willingness to contribute to the solution of food systems challenges in the global south. Let’s connect to each other, particularly to people, organisations, businesses at the local level in all parts of the world. Let’s continue learning about what we can do to really have an impact.”

Eva Koffeman, the Netherlands UN youth representative on Biodiversity & Food, concluded the day by remarking that we are here together with a lot of food professionals. “We need to look beyond this ‘green food bubble’ and we should involve other communities  if you aim for system change at societal level.  The government should come up with an action agenda, our time is up.”

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