Last week the World Bank announced it was “discontinuing” its “Doing Business” report, which ranks countries on the ease of opening and operating a company.
Current food systems are no longer fit for the 21st century. Inequitable distribution, poor nutritional habits, and climate change are three issues breaking down our global food systems today, forcing us to look for solutions to transform them. Food aid – very much part of our global food systems – needs to be responsive to the challenges that lie ahead.
With the world still counting the social and economic costs of the Covid-19 pandemic, amid a fresh “code red
” on the climate crisis, food may not seem like the most pressing threat to humanity.
September 23, 2021 is the first-ever UN Food Systems Summit, convened to mobilize the highest-priority transformations needed to end hunger through the sustainable production and distribution of food. Transforming food systems to ensure food security for all has never been so urgent.
When the UN Charter
was being drafted in the closing days of the Second World War in 1945, a debate ensued on what its opening words should be. Jan Smuts, representative of colonial South Africa, had originally suggested that the UN Charter begin with the words, ‘The High Contracting Parties.’
COVID-19 has exposed serious vulnerabilities in how people around the world access and consume food.
One of the more alarming trends is the significant increase in the consumption of foods that may be tasty and convenient, but harm our heath. These ultra-processed products include sugary drinks, snack foods, frozen meals, packaged breads and frozen desserts.
As developing countries struggle to cope with the pandemic, they risk being set back further by restrictive fiscal policies. These were imposed by rich countries who no longer practice them if they ever did. Instead, the global South urgently needs bold policies to ensure adequate relief, recovery and reform.
Dubbed ‘the People’s Summit, the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) hopes to put the world back on a path to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, through food systems overhauling. From the tempered to the extremely optimistic, experts in various food system sectors share their expectations of transformation.
COVID-19 has exposed numerous fractures in global food systems that leave millions at risk of food insecurity. Like the numerous political failures in dealing with COVID, the repercussions of food system failings are experienced by rich and poor countries alike, with the poorest and most marginalised paying the greatest price.
In the San Lorenzo Huitzizilapan Otomí indigenous community, in the state of Mexico –adjacent to the country’s capital–, access to water has been based on collective work.
In the backdrop of rising hunger, half of the world’s population living on unhealthy diets, a third of agricultural produce lost to postharvest events, and waste, poverty in farming communities, a pandemic that laid bare the vulnerability of food systems to external shocks and unsustainable food production, the Barilla Foundation for Food and Nutrition has published a report which introduces guidelines for the private sector to fulfil its role in transforming global food systems.
Policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis have exacerbated rather than reduced global inequalities. On the one hand, the net wealth of billionaires has risen to record levels since the outbreak of the pandemic (increasing by more than US$ 5 trillion to US$ 13.1 trillion from 2020 to 2021), on the other hand, the number of people living in extreme poverty has also increased massively (by approx. 100 million to 732 million in 2020).
A pre-pandemic report published by the International Labor Organization, ILO, the Global Employment Trends for Youth 2020
, offered a sober analysis on the job market prospects for youth.
Timely interventions by civil society, including concerned scientists, have prevented many likely abuses of next week’s UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS). The Secretary General (UNSG) must now prevent UN endorsement of what remains of its prime movers
’ corporate agenda.
The 2021 high-level commemoration of the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation
, organized ahead of the opening of the seventy-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly, provided an opportunity to discuss Southern solidarity in support of a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable future while effectively responding to the global COVID-19 crisis across the global South.
In August 31st 2021, five Nations including Costa Rica - the country where the Escazú Agreement was adopted - announced publicly working towards a proposal for UN Human Rights Council to recognize globally the right to a clean, safe, healthy and sustainable environment at its 48th session
Vaccine costs have pushed many developing countries to the end of the COVID-19 vaccination queue, with most low-income ones not even lining up. Worse, less vaccinated poor nations cannot afford fiscal efforts to provide relief or stimulate recovery, let alone achieve Agenda 2030.
An intense monsoon season in Pakistan means the country’s food system faces the challenge of both extreme floods and extended droughts.
In an effort to address these challenges through cross-sectoral collaboration, Dr. Mohsin Hafeez, IWMI’s Country Representative for Pakistan and Regional Representative for Central Asia, convened a regional dialogue in advance of the UN Food Systems Summit
(which is scheduled to take place at the United Nations, September 23) .
A strong movement of feminism is sweeping South Korea. While women feel empowered to stand their ground, the men are retaliating.
When South Korean archer An San won two gold medals in just two days during the recent Tokyo Olympics, the response the 20-year-old received at home was a mixed. Some men were angered and said her medals should be taken away. Why? Because her short hair was a sign that she was a ‘man-hating’ feminist.
As the United Nations gears up for its Food Systems Summit September 23, the urgent need for structural changes in how we grow, harvest, distribute, and consume food has never been more apparent.
Do you know if midwife services are available at the Saupia Health Centre in Paunangisu, on the island of Efate in Vanuatu, in the Pacific Islands? I do, and I’ve never been within 1,000 kilometres of the facility — I found the information online within seconds thanks to a data platform called Tupaia