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.
Why is the UN holding a Food Systems Summit? Two issues that need discussion at the international leadership level are: Long before the Covid crisis was upon us, the number of hungry people in the world was increasing. Why ? What is the cause of this disturbing trend? And, can a country really claim to be food secure, unless it produces or can buy enough food to feed its population and its people can access sufficient quantities to keep themselves fit and healthy? Disquietening questions as extreme weather begins to show the destructive power that climate change will have on the planet and its people.
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.
The traumatic events that occurred in recent weeks in Afghanistan have once again placed this Asian country at the center of the world’s attention with high-impact coverage and analysis in the media.
Women, key contributors to agriculture production, are missing at the decision table, with alarming consequences, says Food Tank President Danielle Nierenberg in an exclusive interview with IPS.
Chhattisgarh was one of the first few states
in the country to universalise the public distribution system (PDS) and provide ‘Right to Food’ to its people. In order to ensure access to quality foodgrains for its vulnerable population, the state introduced the Food Security Act
in 2012. The state has been providing support
—35 kg of rice at INR 1 and INR 2 per kg; 1 kg of iodised salt and 1 kg refined oil at no cost; 2 kg of grams at INR 5 per kg—to each eligible family (as defined in the act).
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.
One of the most hotly debated issues at the recently concluded IUCN Congress in Marseilles was about designating 30 percent of the planet's land and water surface as protected areas by 2030.
As incidents of drought and extreme rainfall increase, farmers in Southeast Asia are partnering with experts to develop targeted weather forecasts to work around the threats and, when adaptation becomes too costly, buy specially designed insurance to protect their livelihoods.
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 Pacific has been battling the spread of the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles (CRB) for years and is now challenged by the invasion of a new CRB biotype, the CRB-Guam strain, that has spread to seven Pacific Island countries in just a decade leaving thousands of dead palms in its wake. The Guam strain, together with much more established biotype CRB-S has hampered the success of renovation programmes for mature tall palms as well as newly emergent, high-value coconut product industries (such as virgin oil and coconut water) that offer economic opportunities for communities in the region.
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) .
In a few weeks, the United Nations will host the first international Food Systems Summit. The goal is to create a global movement committed to solving the many dietary, economic and environmental problems linked to the way food is produced, sold and consumed today.
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.
Argentina, historically an agricultural powerhouse, has become a major producer of biofuels in recent years. However, this South American country is now moving backwards in the use of this oil substitute in transportation, a decision in which economics weighed heavily and environmental concerns have been ignored.
Even as COVID-19 walloped Jamaica’s economy last year, the government overhauled its energy emissions milestones to create what many described as a post-pandemic recovery package, based on stronger carbon targets for the farming and forestry sectors.
Finding ways to be smarter producers of food was a priority in small island developing states (SIDS) before the outbreak of Covid-19. Now the ideas of farmers and entrepreneurs, such as Piri Maao in the Cook Islands, are being avidly sought by governments and development bodies, which are keen to drive resilience and recovery as the pandemic moves into its second year.
The sea of soybeans that sprouts every November will spread even further in the state of Mato Grosso if three new railway lines that would boost soy production in central-western Brazil and growing parts of the Amazon rainforest are built.
As the international community prepares for the landmark United Nations Food Systems Summit, a pivotal gathering as part of a global goal to tackle food insecurity, hunger, biodiversity loss, and climate change through sustainable food production, Caribbean youth say the successful transformation of food systems must include young innovators.
A smartphone app in Fiji is helping users to not only eat better but to help grow food that will contribute to a more nutritious diet.