e-Dialogue Series 2021-22: Towards an Equitable and Sustainable Transformation of Food Systems

The United Nations Food Systems Summit, held in September 2021, set an agenda for the sustainable transformation of food systems.

Central to this transformation must be progress on reducing the high levels of poverty and inequality that afflict the world’s rural populations, and which have increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the Chair’s Summary Statement of Action at the Summit, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on governments and partners to meet the commitments they made to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, observing: “The journey has profoundly affirmed that our food systems hold the power to realize our shared vision for a better world. There is a recognition that we must build on good practices… invest in science and innovation, and engage all people — particularly women and youth, Indigenous Peoples, businesses and producers — in achieving the SDGs”. Now begins the work of turning ideas into action to transform food systems and ensure that no one is left behind.

Starting in October 2021 and run over 12 months, this e-Dialogue series will be an in-depth exploration of who is at risk of being left-behind and who is benefitting as food systems transform. Drawing on a wide range of perspectives, disciplines, and approaches, we will examine pathways for bringing greater equity and inclusivity to how food is produced and consumed. Foresight thinking will be used to explore the impact of differing scenarios for food systems transformation on local livelihoods and rural economies.

Session 1: Integrating Equity into Food Systems Research and Development

The series will kick off on the 19th of October 2021 with a dialogue on Integrating Equity into Food Systems Research and Development linked to the CGIAR Research Program on Maize. Register for this event, here!

We will build on the content and format of the successful 2020 e-Dialogue series on “What Future for Small-Scale Farming?to look at equity issues across the whole food system.

The 2021-22 e-Dialogue series will engage leading practitioners who can link on-ground realities and the latest research to the challenges of policy innovation. A key objective will be to create a space for leading practitioners to share their insights and link across countries and regions.

Topics to be covered will include:

  • Re-framing the challenge – exclusion and inclusion in food system transformation?
  • Advancing equity in development-oriented agricultural research
  • Exploring transition pathways for equitable and inclusive commercialisation in Africa
  • Understanding the effects of COVID-19 on food systems and local livelihoods
  • Creating living incomes within food systems
  • Progress and critical constraints to women’s economic empowerment in food systems
  • Enabling fair employment and enterprise opportunity in the food system midstream, particularly for women and youth
  • Enhancing data systems for tracking food system inequality

Each e-Dialogue event will involve a diverse array of highly experienced speakers in a dynamic and engaging conversation with audience questions. For some session follow-up interactive virtual workshops will be held.  A series of blogs, vlogs and podcasts will be used to capture and disseminate the outcomes.

The e-Dialogue series has an open format enabling organisations and partners to link their work into the series and host an e-Dialogue event on a particular theme.

The first session on 19th October will be followed by 3 dialogues on Inclusive Agricultural Commercialisation and Rural Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa exploring the key findings and policy lessons emerging from the APRA Programme.

The rest of the e-Dialogue series will wrap up with a hybrid face-to-face and virtual event in November 2022.

The e-Dialogues are being hosted by FAC’s APRA Programme, Foresight4Food, and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). These networks connect to over 2,000 members worldwide. APRA/FAC, Foresight4Food and SDSN are seeking to expand the hosting group and welcome other interested groups to join the partnership hosting the e-Dialogue series.

Support for APRA’s contribution to the e-Dialogue series is provided by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). APRA is funded with UK aid from the UK FCDO and will run from 2016-2022.