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The United Nations Food Systems Summit

Find out how Australia and New Zealand participated in this global event.

The United Nations (UN) hosted a Food Systems Summit in September 2021. As UN members, the governments of Australia and New Zealand participated. The aim of the summit was to raise awareness of the critical role that agriculture and food systems play in achieving a sustainable future, and in the achievement of the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's).

The Summit comprised a series of ‘Dialogues’ that brought together policymakers, farmers, industry, academia and community groups from around the world, to discuss challenges and share potential solutions and innovations. Dialogues were member-state hosted, or independent to encourage citizen involvement and more than 240 independent dialogues were convened in more than 60 countries. Outcomes of Dialogues are (or will be) presented in synthesis reports.

The Australian government held several Dialogues hosted by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) and these are available as webinars and transcripts. For example, ‘Eating for our health and the environment- balancing nutrition and sustainability’ with Professor Amanda Lee (University of Queensland), Dr Brad Ridoutt (CSIRO), Mark Barthel (Fight Food Waste CRC) and Ronni Kahn (OzHarvest). You can find more DAWE Dialogues here.

An independent dialogue was held about how we could use National Dietary Guidelines as a lever for attaining a healthy and sustainable food system in Australia.

New Zealand also hosted Dialogues, for example the Ministry of Primary Industries hosted a Dialogue about the New Zealand National Food System, and an independent Dialogue was hosted by the fruit and vegetable industry on The future for fruit and vegetable kai systems in Aotearoa New Zealand (kai means food). New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told the Summit, “We must grow food where the environment supports it best and where emissions efficiency is greatest, while minimising barriers to trade and efficient distribution” (Reuters, Sept 24, 2021).

You can explore the many dialogues here.


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