Financing food systems: the cost is less than the cost of inaction

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Photo Credit: aak-GROW/CropLife Kenya

By Panagrimedia Reporter, July 19, 2023, The fight against hunger has stalled according to the latest figures that the UN released last week, with 122 million more people suffering chronic malnourishment since 2019. The challenges to eradicate hunger and poverty are many. Yet, without financing for food systems transformation, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate targets will remain out of reach.

It is estimated that we will need to mobilize as much as US$400 billion in additional investment per year until 2030 to safeguard a global transition to high-performing food systems that ensure more equitable, healthy and sustainable ways of producing and consuming food. A cost far less than the cost of inaction estimated at $12 trillion a year in environmental, social, and economic damage to communities, families, livelihoods and lives; or the $10 trillion in revenue generated by the global food industry; or the $700 billion paid in agricultural subsidies by wealthy countries.

Taking action will cost less than the cost of inaction is the message that the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) brings to the UN Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking Moment (UNFSS+2), a high-level event that will take place in Rome from 24 to 26 July 2023 (full programme).

The Summit takes stock of the progress made to create inclusive, sustainable and resilient food systems, encompassing all aspects related to food production, from cultivation to consumption, and their interconnectedness with the environment and human well-being – food systems are responsible for one-third of greenhouse gas emissions and currently over 3 billion people in the world cannot afford a healthy diet.

Ahead of the SDG Summit in September 2023, the three-day meeting will further highlight how food systems transformation plays a central role in the overall advancement of the SDGs, and advocates for urgent action at scale, leading to better and more sustainable outcomes for people, planet and prosperity – leaving no one behind.

As co-leads of the financing agenda, IFAD and the World Bank will lead a high-level session: Financing Food Systems Transformation on Monday 24 July. The session will showcase a new tool that makes available OECD data to track where funds are being spent to support food systems, providing key insights for countries to better understand the finance gaps.

Sabrina Elba, IFAD’s Goodwill Ambassador, will receive an honourable mention UN SDG Action award for being instrumental in bringing awareness of rural communities and small-scale farmers issues to a global audience. The awards recognize those who make a difference by mobilizing, inspiring and connecting people to drive action towards a more sustainable future on a healthy planet.

On Tuesday 25 July, IFAD will be leading a special event with a focus on Africa, the region with the highest prevalence of malnutrition in the world. This event is organized jointly with the UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa.

Another special event, also jointly organized with the World Bank, will challenge our knowledge of the role that the private sector plays in food systems, and discuss the influence that private companies can have in collectively achieving the SDGs.

On the closing day, IFAD will again co-lead a plenary session: Mobilizing Means of Implementation for Food Systems Transformation, that will be key in pegging commitments and moving forward with positive outcomes post-Summit.

The three-day event will be hosted by the Government of Italy, in collaboration with the Rome-based UN Agencies (FAO, IFAD, WFP), the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub and the wider UN system.



Tags: #Sustainable Development Goals, IFAD, Sabrina Elba, SDG Summit, UN Food Systems Summit, UN SDG Action award

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