Chapter 2

Key Inputs from Summit Workstreams

FOOD SYSTEMS SUMMIT DIALOGUES

Summary

From the outset, the Food Systems Summit sought to energize and accelerate our collective journey to eliminate hunger, boost nutrition, create more inclusive and healthier food systems and safeguard the health of our planet. Success of the Summit will hinge on robust, inclusive, and multi-stakeholder preparation which draws on the best evidence, ideas, and commitments from around the world. Multi-stakeholder Dialogues are increasingly recognized as a valuable approach for engaging various actors and using their combined knowledge to highlight and resolve systems challenges.

As such, the Food Systems Summit Dialogues were a core component of the preparations process of the Summit and will remain an asset that national governments and all other can draw on in future. The Dialogues are opportunities for the widespread engagement of all people as stakeholders in food systems. They encourage a collaborative approach at a time when there are many incentives for fragmentation. Through a progression of Dialogues, stakeholders are able to agree on how they will work together to create food systems that are both sustainable and equitable, aligned with the SDGs, and suited to the needs of our future world and her people.

The FSS Dialogues Program by Numbers

  • Over 100,000 people participated in all Dialogues.
  • 11 Global Dialogues took place.
  • Over 900 Independent Dialogues
  • Over 550 Member State Dialogues
  • 93 National Pathways were submitted by 22 September.

Three Types of Food Systems Summit Dialogues

To engage as many stakeholders as possible, three types of Food Systems Summit Dialogues can be convened:

Member State Dialogues

To support Member States in developing national pathways towards sustainable food systems, governments were encouraged to initiate multi-stakeholder Food Systems Summit Dialogues. To do so, the UN Deputy Secretary-General requested that Member States appoint Dialogue Convenors to be responsible for defining and organizing the Member State Dialogues programme. These Dialogues take place in three stages, within different sub-national and national settings:

  • Stage 1: Initiating National Engagement.
    Initiates the engagement of a stakeholder groups at national level.
  • Stage 2: Extensive Explorations Everywhere.
    Includes sub-national Dialogues (in cities, countries, states, prefectorates, or other jurisdictions).
  • Stage 3 Consolidation, Intention and Commitment.
    Shapes the national pathway for sustainable food systems (in line with the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development). Consolidates country level commitments and actions.

To reinforce the Member State Dialogues process, some governments are also working together on convening Inter-governmental Dialogues that appreciate and explore aspects of food systems spanning beyond their borders.

Global Summit Dialogues

The purpose of the Global Dialogues was to bring political attention to food systems in high-level thematic and sectorial meetings and processes and mobilize to support towards priority actions that are aligned with food systems transformation. The Global Summit Dialogues were co-convened by the FSS Special Envoy and have covered the following areas: Sustainable Consumption and Production Energy; Water; Youth; Oceans, Rivers, and Lakes (Aquatic food); Nature-Positive Food Systems; Finance; Cities and Local Governments; Trade; Farmers, Fishers, Pastoralists, and Other Producers; and Faith.

The report on the Global Dialogues is available here.

Independent Dialogues

These are locally driven and adaptable to various contexts, convened by individuals or organizations independently of national authorities but with the opportunity to formally connect into the Summit process through an official feedback mechanism. Independent Dialogues offer opportunities for all citizens to engage directly in proposing pathways towards sustainable food systems, exploring new ways of working together and encouraging collaborative action.

The Dialogue Process

The Food Systems Summit Dialogues are purposeful and organized events where a broad and diverse range of stakeholders come together and share their experiences of food systems, consider how their roles impact on those of others, and seek out ways to improve or transform food systems so they are suitable both for people and planet. The Dialogues provide an inclusive and supportive venue for debate, collaboration, consensus-building, and shared commitment making. They encourage the exploration of challenges faced in food systems, reflection the Summit themes, and learn from the perspective of others who participate in order to make change happen.

The Dialogues use a standardized approach for the convening, curation, and facilitation of Dialogues. This standardization makes it easier to synthesise the outcomes of the Dialogues and contribute to the preparation of the Food Systems Summit. Within this approach, Convenors are free to frame Dialogues in ways they best see fit.

To be considered a Food Systems Summit Dialogue, there are three basic requirements:

  1. The principles of Engagement. In particular: Recognize complexity, Embrace multi-stakeholder inclusivity
  2. Be announced on the Dialogues Gateway.
  3. Share outcomes using the Official Feedback Form.

The Dialogues are prepared and convened so that they welcome all participants from across government and diverse actors from the entirety of food systems and enable everyone to engage purposefully with open exchanges. Ultimately, Dialogues contribute to shaping the pathways, which will lead to equitable and sustainable food systems by 2030.

There are many resources available to support Dialogue Convenors including the Dialogue Gateway, virtual trainings, toolkits, reference manuals, and communication assets for both Independent and Member State Dialogues. Resource materials, including the executive summary of each Synthesis Report, were made available in all official UN languages.

Outcomes and Official Feedback from Dialogues

Beyond the value of a Dialogue to its Participants, the outcomes of Dialogues feed into the preparation of the Food Systems Summit.

Once a Dialogue has been convened, the organizers submit the Official Feedback Form to the Dialogue Gateway, where it is publicly available. The Dialogues Gateway provides open-access to all Dialogue Feedback. It is an important resource for all who are actively pursuing options for the transformation of sustainable food systems in the coming decade. Feedback is also synthesized into reports which identify common trends and themes across the Dialogues. The syntheses as well as individual Dialogue Feedback forms also informed the work of the entire process.

Synthesis for Member State Dialogues is prepared by the Food Systems Summit Dialogues Support Team. Based on the Official Feedback Forms submitted by national Convenors, the syntheses provide an analysis of progressions and trends across countries. Synthesis of Independent Dialogues is prepared by the Blue Marble Evaluation global network. Based on the Official Feedback Forms submitted by Independent Convenors, the syntheses present a generative and illustrative set of emerging themes.

All Synthesis Reports are available both on the Dialogue Gateway and the Food Systems Summit Documents and Reports page.

Dialogues at the Summit and Beyond

Through the Food Systems Summit Dialogues, the Summit process is also providing the opportunity for national governments and stakeholders from around the world to look at food systems differently, to identify priorities, shape strategic pathways for the future of food systems, and to generate commitments from multiple stakeholders. As a result, a priority outcome of the Summit will be the development of National Pathways for Food Systems Transformation that lay out how countries will seek to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda in their own context. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. These pathways will take account of the multiplicity of sectors, interests, and societal groups that are involved in, and influenced by, food systems, and it will take the work of all constituencies at all levels to deliver on them going forward. The Summit is also seeing the development of Regional Pathways for Food Systems Transformation that speak to areas of common focus and priority across many countries and national pathways or can only be addressed through the joint effort of these countries across national borders.

People everywhere are still encouraged to convene Independent Dialogues. Feedback forms from Independent Dialogues will continue to be analyzed and inform future synthesis work following the Summit. Reports will also be publicly available in a searchable database where they can serve as a valuable resource for research on perceptions of food systems transformation, deeper analysis, university theses, dissertations, and scholarly inquiries, among other uses.

Member State Dialogues

Synthesis Reports

Guidance Note on National Pathways The guidance note on national pathways can be found here.

Gateway for Pathways can be found here.

Independent Dialogues

Synthesis Reports

Constituency Group engagement with Independent Dialogues

Civil Society

The Food Systems Summit aims to be an inclusive and participatory space for civil society, thus, it has been fundamental that civil society proactively joined and contributed to the Summit agenda. Civil society has engaged at all levels of the Summit, including in Dialogues at both regional and country levels.

  • Pre-Summit session on the civil society experience in the FSS Independent Dialogues (approximately 2,000 civil society virtual participants in the Pre-Summit)

Food Producers

Food producers have been engaged in the Summit process to build awareness about the key role of farmers, fishers, pastoralists, and all types of food producers in building sustainable and equitable food systems, to identify key support request of producers towards other stakeholders and demonstrate key commitment in transforming the food systems.

  • Over 50 producer-led Independent Dialogues (May-July 2021) engaged over 2,500 food producers;
  • One Global Dialogue (multi-stakeholder) and one Independent Dialogue with a global scope (producer-only) took place in July 2021 engaging around 500 farmers.
  • A special ‘deep dive’ synthesis report on smallholder farmers and other small-scale food producers examined feedback from relevant Independent Dialogues.

Private Sector

The private sector has been engaged throughout the Summit process to showcase the roles and the responsibilities of both multi-national corporations and small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in transforming the food systems globally and to guide and demonstrate key commitment from the constituency in accelerating food systems transformation.

  • Several SME-focused Dialogues organized (11 regional and 1 Global) securing 945 active SME contributors and leading to a Small Business Agenda report with recommendations on SME engagement.

Youth

The Summit engagement with the youth has the objectives of mobilizing young people worldwide to connect and actively participate in the process, of providing a platform to elevate youth voices and ideas, enhancing their leadership, creating a strong network of self-organizing groups to lead the cause for food systems transformation. Through connections with young influencers, activists and youth-based institutions, the Summit has reached thousands of youth engaging them in different processes as discussions around Action Tracks, dialogues and consultations.

  • Nearly 100 Independent Youth Dialogues organized by youth and one Global Youth Dialogue-Good Food for All (May 2021) an online youth consultation, led by the Summit and the World Food Forum organized.
  • A special ‘deep dive’ synthesis report on youth examined feedback from relevant Independent Dialogues.

Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Peoples have been engaged in the Summit process to highlight the importance of indigenous knowledge, traditional practices and technologies on food systems to a global audience and ensure that the world benefits from this knowledge, wisdom and values.

  • 17 Independent Dialogues organized in the seven socio-cultural regions and 3 global ones for Indigenous producers, women, and youth, with over 1,200 peoples from 218 Indigenous Peoples’ organizations participating.

Chapter 1 – Overview of the Food Systems Summit Process

Over the course of 18 months, and in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, the Secretary-General’s Food Systems Summit has engaged hundreds of thousands of people from around the world in an ambitious effort to accelerate action to transform food systems to realize the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In the context of the Decade of Action, as both a “People’s Summit” and a “Solutions Summit”, the Food Systems Summit has been a catalytic moment for global public mobilization and motivating actionable commitments by various stakeholders.

Chapter 2 – Key Inputs from Summit Workstreams

As part of the Summit process, over 147 UN Member States led National Dialogues. Their outcomes are being consolidated into national pathways, which are clear visions of what governments, together with various stakeholders, expect of food systems by 2030. Member States and a wide range of experts and stakeholders have contributed more than 2200 suggestions for accelerated action. The Action Tracks have clustered this rich input in a systemic way to build communities of practice and foster new partnerships. The Scientific Group consulted broadly and made a robust contribution to the evidence base underpinning much of the Summit’s work. The UN Task Force helped to mobilize over 40 key global institutions to bring knowledge and expertise. Through the Champions Network, Global Food Systems Summit Dialogues, and over 900 Independent Dialogues, people around the world have offered ideas on how to transform food systems.

Chapter 3 – Overview of the Pre-Summit

UN Food Systems Pre-Summit was held from the 26 – 28th July 2021, at the FAO in Rome and on-line attendance.  More than 100 countries came together over the course of three-days to discuss how they will transform their national food systems to drive progress against the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

The official pre-summit programme featured sessions dedicated to four decisive “levers of change”, including women’s empowerment, and human rights.

Chapter 4- Summit

PLACEHOLDER

The UN Food Systems Summit will launch bold new actions, solutions, and strategies to deliver progress on all 17 SDGs, each of which relies to some degree on healthier, more sustainable, and equitable food systems. The Summit will awaken the world to the fact that we all must work together to transform the way the world produces, consumes, and thinks about food.