The United Nations Environment Assembly is going virtual over 2 days from February 22 - 23, 2021 in order to cater to administrative and budgetary issues. This first part of the event will be called UNEA 5.I. Substantive matters that require in-depth negotiations will be deferred to a resumed in-person session in February 2022: UNEA 5.2.
Eat your greens! You’ve probably heard this phrase throughout your childhood. Of course, this phrase was used to refer to vegetables of all kinds and not just the green ones. There is another healthy food staple that needs even more praise and encouragement: pulses.
As we have begun this New Year, we have the opportunity to shape a food system that’s even better than before.
During the past year, we have heard some great leaders – young and old – in Africa talk about their common themes on the vision of a new African food system. I think these are themes which could strengthen any food system.
Food – something we all think about every day. Yet, how far do our thoughts about food go? Do we think about how it is produced and where it comes from? Do we think about the cost of our food to the environment? The cost of production? Do we ever wonder whether there is an endless supply of the foods we love?
10 years ago I had a dream to start a new business focused on issues I am passionate about. That dream has been shared by the incredible coterie of colleagues we have built at Emerging ag – truly my dream team! Over the past decade, we have had the opportunity to work on exciting projects with interesting clients from around the world. Although this year we didn’t get to visit those clients and projects in-person, we were so lucky to have had a busy, constructive, exciting year – our biggest yet despite all the challenges. Here are a few highlights:
For centuries, the world perceived hunger and food insecurity as only effects in conflict situations. Indeed, conflict is one of the main drivers of hunger. In any situation where people are displaced, maimed, or killed as a result of insecurity and conflict the end result is lower food production. So, it is true that conflict brings hunger.
At a time when human civilization has achieved technological advances beyond imagination, where global telecommunications are instant, where artificial intelligence has permeated almost every aspect of life, when mankind has travelled to the moon and beyond, one age-old problem continues to persist – hunger. Despite the efforts by Governments, regional and international organizations and many actors and stakeholders, the world has been unable to eliminate the scourge of hunger.
I have been closely observing the impact of the pandemic on food systems and the response of agri-food actors around the world. The projections of food insecurity are devastating. However, I have found reassurance in seeing how the global food system showed tremendous resilience in such adversity. We saw many actors rising to the occasion to become food heroes. These were ordinary people such as farmers, transporters, grocery store owners, restaurant managers who worked around the clock, adjusted nimbly to difficult challenges, and demonstrated that every part of the food value chain is essential to a sustainable and resilient food system.
Safe food and equitable international trade in food commodities depend on the establishment of Codex standards which are based on science and risk-based standards. The Covid-19 pandemic has also added clarity to the link between trade and global food security and highlighted the need for more resilience in the global food system.