UN Food Systems Summit 2021

The United Nations (UN) is hosting a Food Systems Summit in 2021. As a UN member, Australia is participating in this event.

The aim of the summit is to raise awareness of the critical role that agriculture and food systems play in achieving a sustainable future. Outcomes go towards achieving the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's). Each of these goals contribute to achieving healthier, more sustainable, fairer food systems.

The Food Systems Summit is a series of events that bring together policymakers, farmers, industry, academia and community groups from around the world, to discuss challenges and share potential solutions and innovations.

The food system

The food system includes all people, processes and activities involved in the production, aggregation, processing, distribution, consumption and disposal of food products from agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and the broader economic, social and environmental contexts in which these activities take place (FAO, 2018). Food systems are complex and interconnected.

The world’s food systems are facing many challenges, including here in Australia. There is a need to:

  • ensure more sustainable food production
  • feed more people
  • enable farmers and producers to make a decent living from agriculture.

Reducing hunger and malnutrition around the world and managing risks from climate change are also key global challenges.

What we're doing

Australia supports the UN’s goal of delivering more sustainable, productive and resilient agricultural and food systems for producers and consumers alike.

In our role as Australia’s National Convenor for the Food Systems Summit, we are hosting a series of National Food Systems Summit Dialogues.

We will take part in the Pre-Summit in July, followed by the Summit in September.

Get involved

Learn more and have your say by taking part in:

Pre-Summit

The Pre-Summit will be held in Rome on 26-28 July 2021.

Participants can take part either in-person or virtually. The Australian delegation will participate remotely.

The event will set the stage for the final event in September by bringing together diverse actors from around the world. They will consider the role of food systems to deliver progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The three-day gathering aims to deliver the latest evidence-based and scientific approaches from around the world, launch a set of new commitments through coalitions of action and mobilise new financing and partnerships.

View the Pre-Summit program.

Registration now open

Register now to take part in the Pre-Summit.

Food Systems Summit 2021

The Food Systems Summit will be held in New York in late September.

It aims to generate significant action and measurable progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by identifying solutions and leaders, and to issue a call for action at all levels of the food system, including national and local governments, companies and citizens.

National Food System Summit Dialogues

In the lead up to the Food Systems Summit UN member countries, including Australia, can hold National Food Systems Summit Dialogues.

These webinars provide an independent platform for Australian stakeholders including experts, academics, industry representatives, farmers and the general public to share experiences, ideas, opportunities and solutions on a variety of issues and challenges facing food systems.

The aim is for these discussions to be open and transparent, and as representative as possible. They are independent of Australian Government processes and views.

Feedback from the dialogues will form a key part of Australia’s input into the Food Systems Pre-Summit and Summit.

Find out more:

Completed Food Systems Summit Dialogues

This table summarises previous National Food Systems Summit Dialogues and provides links to webinar recordings and transcripts.

Webinar and date Discussion topics Presenters Recording and transcript
Growing Greener – food production and a healthy environment 13 May 2021
  • Ways sustainable food and fibre production can help meet the challenges of biodiversity loss, a changing climate, and an increasing population
  • The need to produce more food with less environmental impact
  • Innovations and technology for environmental sustainability.
  • Fiona Simson, National Farmers’ Federation
  • Professor Richard Eckard, University of Melbourne
  • Professor Andrew Macintosh, Australian National University
  • Melinee Leather, Leather Cattle Company
Future proofing our food systems – boosting resilience 20 May 2021
  • Challenges and opportunities posed by future trends and risks, including climate change, potential trade and supply chain disruptions, and changing consumer patterns and demands
  • Increasing resilience to potential vulnerabilities, shocks and stresses to safeguard a future food system
  • David Eyre, Future Food Systems CRC
  • Dr Mario Herrero, CSIRO
  • Professor Mark Howden, Australian National University
  • Peter Gooday, ABARES
  • Brianna Casey, Foodbank
  • Doug McNicholl, Meat & Livestock Australia
Eating for our health and the environment - balancing nutrition and sustainability 27 May 2021
  • The intersection between diet / nutrition and environmental sustainability in Australia
  • Initiatives, innovations and research along the supply chain which seeks to balance environmental/nutrition considerations
  • Innovative approaches to addressing food loss and waste.
  • Professor Amanda Lee, University of Queensland
  • Dr Bradley Ridoutt, CSIRO
  • Mark Barthel, Fight Food Waste CRC
  • Ronni Kahn, OzHarvest
Australian Food Systems – addressing shared challenges 9 June 2021
  • Addressing the triple challenge of providing food security and nutrition, delivering strong livelihoods throughout the supply chain and ensuring environmental sustainability
  • The notion of “trade-offs” and synergies in food systems
  • Using science and evidence whilst acknowledging and managing diverse stakeholder interests and values.
  • Lee Ann Jackson, OECD
  • Dr Anne Astin, AM PSM
  • Howard Parry-Husbands, Pollinate
  • Krista Singleton-Cambage, WWF Australia
Agricultural innovation – building better food systems 13 July 2021
  • The role of agricultural innovations in building better food systems
  • Policy approaches to support new agricultural and value chain innovations and to promote widespread uptake of innovative ideas and technologies
  • Innovation to deliver sustainable and efficient food systems.
  • Dr Lilly Lim-Camacho, CSIRO
  • Ian Olmstead, Dairy Australia
  • Dr Michael Crawford, Soil CRC
  • Dr Melony Sellars, Genics
  • Tanya Kilminster, South West WA Drought Resilience and Innovation Hub.

Australian member country dialogues

All Australian member country dialogues are listed on the UN Food Systems Summit website along with a feedback report on each event.

Multi-stakeholder Partnerships for Scaling Agricultural Innovation

Convened by Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

25 May 2021

This dialogue brought together high-level stakeholders from around the world to discuss the challenges and opportunities of multi-stakeholder partnerships for developing new and scaling existing innovations. In small-group discussions, participants examined existing partnerships, shared practical recommendations, and explored how partnerships will support food systems transformation on a global scale.

Achieving healthy diets from sustainable food systems by 2030 – what science, innovation, and actions are needed in Australia?

Convened by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

8 June 2021

This dialogue provided an opportunity for interactive discussion among diverse stakeholders to discuss, debate and identify possible food system futures and the science, innovation, and actions needed by key stakeholders.

What role does food labelling play in helping to shift consumers towards healthier, safe and sustainable consumption?

Convened by the Department of Health.

13 July 2021

This dialogue considered the role of food labelling to help shift consumers towards healthier, safe and sustainable consumption. The dialogue featured short presentations from a number of key speakers from a range of areas including government, academia and industry.

This dialogue links to the work of Action Track 2 – Shift to sustainable consumption patterns.

Learn more and watch the recording.

Independent Dialogues

Organisations and individuals can also hold Independent Dialogues in support of the summit and its objectives.

Find out more about hosting an Independent Dialogue, including how to register.

Read more about the Australian Independent Dialogues on the UN’s website.

Last reviewed: 29 July 2021
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