On July 13th, 2017, at the Yale Club in New York City, IAFN organized the Ag and Food Day, an event that highlighted interlinkages between the SDGs. The day also featured a Youth in Ag Luncheon.
In the context of the 2017 UN High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF), the International Agri-Food Network (IAFN) partnered with 12 organizations host Agriculture and Food Day on July 13th at the Yale Club in New York City. The purpose of this event was to raise awareness of the critical need for investment in Sustainable Development Goal 2 (“zero hunger”) for the achievement of all the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). The day involved a thematically-focused plenary session, a series of roundtable discussions to address interlinkages between SDG’s, and a dynamic luncheon featuring youth in agriculture.
Agriculture and Food Day provided an opportunity to hear directly from individuals throughout the agrifood chain on what we need to do to achieve Goal 2. It also allowed for the 181 participants to network, share knowledge and explore future collaboration in an open and dynamic environment. To read the full opening statement, click here.
- Demonstrate that food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture cut across all 17 SDGs
- Share information with member states about concrete steps taken by the private sector to achieve Goal 2
- Highlight new and innovative ideas across the agri-food chain
- Enable better societal awareness of the challenges facing modern agriculture
- Create a dynamic and interactive session with attendees
The 2030 Agenda has placed the eradication of poverty and hunger at the center of the Sustainable Development Goals. As we seek to implement these goals, it is essential for us not to forget how important agriculture is. Throughout history, agricultural prosperity has led to economic growth and social progress in rural areas, where most of the worlds poor and hungry are located. Moreover, food security has a direct impact on national security.
It is time to rethink how we will continue to grow, share and consume our food sustainably. If done properly, agriculture, forestry, and fisheries can provide nutritious food for all and generate decent incomes, while supporting rural development and protecting the environment. Goal 2 inextricably links nutrition to agriculture, as well as to many other Goals related to health, land use, climate change, water, sanitation, education, employment, social protection, infrastructure, gender equality, oceans, and resilience.
Agricultural products and food support the livelihoods of over 1 billion people, for this reason, it is essential to create an enabling environment to allow them to deliver on Goal 2 and all the SDGs.
Current frontline involvement by so many companies and business associations Sustainable Development Agenda shows that the private sector is stepping up to participate in the transformations that are required for these challenges to be tackled; to eradicate poverty, hunger and all forms of malnutrition, and to ensure a prosperous future for all.
Highlights from the Sessions
Agriculture and Food Day Moderator
Dr. Jimmy Smith, Director General of the International Livestock and Research Institute, moderated Agriculture and Food Day as a whole. The knowledge he shared and elicited from other participants, through his moderation of these Sessions, helped to shed light on the important interlinkages between the Goals under review and in particular, Goal 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
Presentation highlights: Opening Session: Achieving Goal 2
H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly, made opening statements on the importance of supporting agriculture to achieve the SDG’s. To see his remarks, click here.
The subsequent speakers stressed the importance of Achieving Goal 2 and how this interconnects with a number of the other SDG’s. Ambassador Grant showcased the importance of women's participation in the agri-food value chain. Next, H.E. Ms. Mary Mubi spoke within the context of SDG2 2 Zimbabwe has created multi-stakeholder platforms within the context of the Zim Asset Economic Blue Print.
The remaining speakers spoke on the inextricable links of Goal 2 with nutrition as well as to many other Goals related to health, land use, climate change, water, sanitation, education, employment, social protection, infrastructure, gender equality, oceans, and resilience. They also highlighted the importance of investing throughout the agrifood chain, including research in agriculture to achieve Goal 2.
Presentation highlights: Interlinkages between the SDG’s
This session focused on how the role of agriculture is not limited to Goal 2. The speakers addressed the interlinkages of Agriculture with other SDGs and the need to treat sustainable development holistically.
Ambassador Gornass stressed the strong role for the private sector to get innovation and productivity tools to smallholder farmers. Next, Mr. Gass advised that the SDG targets and indicators are where we need to focus, as they hold the content of our collective actions. Finally, H.E. Mr. Juan Carlos Mendoza-Garcia noted that family farms are the key to addressing hunger and poverty around the world.
Breakout Sessions on Interlinkages: Goals 1, 3, 5, 9, 14
This series of breakout sessions provided an opportunity for the audience to have meaningful interactive sessions to discuss the interlinkages between Goal 2 and on of the other Goals of focus.
SDG 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
- Communication is key within and between sectors to ensure sustainable growth. Communication allows for shared knowledge, increased productivity and better partnerships.
- There is a strong need for integrated approaches to problems faced by the agrifood industry. By using an integrated approach, farmers can solve multiple issues at once.
- It is important to have multi-stakeholder partnerships to ensure a holistic approach to the fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda.
- Access to markets including the importance of value added activities, and use of new technologies is extremely important to achieve both Goal 1 and Goal 2.
SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
- Communication between sectors is key to achieve both Goal 2 and Goal 3. Through better communication, farmers can produce in a more sustainable and nutrition way.
- Strong agricultural interventions whether through bio fortification, greater diet diversity, more animal sourced foods or better agronomic practices, will have great impacts on global nutrition
- Public – private partnerships are necessary for the achievement of Goal 2 and Goal 3.
- Investment in research will improve farmers ability to make decisions and increase sustainable, nutrition production and will help policy makers develop regulations with a stronger evidence based approach globally.
SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
- Enhancing research and data will drive evidence-based decision making at the policy level.
- It is important to develop systems that will enable the presentation of data in policy-making for in a manner that meets global standards as well as national needs.
- Facilitation of networks needs to be encouraged through existing and new South-South Cooperation and other types of geographical networking. These networks are critical to accelerating the rate of information, skills exchange and learning.
- Interventions need to focus on the creation of equal opportunity of access to key transformative productive resources.
- The engagement of men is also seen as an important catalyst for change and will ensure the achievement of a hunger-free world, due to their critical roles in empowering women.
SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
- Goal 9 can be considered as one of the implementation levers of Goal 2.
- Market linkages and functioning value chains enabled by Goal 9 are key for Goal 2.
- Short-termism is still an issue. We need to address the short-term market failure that will lead to more sustainable business supply chains in the future
- More public-private partnerships are needed to enhance knowledge sharing, policy development and sustainable practices.
- Digital technology and big data can play a transformational role.
- Engagement from youth will play an important role in achieving both Goal 9 and Goal 2. With aging farmers and rapidly changing infrastructure, youth will be needed to meet these demands.
SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
- Sustainable fishing and management practices and monitoring systems are key to restoring preserving and maintaining the health and biodiversity of the oceans and seas, which are a source of income and nutrition for many of the world’s poor.
- Public-private-partnerships have an important role to play in promoting and maintaining healthy oceans and seas which can only be done effectively through the provision of expertise, experience, and financing.
- Oceans and seas are not only a source of food and micro-nutrients but also of bio-active agents that can be used for medicinal purposes.
- The exercise of corporate responsibility is an indispensably important component for the preservation of the oceans and seas, as exemplified in the need to educate farmers on the use of fertilizers, so as to mitigate marine pollution through the implementation of the “4 Rs” – right type, right amount/dosage, right time, and right space.
Luncheon: Youth in Agriculture
With an aging population of farmers, it is clear that agriculture needs to attract more young people. Half the farmers in the United States are 55 years or older, while in sub-Saharan Africa, the average age of farmers is around 60 years old. Given the critical need to attract and train a new generation of farmers, farm leaders, agribusiness workers, and managers, the Youth in Agriculture luncheon will showcase the important role youth play in agriculture and their role in delivering the SDGs.
Presentation Highlights: Putting Farming First, Partnerships to Achieve Goal 2
This session included the participation of Farming First, a coalition of multi-stakeholder organizations. The coalition exists to articulate, endorse and promote practical, actionable programs and activities to further sustainable agricultural development worldwide. A video produced by Farming First showed how farmers see themselves taking action towards the achievement of the SDGs.
H.E. Mr. Tete Antonio, Ambassador of African Union, moderated the session, with H.E. Mr. Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava providing the key note address. Ambassador Shava highlighted the multiple benefits of focusing on agriculture, as this will have impacts in ending hunger, eradicating poverty and improving rural systems. He noted three priorities that can connect back agriculture to sustainable development: infrastructure, industrialization, innovation. Click here to read his remarks.
This exciting session also included six presentations on the following topics:
- Safeguarding Natural Resources
- Sharing Knowledge
- Building Local Access and Capacity
- Post Harvest Losses
- Enable Access to Markets
- Prioritizing Research Imperatives
All these presentations illustrated the importance of partnerships to achieving Goal 2.
A live twitter wall was set up throughout Agriculture and Food Day, and the engagement online was electric! The event used the hashtags #Ag4SDGs and #youth.