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Leading Advocates for Transforming Global Food Systems named ahead of Milestone UN Summit

30 September, Rome – A set of Food Systems Champions, representing the diversity of society, have been announced today to help identify and rally communities around the most powerful ways to make our food systems stronger in all regions of the world.

The initial group of leaders in their fields and communities will advocate for more resilient, healthy, inclusive and sustainable food systems. They will mobilize their networks to engage in dialogues and bring about actions that enable accessible and wide-ranging solutions to overcome challenges in national and regional food systems.

The initial Food Systems Champions include youth and indigenous peoples’ leaders, smallholder farmers and scientists from across the globe, as well as principals from nutrition, health, climate, nature, gender, policy, producer, academic, business, finance and technology communities.

The Champions will work closely with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Agnes Kalibata, to kick start activities in the build up to the Summit, including discussions on how to galvanize and build their networks to unleash ambitious new actions, innovative solutions, and plans to transform food systems in alignment with diverse local contexts.

“This exciting and diverse group of leaders will jump start the Food Systems Champions Network to ensure the Food Systems Summit benefits from the input of the broadest and deepest set of food systems players,” Kalibata said.

“This network will be the beating heart of the Summit over the coming months, and become the frontline of a new movement to transform global food systems for the better.”

The network includes those who want to see a better food system and commit to support the UN Food Systems Summit, whether through leadership, research, business or civil society. As the Summit is envisioned as a “people’s summit”, the Champions Network will seek to engage as a network of networks and will be asking everyone to champion food systems and take action in their own right.

The UN Food Systems Summit was announced by the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, on World Food Day last October as a part of the Decade of Action for delivery on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

The aim of the Summit is help all stakeholders achieve the objectives of the Sustainable Development Agenda in 10 years through a food systems approach, leveraging the interconnectedness of food systems to global challenges such as hunger, climate change, poverty and inequality.

Unlike a traditional conference format, the Summit will be the culmination of global dialogues and efforts across five action tracks designed to encourage commitments from across the food system, including public and private sectors, research and civil society.

Along with the Champions, the Summit will also be supported by an Advisory Committee that will provide strategic guidance, an independent Scientific Group that will ensure the robustness of the Summit’s evidence base, and a UN Task Force that will facilitate cooperation across the UN system.

“We are all part of the food system, and so we all must come together to fight for stronger, more sustainable, healthy and equitable food systems around the world,” Kalibata added.

“The UN Food Systems Summit is an important opportunity to fast-track our most ambitious solutions, and to deliver real progress on all of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The initial Champions will lead the call for a new movement to transform food systems, encouraging anyone involved in food systems to join the cause later this year online.


For more information, please contact Katie Taft at

Notes to editors

Initial Members of the UNFSS Champions Network
(by name, network, and citizenship)

  1. Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, President, Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, Mauritania
  2. Ajay Vir Jakhar, Chairman, Bharat Krishak Samaj (Farmers’ Forum India), India
  3. Dr Bettina Prato, Coordinator, Smallholder and Agri-SME Finance and Investment Network (SAFIN), Italy
  4. Bonolo Monthe, Steering Committee Member, Generation Africa, Botswana
  5. Dr Bruno Oberle, Director General, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Switzerland & Italy
  6. Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CEO, Global Environment Facility, Costa Rica
  7. Catherine Bertini, Distinguished Fellow, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and Former Executive Director, World Food Program (WFP), United States
  8. Cherrie Atilano, UN Nutrition Ambassador and Founding Farmer and President, AGREA, Philippines
  9. Claudia Martínez Zuleta, Co-chair of the country programs of the Food and Land Use Economy- FOLU, Colombia
  10. Divine Ntiokam, Founder and Managing Director, Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network, Cameroon
  11. Dr Dorit Adler, President, Israeli Forum for Sustainable Nutrition, Israel
  12. Ambassador Ertharin Cousin, CEO and President, Food Systems for the Future, and Former Executive Director, World Food Program (WFP), United States
  13. Prof Flemming Besenbacher, Chairman, Danish Think Tank on the Prevention of Food Waste and Food Losses, Denmark
  14. Gabriela Cuevas Barron, President, Inter-Parliamentary Union, Mexico
  15. Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan, Chair of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, Italy
  16. Godfrey Bahiigwa, Director of Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission, Uganda
  17. Gunhild A. Stordalen, Founder and Executive Chair, EAT, Norway
  18. Helena Leurent, Director General, Consumers International, Switzerland & United Kingdom
  19. Hindou Ibrahim, Coordinator, Association of Peul Women and Autochthonous Peoples of Chad (AFPAT), Chad
  20. Ishmael Sunga, Chief Executive Officer, Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU), Zimbabwe
  21. Janya Green, 4-H, United States
  22. Jemimah Njuki, IDRC and incoming Director for Africa, IFPRI, Kenya
  23. Jessica Vega, Coordinator, Global Indigenous Youth Caucus, Mexico
  24. Prof Joao Bosco Monte, President of the Brazil Africa Institute and General Coordinator of the Brazil Africa Forum, Brazil
  25. Joao Campari, Global leader of the Food practice for The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) International, Brazil
  26. Prof Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and co-chair of the Earth Commission, Sweden
  27. Prof John Wilding, President, World Obesity Federation, United States
  28. José Graziano da Silva, Former Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Brazil
  29. Justin Adams, Executive Director, Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA), United Kingdom
  30. Dr Kanayo Nwanze, CGIAR Special Representative to the Food Systems Summit, Nigeria
  31. Kim Mi-hwa, Chair, Korea Zero Waste Movement Network, South Korea
  32. Kyle Stice, Manager, Pacific Island Farmers Organisation Network (PIFON), Fiji
  33. Lana Weidgenant, Real Food Systems – Deputy Director at Zero Hour International, Brazil
  34. Lavetanalagi Seru, Co-Founder and Coordinator, Alliance of Future Generations United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, Fiji
  35. Dr Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), United Kingdom
  36. Lucy Muchoki, CEO, Pan-African Agribusiness Consortium, Kenya
  37. Mai Thin Yu Mon, UN Global Indigenous Youth Caucus – Program Director for the Indigenous Peoples, China
  38. Marie-Claire Graf, Global Focal Point of the UNFCCC Youth Constituency (YOUNGO), Switzerland
  39. Mats Granryd, Director General, Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), Sweden
  40. Michael Taylor, Director, global secretariat of the International Land Coalition (ILC), Botswana
  41. Michelle Nunn, CEO, CARE USA, United States
  42. Mike Nkhombo Khunga, Civil Society Organisation Nutrition Alliance, Malawi
  43. Nancy E. Roman, President and CEO, Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), United States
  44. Naoko Ishii, Executive Vice President, Director for Center for Global Commons, the University of Tokyo
  45. Paul Hawken, Founder, Project Drawdown, United States
  46. Paul Newnham, Director, SDG2 Advocacy Hub Secretariat and Coordinator, Chefs’ Manifesto, Australia
  47. His Eminence Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect, Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Ghana
  48. Rick White, Chair, Committee on World Food Security (CFS), Private Sector Mechanism, Canada
  49. Robert Oliver, Chef and Founder, Pacific Island Food Revolution, New Zealand
  50. Ron Finley, Gangster Gardener and founder, Ron Finley project, United States
  51. Ruth Richardson, Executive Director, Global Alliance for the Future of Food, Canada
  52. Prof Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), Bangladesh
  53. Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President of the Club of Rome, Belgium and United States
  54. Sean de Cleene, Member of the Executive Committee, Head of the Future of Food, World Economic Forum, Australia
  55. Shakuntala Thilsted, Research Program Leader for Value Chains and Nutrition, World Fish, Malaysia
  56. E. Thanatat Tiensin, Chair, Committee on World Food Security (CFS), Thailand
  57. Theo De Jager, President, World Farmers Organization, South Africa
  58. Tom Arnold, Concern Worldwide Special Representative for Hunger, Ireland
  59. Wai-Chan Chan, Managing Director, Consumer Goods Forum, China
  60. Yugratna Srivastava, Plant-for-the-Planet & UN Major Group for Children and Youth, India

This article was originally posted through the United Nations. 


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