Taking place in September, the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) will highlight the potential of food systems to deliver a sustainable future for all people and the planet.

A framework of commitments and actions for all stakeholders to achieve sustainable food systems over the coming decade will be set out.

Irish input

As part of Ireland’s preparation for the summit, Sinéad McPhillips, assistant secretary general at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), will host a series of four UNFSS national dialogues to discuss the environmental, economic and social sustainability of Ireland’s food system; as well as the contribution we can make to strengthening global food systems.

The dialogues are designed to provide an opportunity for all stakeholders, from producers to consumers, to learn about their food system and contribute to its future sustainability. Each dialogue will feature a keynote speaker and a panel of stakeholders and will focus on solutions.

These solutions, according to DAFM, incorporate practical steps we can take to improve the sustainability, resilience and inclusivity of our food system over the coming decade and accelerate progress towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Ireland’s 2030 Agri-Food Strategy

This first national dialogue on 21 April will focus on sustainable food systems (SFSs) and Ireland’s 2030 Agri-food Strategy, which will be published shortly in draft form as part of a public consultation on its environmental aspects.

The dialogue will open with a keynote address by Dr Martin Frick, deputy of the UN secretary general’s Special Envoy for the Food Systems Summit 2021, followed by two panel discussions; Ireland’s Food Systems Approach: A view from Home and Internationally and Environmental and Economic Sustainability: Synergies and Trade-offs.

Ireland’s 2030 Agri-Food Strategy has been developed using a “food systems approach”, which takes account of the links between policies for food, climate and environment, and health, as well as the role of all players in the food value chain in realising a future vision.

According to DAFM: “This pioneering approach will be of interest at EU and international levels, particularly in the run-up to the UNFSS. The central vision for the 2030 Agri-Food Strategy is that Ireland will become a world leader in SFSs over the next decade. Sustainability in its three dimensions – economic, environmental and social – is at the heart of this vision.”

The national dialogues will take place as follows:

  • 21 April 2021: Sustainable Food Systems and Ireland’s 2030 Agri-food Strategy.
  • 26 April 2021: Health and Wellbeing of People and Society.
  • 4 May 2021: Promoting an Inclusive Food System for the Future.
  • 17 May 2021: Aligning Domestic and Foreign Policy towards Sustainable Food Systems.
  • For further information and to register, see gov.ie - Food Systems Summit 2021: Ireland's National Dialogues (www.gov.ie) and the UN website.

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