By Agnes Kalibata. Long before the emergence of COVID-19, it was well-accepted that the world was off-course to achieve most of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, including ending hunger. But recovering from the pandemic to deliver any of the 17 SDGs relies now more than ever on first feeding the world.
Yet as COVID-19 spread, the reported number of hungry people rocketed upward after three decades of progress, with worse still likely to come in some regions as farmers contend with an unprecedented number of extreme weather events as well as the impact of the pandemic.
There is no denying that current food and agricultural market systems and power dynamics have not worked for all countries and all communities, particularly the most marginalized and vulnerable.
But before the world can transform food systems to better provide for a growing population facing new and emerging challenges, countries, governments, and the public must also transform the way they engage with and think about entire food systems.
Not only does the planet need improved policies, markets, and processes, it also needs new mechanisms for developing this reimagined system, from the first seed to the last spoonful.
There is no single group responsible for transforming food systems to be more inclusive, nutritious, sustainable, and resilient. The responsibility for a functioning food system is shared between public and private sectors, companies and consumers, authorities and individuals, which is why it can only be transformed by sharing platforms, ideas, and learnings on a global level like never before.