Press Releases, Systems Thinking


The United Nations has announced today the composition of the Champions Network for the 2021 Food Systems Summit. Ruth Richardson, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, has been invited to join the network, which consists of individuals and organizations from across food systems. Drawn from all regions of the world, the objective of the Champions Network is to mobilize a large and diverse group of stakeholders from the full range of constituencies that make up food systems, to champion food systems transformation leading up to the Summit moment and continuing beyond.

Commenting on the announcement, Richardson said:

“It has taken a pandemic for world leaders to confront the deep interconnections that exist between industrialized agriculture, climate change, public health, and historical and structural injustices. This Summit could be a real opportunity to break from the damaging status quo and be the tipping point around which food systems can deliver transformative change.

“For this to happen, we need meaningful dialogue, ensuring that all voices are heard, and leaders must act boldly in their commitments to safeguard the future of food. I am pleased to join the Champions Network today, acting on our mission to leverage our resources and networks to help transform food systems towards greater sustainability, security, and equity.”

What’s next
In line with its guiding principles — renewability, health, equity, resilience, diversity, inclusion, and interconnectedness — the Global Alliance will continue to:

– Advocate for a principles-based, holistic, systems-led approach to the design and delivery of the Summit. This is imperative in order to: achieve equity and transparency in the process; drive transformations in systems beyond agriculture; implement strategies that do not have unintended consequences; and, deliver on global commitments, from the SDGs to the Paris Agreement.

– Champion diverse evidence and inclusive representation throughout the process. Given the devastating impacts of COVID-19, especially in Africa, India, South America, and South-East Asia, enhanced representation must be given to those with low power and historically low visibility in international decision-making. This includes poor and marginalized communities, small-scale farmers, women, and Indigenous Peoples. Enhanced access and engagement measures must be prioritized and made available.

– Advocate the strengthening of existing mechanisms for global governance and multi-stakeholder engagement, including the UN Committee on World Food Security. This ensures the meaningful representation and participation of civil society organizations and other under-represented stakeholders, while also serving to connect and align multiple, diverse agendas.

– Build awareness of global initiatives, policies, and practices that deliver sustainable, equitable food systems. Running counter to the prevailing narratives that shape today’s food systems, shining a light on these Beacons of Hope and other case studies helps to inform the design and implementation of locally relevant and culturally appropriate action.

More than just this Summit
The Global Alliance has initiated the delivery of a new organizational strategy built on advocating for a series of bold calls to action as critical pathways to food systems transformation. The focus will be on key international, national, and sub-national processes, including, but not limited to, the UN Food Systems Summit 2021, UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP15), and the UN Committee on World Food Security.

From healthy diets and resilient production practices to the governance and economics that heavily impact the entire value chain, the Global Alliance’s seven calls to action touch on all priority aspects of food systems change. Find out more here.

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Kasia Murphy
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