FAO Somalia and The Federal Government of Somalia have launched the first of a series of virtual regional and national Food System Summit dialogues in preparation for the United Nations Food Systems Summit, to be convened by the Secretary-General in September 2021. The global Food Systems Summit is central to the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 to deliver progress on all 17 SDGs, each of which rely to some degree on a healthier, more sustainable and equitable food systems. Transforming food systems in Somalia is central to efforts in achieving the goals outlined in Somalia’s National Development Plan and the SDGs and the national dialogues build on pre-summit consultations that occurred earlier in 2021.
The Somalia Food System Summit dialogues, that began with the first sub-national meeting held in Jubaland on Monday around the theme ‘Digital Revolution and Innovation in Food Systems’, are an approach for enabling systematic, inclusive opportunities for people from all walks of life in Somalia to be engaged in food systems. The approach enables Somali participants to contribute to the Summit by building on efforts already underway, working together on pathways that lead to sustainable food systems, and setting out intentions and commitments in the run up to the Global Summit. A series of summits are planned to be held across six different regions and one national summit culminating in a report that identifies a pathway to addressing food systems challenges in Somalia.
Present at the Sub National Jubaland Dialogue on Monday were the curator, Dr. Said Mohamed Hersi, the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Network Focal Point for Jubaland, Director General of the Jubaland Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, Mr. Mohamed Mursal Hersi, FAO Representative in Somalia, Mr Etienne Peterschmitt, state and federal officials, private sector, non-government organizations, UN representatives from FAO and WFP, and other participants. The key-note speaker for the Jubaland Dialogue was Mr. Sherif El Tokali, an Innovation Specialist from the UNDP Somalia Innovation Lab.
A message from Somalia to The Global Food Systems Summit
The dialogues, held across seven different locations and thematic priority areas, will promote engaging discussions to identify urgent transformative actions to strengthen resilient agri-food production, address all forms of malnutrition, and respond to global crises such as COVID-19 and climate-change, that are posing risks and vulnerabilities threatening Somalia’s ecosystems and future.
“These seven dialogues will help us to explore regional aspects of food systems in Somalia to further inform how they are shaping national pathways to sustainable food systems,” said Dr. Mohamed Abdi Farrah, National Food Systems Dialogue Convener and Somalia SUN Focal Point. “The findings and solutions from these dialogues will be taken from Somalia to the Global Food Systems Summit as we work to ensure Somalia is not left behind in the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
‘No time to waste’ in addressing inequitable and unsustainable food systems
Combatting malnutrition in all its forms is among the most pressing global challenges that countries face today. Urgent actions are needed to address these challenges and the negative impacts associated with malnutrition in Somalia which has some of the highest rates of malnutrition globally. In addition, global crises such as COVID-19, the climate emergency, pollution, biodiversity loss, conflict and other disasters are revealing significant risks and vulnerabilities in Somalia’s food system, posing an existential threat to both humans and ecosystems alike.
“Somalia suffers from multifaceted challenges to the food systems such as drought, locusts, floods and most recently the COVID pandemic. There is no time to waste, and the food systems dialogues provide a rare opportunity for all sectors and stakeholders to come together and commit to actions that can impact the functionality of sustainable and resilient food systems and their ability to deliver healthy diets in Somalia,” said FAO Representative in Somalia, Mr Etienne Peterschmitt.
Somalia’s Food System Summit Dialogues will conclude with a national event hosted by the Somalia National Government in Mogadishu on September 9 after which the findings will be presented by a delegation of the Somali Government to the Global Food Systems Summit on September 23 in New York.
The Summit dialogues in Somalia are supported by FAO Somalia, WFP Somalia and The European Union.