United Nations (UN DESA) Building Food and Water Security in an Era of Climate Shocks Building a Global Coalition for Sustainability after COVID-19

United Nations (UN DESA) Building Food and Water Security in an Era of Climate Shocks Building a Global Coalition for Sustainability after COVID-19 

It was great to be able to take part in the UN DESA Global Policy Dialogues for Climate Action Wednesday, 24 March 2021. I have been on the UN FAO Forum member for a number of years so it was kind to get an invite to part of this even in a small way.

In spring 2021, in line with the United Nations Secretary-General’s priority to build a “global coalition for carbon neutrality,”1 the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs hosted a four-part series to discuss ways the world can place climate action at the heart of recovering better from the COVID-19 crisis. The series showcased key areas that the Department has been supporting to achieve the shared goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the 2030 Agenda. In monthly sessions addressing food and water security (March), energy and transport (April), forests and the ocean (May), and climate financing and digital solutions (June), the series brought together leading voices in these fields with DESA’s own experts to make the connections between these issues and discuss practical solutions.

The first sessions looked at how climate change is affecting people’s access to water for sufficient, safe and nutritious food. Cross-cutting issues such as financing, governance, gender, energy, data and statistics also was part of the discussion. As in previous Global Policy Dialogues, UN DESA partnered with the leading UN agencies working on these issues to present a full picture of the organization’s work around the world. For this event, the Department worked closely with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), (my favorite agency) which is the specialized agency of the UN that leads international efforts to defeat hunger and the UN anchor agency for the UN Food Systems Summit Action Track 1 on “Ensure safe and nutritious food for all,” as well as the UN World Food Programme (WFP), which is the UN anchor agency for the Summit’s Action Track 5, “Build resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks and stress.” 

Additionally, as UN DESA invited leading experts working to implement Sustainable Development Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation to the discussion. The event also supports World Water Day (22 March), to be celebrated during the same week, and the Department’s upcoming policy briefs on climate action and food security and nutrition. 

To enhance engagement, participants were invited to submit questions online at the time of registration and in the webinar and Facebook chat during the event. The results of the discussion will be shared with UN leadership and be used to support future UN DESA policy briefs on the economic and social impacts of the pandemic, pandemic recovery, and the Department’s support to the Decade of Action. This event also will serve as a Food Systems Summit Dialogue and the summary will be submitted as an input to Action Tracks 1 and 5 and feed into the UN-Water Global Dialogue processes under the Food Systems Summit, including the April 27 Global Food Systems Summit Dialogue on “Water as the Game Changer for Food Systems Transformation”.

It was a very informative event and it was a privilege to be part of it and be able to message during the event. Looking forward to the next one.

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