Following a year of lockdowns and a stalling global economy, the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World research shows that an additional 118m people are going to bed hungry, an increase of 18% in one year. We are at an inflection point. We can either let hunger spiral out of control, causing untold misery, economic turmoil and social unrest. Or we can seize the moment and resolve to end it. Private sector needs to act together with other actors and be part of the solution.
"Achieving zero hunger points to a number of "firsts". For the first time, ending hunger is within the world’s grasp: science has given us a clear roadmap on the who, what and where to invest to meet SDG2. And for the first time, hunger numbers have risen by nearly 20% in only one year. So hunger reduction is the first job of any food system transformation, said Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director GAIN and Chair UNFSS Action Track 1."
The "Zero Hunger, Nourish the Future" pledge for the private sector, is a game-changing solution that emerged from the UN FSS Action Tracks and is supported by Dr. Agnes Kalibata, Special Envoy for the UN FSS and by Professor Joachim Von Braun, Chair of the Science Group.
For the first time, ending hunger is within the world’s grasp: science has given us a clear roadmap on the who, what and where to invest to meet SDG2.
The pledge is a non-binding statement of the companies’ proposed operations and investment plans. It is not intended to create any legally enforceable rights or obligations on the company or its affiliates. After the pledge is signed, the company will work with implementing partners to convert the pledge into a specific commitment which will be tracked by an independent mechanism.
"We know governments and donors need to double their spending on food security and agriculture in the next 10 years to be able to end hunger, double the incomes of the poorest farmers, and meet the Paris climate goals. But, governments can’t meet these goals alone. More private sector investment in agri-food sectors in low- and middle-income countries is also needed to realize a drastic change", said Carin Smaller, Director, Agriculture, Trade & Investment IISD.
The pledge requires companies to make a financial commitment in at least one of the ten high-impact intervention areas, and in at least one of the priority countries or regions critical to achieving zero hunger. For a company or investment fund to better align their operations and investments with these impact areas and countries will require, in time, a gradual change in their portfolio of operations.
More private sector investment in agri-food sectors in low- and middle-income countries is also needed to realize a drastic change.
The company also has to name the partners it will work with to achieve the action, including one of the pledge implementing partners or other international or regional organization, local, regional or national government, or CSO that the company is working with. To date, the pledge implementing partners are: FAO (Hand-in-Hand), GAIN, Grow Africa, Grow Asia, WEF (Food Action Alliance), and WFP.
The pledge is currently being coordinated out of Action Track 1 of the UNFSS. The partners are: GAIN, Grow Africa, Grow Asia, IISD, WBA, and WFP. Ultimately, it will be hosted by an International Organization or group of them.
At this stage we are seeking to gather companies’ interest and broad support towards the idea of the pledge.
The initial supporting companies will be announced during the session at the Pre-Summit of UNFSS. We envisage an official signing moment during the UN Food Systems Summit in September.