Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s video message to the fifteenth Forum for the Future of Agriculture, held virtually:
Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, three years into this crisis, every single Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) is in danger, while the financing needed at-scale to build back better continues to be channelled in support of short-term profit, rather than long-term resilience.
Yet investments in certain sectors could be the key to rescuing the SDGs, through their potential to create positive multiplier effects across the entire 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
SDG 3, which calls for ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages, is one such entry-point. Achieving good health requires sustainable food systems; Just as the primary purpose of food systems is to nourish all of humanity on a healthy planet.
Healthy diets are a prerequisite to achieving zero hunger, reducing inequalities, and reaching many of the Sustainable Development Goals – but nearly 3 billion people cannot afford such diets. We must therefore make healthy diets central to the transformation of food systems.
First of all, we need targeted investments to improve food quality and diversity. The food and agricultural sectors must be encouraged and enabled to increase the availability of diverse, safe and nutritious foods. A food systems approach can reduce the cost of healthy foods and ensure everyone has access to affordable, sustainable diets.
We must also use a systems approach to strengthen the resilience of people and communities in the face of shocks including pandemics or climate change. That means standards, legislation and fiscal policies that favour nutritious foods over unhealthy options. More broadly, social and economic policies that reduce inequalities are essential to increasing access to healthy diets and leaving no one behind.
Ladies and gentlemen, Health and prosperity require good nutrition. And healthy diets need robust, fit-for-purpose food systems. The United Nations Food Systems Summit identified over 2,000 solutions, facilitated the development of more than 100 national pathways for food systems transformation, and inspired more than 30 Coalitions of Action. Let’s use these tools to transform food systems, nourish humanity and build a healthier and more sustainable world for all.