Africa Mobilizes Common Position for the upcoming UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS)

Posted by Patricia Lumba on 28 July 2021 8:20 AM CAT
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An extraordinary meeting of the African Union (AU) Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment (ARDWE), comprising ministers in charge of the relevant offices in the Member States was held on Thursday, July 15, 2021, to deliberate and validate a draft common position of Africa for the forthcoming United Nations Food System Summit (UNFSS) scheduled for September 2021. Refer to attached press release.

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This is an awesome initiative.
In a rapidly evolving food landscape globally, given the impact of current food systems on the loss of biodiversity as intensive crop and livestock production systems encroach on the pristine ecosystems which sustain our water supply [rivers, ground water and rainfall], the integrity of pollinators, and the largely small-scale low-technology agriculture [which produces about 80% of the food we consume in the continent - according to the UN-FAO], Africa is highly vulnerable and so we need a protective common position, if our posterity will be food secure and safe.

And besides the impact on the environmental factors which our food relies on, current food systems are producing crops and animals which are laden with harmful or potentially harmful synthetic substances [pesticides, antimicrobials, hormones, etc.] that the extreme pressure for quantity as the prevailing parameter that is used to measure performance, with little economic incentive to pay due regard to quality, places Africa at a uniquely vulnerable situation.

The precarious food-safety concerns for Africa derive from the general poor health services, poor protective policies and legislations [or weak enforcement where they exist], generally poor capacity to associate our worsening medical burden with the causative status of food quality, and a general desperation for economic resources to service our debts, meet our basic needs, and cope with a rapidly increasing pressure for us [especially our youth] to elevate our economic status to the level that measures up to the global trends - this latter fact is making people more and more vulnerable to quick fixes for income needs].

All these factors call for us to have an urgent common position that secures our short term interests as well as long term interests, since development without a safe secure people, and a safe secure environment is unsustainable.

Our voice at the International Forum is crucial; it is possible, given that we are 54 votes at the UN, and it is critically necessary in today's global material and ideological competition.

Africa cannot afford to lose its nature-based food production resources, its fragile ecosystems to short term food systems, or its safety - as speculated by numerous "conspiracy theorists" who claim that there is an onslaught on the future survival of Africa.

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Mwenda Mbaka

4 months ago

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