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The GFAR Secretariat in partnership with the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub held a webinar discussion on Jan 19th, 2023  focusing on the follow up to the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), specifically working with the Hub and regional and national partners to support the development and implementation of food systems transformation national pathways.

Watch the full recording of the webinar here


The webinar provided an introduction on the conclusions of the UNFSS and the implementation of UNFSS national pathways. It also introduced efforts to catalyze innovation and research to support national pathways drawing on the experience of Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean area (PRIMA). This would inform a conversation between UNFSS national convenors and GFAR, GFAR Regional Fora and members to reflect on what has happened already, what is being planned and ways forward. 

The webinar showcased where partnerships are being established, particularly where research and innovation have been identified as priorities, to inspire other countries to move forward.


As noted by the UN Secretary-General’s Chair Summary and Statement of Action on the UN Food Systems Summit, many of the world’s food systems are fragile and not fulfilling the right to adequate food for all. Hunger has been on the rise again. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these worrying trends, leading to up to 811 million people in the world facing hunger in 2020 — a 20 % increase in just one year. The crisis brought on by the pandemic is unfolding against a planetary crisis that is threatening our climate and life as we know it.

Some three billion people cannot afford a healthy diet. Malnutrition in all its forms — including obesity — is deeply entrenched, leading to a broad range of negative health, education, gender, and economic impacts. Drivers of food insecurity and malnutrition —include problems with regard to access to inputs and innovations that support productivity and with access to markets, conflicts, climate variability and extremes, and economic slowdowns and downturns – all increased by the underlying causes of poverty and very high and persistent levels of inequality. In addition, millions of people around the world suffer from food insecurity and different forms of malnutrition because they cannot afford the cost of healthy diets.

The SG noted that food production and local producers are increasingly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. The latest report by the IPCC shows that under all scenarios, temperatures above 1.5°C and 2°C above pre-industrial levels will be exceeded during the 21st century unless global greenhouse gas emissions are cut by half in the coming decade. While food systems are contributing up to one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, up to 80 % of biodiversity loss and use up to 70 % of freshwater, sustainable food production systems should be recognized as an essential solution to these existing challenges to feed a growing global population while protecting our planet.

The UNFSS in 2021 focused on possible solutions to these challenges, to make the transformative effects of food systems a driver for the achievement of the SDGs by 2030, based on governments and stakeholders finding new ways to work together, building inspiring visions for transformative food systems engaging governments, businesses, communities and civil society.

The Summit concluded with an agenda to foster inclusive and transformative food systems that nourish progress to achieve zero hunger, and through this to achieve the objectives of the 2030 Agenda. All stakeholders agreed that it was necessary to move boldly to implement the transformative actions needed to achieve the goals we have. While the goal is explicitly focused on food by seeking to end hunger, other goals relate to challenges in the food system.

It was recognized that there is a need to build on good practices — such as Indigenous food systems — to invest in science and innovation, and to engage all people (particularly women and youth, Indigenous Peoples, businesses and producers) in efforts to achieve the SDGs. There is also agreement that no one size fits all. While local contexts, approaches and perspectives may differ, food systems can and must adapt in order to realize the SDGs.

It was agreed that follow-up to the Summit would build on existing efforts of countries and supporting organizations. Implementation of Summit outcomes to support these efforts at country level would use existing institutions, improving their responsiveness where necessary. This is being facilitated by the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub, working with countries.  At the national level, governments will be supported by Resident Coordinators (RCs) and UN Country Teams (UNCTs) in developing and implementing national pathways, with the engagement and contributions of all stakeholders, leveraging instruments and processes.

Outcome sought

With this background, this webinar updated GFAR Regional Fora and members on the UNFSS outcomes, follow up (including the establishment of the Science Group in October 2022) and progress in the implementation of national pathways. It outlined planned work (such as the stocktaking process to take place from summer 2023) and ways forward in order to initiate a conversation between UNFSS national convenors and GFAR Regional Fora and members on ways to engage at regional and country level. The aim is to identify mutually beneficial areas for action and collaboration that will assist the development of national pathways and support the stocktaking exercise. It is hoped that it will also inspire countries to move forward in the development of FSS national pathways building on examples from country level progress to date (e.g. Egypt and Vietnam).

Key questions addresed: Webinar Q & A

Agenda and Presentations


Welcome and official viewing of GFAR video


Opening and expected outcomes of the webinar

Context setting (Hildegard Lingnau and Beth Crawford)

  • Hildegard Lingnau, GFAR Executive Secretary
  • Karim Hussein, Strategic Advisor, GFAR
  • Beth Crawford, Director, Officer-in-Charge, Office of Innovation (OIN) (FAO)
UNFSS: Setting the scene and introduction to national pathways
  • Stefanos Fotiou, UN Food Systems Coordination Hub, Director, OSG (FAO)
Country example from a National Food Systems Summit Convenor: Egypt
  • Ambassador Mohamed Negm, Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister for Specialized International Agencies, Egypt

GFAR Fora supporting national pathways




  • Yemi Akinbamijo, Executive Director FARA
  • Botir Dosov, Chief Executive Officer CACAARI
  • Martina Spisiakova, Knowledge Management coordinator, APAARI
Youth engagement in the UNFSS and national pathways (YPARD)
  • Pramisha Thalaypia, YPARD representative
Catalyzing research and innovation: The example of the Mediterranean region (Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area-PRIMA)


  •  Giovanni Stanghellini, Policy and Institutional affairs officer PRIMA

Overview: Ways in which GFAR can engage with and support the development and implementation of FSS national pathways


Next steps

  • Hildegard Lingnau, GFAR Executive Secretary

Important Links

UN Food Systems Coordination Hub

UN Food Systems Hub Country Needs Survey Analysis

Secretary-General’s Chair Summary and Statement of Action on the UN Food Systems Summit | United Nations

The Food Systems Summit Dialogues Gateway

Upcoming Event: 4th Global Conference of the Sustainable Food Systems Programme: The Transformation We Need