In a White House briefing on the Pre-Summit held in Rome Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh reported on progress. She indicated that the U.S. has concerns and that these concerns were expressed directly to the Deputy Secretary-General and UN Special Envoy, as follows:
- UN Member State involvement was acknowledged as critical by UN FSS leaders
- The Deputy Secretary noted that innovation will be a key in implementation across all Coalitions of Action
- The Deputy Secretary noted that Coalitions are not set in stone, new ones can still be formed, and offered Elise Golan as a contact point for more information
In questions from the public, Deputy Secretary Bronaugh had strong statements around diet and sustainability
Q (submitted by the public): The term sustainable production or consumption encourages different thinking about food system transformation. Why were the terms sustainable diets and consumption not included at the Pre-Summit?
A: J. Bronaugh: This was discussed in the session on unleashing the power of the plate. We can’t talk about production and consumption without talking about reducing food loss and waste. As for terminology on “sustainable” diets, the international community has moved away from this terminology because it implies some foods are intrinsically more sustainable than others when it is actually production practices, not the food itself that determines sustainability. The preferred term is “healthy diets from sustainable food systems.” There is a coalition on this that is under consideration.
In addition, the White House met with the coalition last Friday. Below is a recap of the call.
Deputy Secretary Bronaugh, who led the U.S. Delegation, reviewed the U.S. Government’s (USG) achievements from the Pre-Summit:
- The USG had a strong presence and delegation at the Pre-Summit. It took numerous opportunities to express positions to FSS leadership and other country leaders.
- USG helped weaken the solution clusters, many not based on science. Solution clusters will no longer be an annex to the UN USG’s remarks.
- The US will have a strong involvement in the Coalitions of Action. At the Pre-Summit, USG conveyed concerns about how these Coalitions of Action were formed, USG’s has intentions to participate in future coalitions and to contribute to the final list of emerging coalitions. These concerns were expressed directly to the Deputy Secretary-General and UN Special Envoy.
More updates & opportunities
What is NASDA doing?
- NASDA is actively engaged in the UN FSS Coalition efforts. Several meetings have been held to prepare for the Summit in September.
Pre-Summit event recap:
- The Pre-Summit event took place this week July 26-July 28 in Rome. The U.S. Coalition was fully engaged, and NASDA attended the recap sessions for each day.
- USDA Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh led the U.S. delegation and gave ministerial remarks in support a “Coalition of Action” on Food Loss and Waste (Food is Never a Waste) and publicly supported AIM for Climate and the School Feeding Coalition. The U.S. also supported science-based, data-driven, innovative and producer-led solutions; free markets and trade important to bolstering food security and sustainable food systems; and the topic of inclusion (women, youth and indigenous people). Overall, the Deputy Secretary’s remarks included many of the core principles of our U.S. Coalition.
- Day 1: Pre-Summit recap
- Day 2: Pre-Summit recap
- Day 3: Pre-Summit recap
UN FSS Resources:
Review the NASDA 101 listening session. Recording and slides can be viewed in the NASDA Member Center.
A detailed Update on UN FSS Preparation from NASDA CEO Dr. Barb Glenn – 7/16/2021
Status. Everyone is preparing for the Pre-Summit ministerial on July 26, with the Summit scheduled (TBD) for September in New York. We work closely with USDA to prepare. The USDA lead for the UN FSS is Deputy Secretary Bronaugh. The U.S. whole-of-government interagency approach has been coordinating and working hard on U.S. positions, and we expect them to represent U.S. agriculture to advance positive outcomes and push back on problematic challenges.
Expected Products of the Summit. The UN aims to have FSS Summit outcomes include a Statement of Action by the UN Secretary-General, Member States commitments, and stakeholder commitments and actions. Currently the UN is expected to announce five “Coalitions of Action” at the July Pre-Summit with the goal to have around 15-20 in the end. As far as we know, possible coalitions of action include school feeding, climate smart agriculture, food loss and waste, gender, youth and fortification.
The US Coalition wants the efficiency, productivity, and innovation of the U.S. agriculture and food supply chain alongside the United States’ robust science- and risk-based regulatory system to be reflected in the FSS. Broadly, innovation is much less present in current FSS thinking, and so we are working on a new draft “Innovation Coalition of Action.” The US Coalition has been working hard to keep up with the FSS process, but it is challenging particularly because the UN process is not transparent and not including input from the U.S. or other Member States.
The Challenges Continue. Unfortunately, key FSS materials and statements from key Summit leaders continue to mischaracterize modern agriculture and food production; denigrate efficiency, innovation and technology; recommend dramatic mandates to reduce production and consumption of specific foods and/or nutrients (including “processed” food and nutrient-dense foods like meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs); and question or undermine the value of rules-based international trade.
Overview of call with Secretary Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Bronaugh (week of 5/31/21)
- Overall, the call with Secretary Vilsack was positive.
- USDA is developing positions on the Food Systems Summit through interagency discussion and international outreach with USDA’s counterparts.
- Secretary Vilsack offered the opportunity to continue engagement and information sharing with the Coalition through regular meetings with a small group of Coalition representatives. The Coalition team is coordinating with USDA to put this group together.
- USDA and the U.S. Government’s positions on the Food Systems Summit are forthcoming. They will potentially reflect the Coalition’s general principles, such as diversity of food systems. However, it is unclear if/when these positions will be made public, or how much it is being coordinated with other agencies.
- USDA is taking every effort to engage on FSS and is seeking to better communicate their efforts externally. It is clear however that there is a disconnect between what USG is doing internally vs. communicated publicly.
- It is also unclear if USG will not only encourage U.S. positions that support positive ideas proposed in the context of the Summit but also push back on those ideas that are potentially problematic.