Digitalization for Resilience at UN Food Systems Stocktaking Moment: A step towards the Future of Agrifood Systems
04/07/2023, Rome- Agriculture underpins the livelihoods of over 2.5 billion people – most of them in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) - and remains a key driver of development worldwide. At the same time, food systems are vulnerable to a wide range of shocks, including natural disasters, conflicts, animal disease outbreaks, and policy shocks. Safeguarding the essential services provided by complex agrifood systems in the face of these shocks and stresses of diverse origins, both biophysical and socio-economic, has thus become critical, now more than ever, to preserve their functionality and ensure the food security, nutrition and livelihoods of millions of people.
With these continuous new challenges to be faced for our agrifood systems, Digital provides unique transformational opportunities to assist and accelerate solutions to immediate global needs but also towards building a better future for resilient agrifood systems that will benefit ‘People, Planet and Prosperity’, as per this year UN Food Systems Stocktaking Moment’s overarching topic, leaving no one behind.
The UN Food Stocktaking Moment will take place in Rome, Italy from 24 – 26 July 2023, at FAO premises, hosted by Italy, in collaboration with the Rome-based UN Agencies (the Food and Agriculture Organization -FAO-, the International Fund for Agricultural Development- IFAD-, the World Food Programme –WFP-), the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub and the wider UN system. As Digitalization is now more than ever critical for accelerating the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels, several initiatives have been building on the momentum of the Innovation and Technology Lever, and the resulting Global Coalition for Data and Digital Food System Innovation, co led by FAO, the World Bank (WB), the CGIAR and the World Economic Forum (WEF). The special event on ‘Digitalization for Resilient Agrifood systems’ to be held in Rome the 25th July, 14h30-15h30 CEST, aims thus at showcasing the key role of Digital Cooperation to address nowadays challenges effectively and overcome fragmentation within and across sectors to act in a trans-disciplinary manner, bringing together the natural and social sciences with data and technology to drive agrifood systems transformation.
'2023 provides us with great transformational opportunities, it's a year for major stakeholders in the agrifood systems to take immediate advantage of digital capabilities towards targeted actions in a common and sustainable ecosystem that will foster resilient agrifood systems’ says Dejan Jakovjlevic, Chief Information Officer and Director of the Division of Digitalization and Informatics at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), who is leading this special event.
FAO Digitalization event aims at following upon the release of Our Common Agenda by the UN Secretary-General in September 2021, building on the progresses made since last Food Systems Summit the same year, and with new issues emerging related to the safe and ethical use of digital technologies, such as AI, that need to be now taken into consideration as well to ensure ‘an open, free and secure digital future for all’– as outlined by the Global Digital Compact.
‘As the landscape of science, technology and innovation is changing rapidly with the amplification of digital tools, big data, and artificial intelligence, coherent action and enabling mechanisms for strengthening digital capabilities are now more than needed in a multi-stakeholder approach and in support of evidence-based decision for resilient Agrifood systems’ emphasizes Maximo Torero, FAO Chief Economist who will be opening the event. ‘Digitalization should then be the enabling key tool and mechanism to activate those leverages at various levels and catalyze opportunities for better coordination of global resources for sustainable development, now and for the generations to come’ he adds.
Joining efforts, representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development of the Republic of Kenya, the World Economic Forum (WEF), the European Union Joint Research Center (JRC) the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank (WB), and Confagricoltura have been invited to discuss scalable, innovative and inclusive multilateral digital initiatives for resilient agrifood systems, that will ensure that digital technologies, including emerging trends like AI and data-driven technologies, will leverage in an efficient and timely manner priority areas such as climate, biodiversity, food security, nutrition, and early warning systems with relevant development outcomes, that will enable resilience over time. Despite different backgrounds and affiliations, all speakers will share concrete visions on resilience in the food and agriculture sector through their specific activities undertaken in that field, following the 2023 UN Stocktaking Moment’s narrative of ‘diverse pathways in a shared journey’ and explore how to further open new horizons to work towards making lastly impact on our Agrifood Systems.
The event will be delivered through an innovative format of Panel and Q&As using social media tools to trigger a ‘firechat’ question session–through a social media wall- to encourage live interaction, and move forward in an enabling environment, to build resilient food systems for all over time.
Watch the promotional video here
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Check the full agenda here