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Leveraging Partnerships for Sustainable Agrifood Systems: The SDG Action Segment for Goal 2 at the 2024 ECOSOC Partnership Forum

The 2024 ECOSOC Partnership Forum, held on 30 January, included a dedicated SDG Action Segment for Goal 2, co-organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN Major Group for Science and Technology, and the UN Major Group for Children and Youth.

From left to right: Stefanos Fotiou, FAO Office of Sustainable Development Goals; Dr James Hansen, International Research Institute for Climate and Society, at Columbia University; Kaori Abe, FAO Partnerships and UN Collaboration Division; Muhammad Sarim Raza, Act4Food Act4Change; Shreyaa Venkat, World Food Forum Youth Policy Board and NEST4US; Joseph Bangura, Major Group for Children and Youth; Edna Ogwangi, Rise Against Hunger; William Kelly, Major Group for Science and Technology; Morgan Seag, Major Group for Science and Technology; Koloina Andriaman, FAO New York Liaison Office



The 2024 ECOSOC Partnership Forum, held on 30 January, included a dedicated SDG Action Segment for Goal 2, co-organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN Major Group for Science and Technology, and the UN Major Group for Children and Youth. With the aim of providing inputs into the High-level Political Forum, which is this year conducting an in-depth review of SDG 2, the Segment shared good practices and innovative strategies to strengthen and facilitate meaningful multi-stakeholder partnerships to support agrifood systems transformation.


Building momentum to turn commitment to action

Moderator Stefanos Fotiou, Director of the FAO Office of Sustainable Development Goals, kicked off the discussion underscoring the power, of partnerships across governments, UN entities, civil society, private sector, Indigenous Peoples, Women, youth and communities, in driving transformative change and creating opportunities for sustainable agrifood systems, inclusive rural transformation, and improving livelihoods, accelerating multiple SDGs in synergy.  He highlighted the importance of leveraging the momentum created in the last four years by the UN Food Systems Summit in 2021, which established dedicated pathways for agrifood systems transformation. The UN Food Systems Summit+2 Stocktaking Moment, and the SDG Summit which took place last year brought together governments and non-state actors, saw renewed commitments to take action for agrifood system transformation.



Every change that has been done, even in small steps is absolutely necessary. But it is not sufficient- because we have delayed so much. Now we have a great urgency, and we need to use this momentum to make SDG 2 a catalyst for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and an accelerator of all other SDGs.”

– Stefanos Fotiou, FAO Office of Sustainable Development Goals.




Innovative approaches to partnerships

The first panel on ‘’Innovative approaches of partnerships in implementing thematic SDGs’’ explored how partnerships can leverage the use of science, intergenerational knowledge and producer and supply chain cooperation, for driving the implementation of interconnected SDGs. Dr. James Hansen, Senior Research Scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, at Columbia University, emphasized the need to ‘’connect the dots’’ of relevant stream of knowledge for coordinated action to guide investments and interventions towards resilient agrifood systems. He outlined that exciting opportunities are emerging to support smallholder farmers when the climate and agricultural research communities join forces. Shreyaa Venkat, Youth Policy Board Member of the World Food Forum, shared insights on effective collaboration across sectors and generations. She emphasized the importance of bottom-up decision making and intergenerational dialogue for designing inclusive policies and enabling action on the interconnectedness of agrifood systems. Elizabeth Nsimadala, a Ugandan young agripreneur, smallholder farmer and President of the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation, as well as board member at the Pan Africa Farmers Organization and representative for Africa on the board of the World Farmers Organisation, advocated for inclusive agrifood value chain partnerships that address inequalities, share losses and profits and empower smallholder farmers. She highlighted the benefits of investing in data transparency in the agrifood value chain to inform policies, interventions, and investments at short, medium and long term.



"Transformative change can only occur when the opportunity exists for every individual involved in the food system—producers, consumers, and everyone in between—to make a sustainable contribution in the way of their choice.

– Shreyaa Venkat, NEST4US and World Food Forum.


Building Enabling Environments

The second panel, addressing “National enabling environments for fostering effective partnerships” discussed good practices for building effective partnerships and the tools for ensuring ownership from stakeholders and beneficiaries. Edna Ogwangi, Chief Programs Officer at Rise Against Hunger, drew on the example of the organization’s partnership with Kraft Heinz.  Advocating for ‘’partnerships that are strategic and not transactional’’, she emphasized the importance of starting partnerships from a position of shared goals, rooted in mutual ownership and collaboration. She argued that partnerships must then continue to evolve, to meet needs as they adapt and be seen “as a journey, not a destination’’. Muhammad Sarim Raza, of the Act4Food Act4Change global youth movement, outlined how an online global vote, on the organizations programme of action has ensured ownership and consensus-building in the organization. Advocating for the essential role of young people in the fight to end global hunger, he reflected on the urgency to promote policy incentives to restrict unhealthy food marketing (which disproportionately affect young people) and for a global partnership to protect food production from the impacts of geopolitical conflict, which are currently threatening the Right to Food for all.  

Speakers from the floor reiterated the urgency of synergistic multi-stakeholder collaboration and inclusive engagement to accelerate progress towards SDG 2. Ambassador Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Permanent Representative of Guyana to the UN, reflected on parliamentary partnerships to enhance financing for agrifood systems investment. Guyana is working with FAO to roll out a National School Feeding Programme, supplied by local farmers (Read more | Watch here). Katja Lasseur, Head of the Human Rights and Development section at the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations, stressed the need for greater accountability, through benchmarking and monitoring data, to create the right incentives for governments and all stakeholders. 

The key messages from the discussion were reported back to the ECOSOC Partnership Forum, during the closing plenary, by Rapporteur, Joseph Bangura, Youth Ambassador with the Major Group for Children and Youth, who stressed that to navigate the complexities of achieving SDG 2, it is evident that collaborative action, inclusive engagement, and transformational partnerships are essential for realizing the vision of a world free from hunger by 2030. These key messages were also presented in the ECOSOC Coordination Segment on 31 January 2024, and will feed into the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on SDG 2 taking place in March, as well as other processes in the lead up to the 2024 high-level political forum.