Transforming Agri-Food Systems to the Sustainable Development Goals

Hand-in-Hand with the private sector

Transforming the world’s agri-food systems, the way we produce, process, distribute and consume food has been identified as one of the key avenues to achieving many targets of the 2030 Agenda. This means better production, better nutrition, and a better environment, for a better life.

The 2021-2025 FAO strategy for private sector engagement reflects a new forward-looking vision for strengthening strategic engagement with the private sector towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It recognizes that mobilizing the capacities and resources of the private sector is essential for achieving the SDGs, particularly SDG2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

For the NENA region, this is probably nowhere more evident than in the agri-food systems, where the private sector plays such an important role along the whole food chain. Today, the region’s food and agriculture sectors are poised to meet some of the world’s biggest challenges in our common pursuit of SDG 2; from providing a growing population with affordable, accessible, and nutritious food, to reducing hunger and malnutrition, combating growing obesity, dealing with the already stark impacts of climate change, addressing water scarcity and other environmental concerns, and tackling emerging threats from pests and diseases.

The private sector plays a central role in addressing these challenges; offering innovative tools, resources, knowledge and technologies that are critical to achieve SDG 2 through agri-food systems transformation; adopting more inclusive and resilient practices in their businesses; and investing in more efficient and sustainable technologies.

Governments, civil society, development partners, research and the private sector have much to gain in engaging in the kind of collaborative partnership that is needed to achieve the SDGs.

In this light, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is proposing to initiate a dialogue with the private sector in the NENA region in order to build a common vision about challenges faced by the region’s agri-food systems and to identify opportunities for private sector engagement and action around the SDGs and SDG 2 in particular.

The upcoming FAO-private sector dialogue will seek to develop a conversation with three main categories of private sector operators:

  • Micro-, small and medium-sized agri-food enterprises (MSMEs), including start-ups, who can play a critical role in achieving food security and eradicating rural poverty, with special emphasis on digital agriculture and youth-and women-led businesses;
  • Large firms, including large national and multinational companies and State owned enterprises operating in the agri-food sector, including production, processing, distribution and retail;
  • Financial institutions, including commercial banks and private investors, impact investors and other private investment institutions who have the potential to play a critical role in mobilizing private investment to achieve the SDGs.

The event is organized by the Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa – FAO with the support of the Islamic Development Bank Group Business Forum (THIQAH).

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