Statement by Her Excellency Dr Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, on the occasion of the United Nations Food Systems Summit, 23 September 2021

Mr Abdulla Shahid, President of the General Assembly,
Mr António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

South Africa is pleased to participate in the UN Food Systems Summit, and we commend the UN Secretary-General for this important initiative.

The Summit gives us an opportunity to reflect on the state of our food systems and how these could be improved and enhanced as a vital contribution to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Development.

South Africa aligns itself with the UN Secretary-General’s Statement of Action which serves as the outcome of the UNFSS.

The preparatory process of the UNFSS, which ensured that we gather ideas from stakeholders at all levels, was inspiring and brought much depth to our deliberations.

Mr President,

In South Africa, as we were preparing for this important Summit, we considered what changes we needed to effect and what decisions we needed to take during the next three years to improve our food systems.  We asked ourselves whether our food system is appropriately positioned to meet the expectations of the 2030 Agenda for Development.

We reviewed our system guided by our existing policy and legislative frameworks.

Chief amongst these is our Constitution which guarantees the right to access to sufficient food.

We have a National Food and Nutrition Security Plan (NFNSP) containing a set of defined and concrete strategic objectives and actions for implementation.

We are currently in the process of setting up the Food and Nutrition Security Council, which will be chaired by our Deputy President.

Furthermore, South Africa actively participated in the African Union processes that culminated in the adoption of the Africa Common Position towards the UNFSS.

 

Mr President,

We recognise that food systems are complex and interconnected with all other aspects of life including the environment, animals and other key aspects necessary for human survival.

The preparatory process for the UNFSS has shown us that to improve our food systems we need to forge partnerships with all stakeholders.

We need to draw on strong foundations of science and share policy options and practices that could contribute to sustainable food systems.

We need to preserve indigenous knowledge systems.

We have to pay attention to food safety and ensure greater coordination in its regulation, monitoring and compliance systems.

We have to take advantage of the 4th industrial revolution (4IR) and digitisation to improve our food systems.

Therefore, and in this regard South Africa has identified four strategic actions to drive our pathway towards food systems transformation. These are:

  • Enhancement of sustainable local production for local consumption of safe, nutritious and indigenous foods;
  • Promotion of social, economic and environmental resilience;
  • Facilitation of inclusive, sustainable and competitive value chains; and
  • Promotion of integrated food systems policies, legislation, planning and governance.

I am pleased to inform that South Africa has decided to join the following UNFSS coalitions: Action for Nutrition and Zero Hunger; School Meals Coalition and; the Food and Agriculture Organisation Food Coalition.

In conclusion, I reiterate South Africa’s commitment to all actions aimed at strengthening and transforming food systems in all parts of the world, in particular in the developing world.

This will require cross-sector coordination at all levels with domestic, regional and international partners, as well as financial resources, technology and access to land.

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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