Zimbabwe’s Strive Masiyiwa, African Union Special Envoy and head of the African COVID-19 Vaccine Acquisition Task Team to address UN Food Systems Summit.

By Wallace Mawire

Strive Masiyiwa,Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet and African Union Special Envoy and Head of the African COVID-19 Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT)

Strive Masiyiwa,Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet and African Union Special Envoy and Head of the African COVID-19 Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), is expected to address the United Nations Food Systems summit where at least more than 130 countries are also expected to announce their national commitments next week.

According to a spokesperson, at least 91 world leaders are set to participate in the Summit after the UN Secretary-General called on governments to ‘feed hope for a better future’. 

The event, which is the first of its kind and takes place during the UN General Assembly in New York on September 23, is due to hear from world leaders including President Alberto Fernández (Argentina),Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir (Iceland), and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (Japan).

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (New Zealand), President Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), and Prime Minister Imran Khan (Pakistan) have also confirmed their participation. 

António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, who called for the Food Systems Summit in October 2019, urged world leaders earlier this week to bring to New York “ambitious commitments to feed hope for a better future”. 

“A well-functioning food system can help prevent conflict, protect the environment and provide health and livelihoods for all,” Guterres said in a call for ambition. “It is our moral imperative to keep our promise to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.” 

The Summit follows almost two years of dialogues at community, national and international levels involving more than 40,000 people around the world to share their needs, challenges and ideas for a more sustainable, resilient and inclusive food system.

During the Summit, countries are expected to announce the emerging outcomes of their national dialogues and their pathways for change, while supporting organisations from the private sector, academia, philanthropy and civil society will also make commitments. 

Agnes Kalibata, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Food Systems Summit, is expected to give opening remarks, with contributions from Pau Gasol, UNICEF Global Champion for Nutrition and Zero Childhood Obesity and NBA Champion, José Andres, Chef and Founder of World Central Kitchen, and David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group. 

 Also Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is also due to address the Summit. 

In light of the ongoing circumstances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Summit will take a fully virtual format, following a hybrid Pre-Summit gathering in Rome, Italy, in July. 

The UN Food Systems Summit was announced by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on World Food Day in October 2019 as a part of the Decade of Action for delivery on the SDGs by 2030. The aim of the Summit is to deliver progress on all 17 of the SDGs through a food systems approach, leveraging the interconnectedness of food systems to global challenges such as hunger, climate change, poverty and inequality. More information about the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit can be found onlinehttps://www.un.org/foodsystemssummit

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