THE DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL
REMARKS AT THE OFFICIAL CEREMONY OF THE FOOD SYSTEMS PRE-SUMMIT
Rome, 26 July 2021
Distinguished delegates and colleagues,
Under the able leadership of our host Prime Minister Draghi, I would like to thank our Italian partners and our hosts for an incredible welcome here to Rome.
I would like to give additional appreciation for the guidance that we had from the Foreign Minister Di Maio. Thank you.
My appreciation to the leadership of FAO, and to IFAD and to WFP, and especially the colleagues of the United Nations who have worked day and night in the last two years to make this happen.
But my real appreciation goes to a woman of substance, and that is our Special Envoy, Agnes Kalibata.
The United Nations is owned by Member States, and we involve everyone who stands for the world and the charter that we represent. So Agnes walked into the United Nations to help us to guide this process. We know how hard it is for the United Nations family to try to get to everyone with as much consensus as possible. So we deeply appreciate your leadership over the last 2 years.
We have just heard leaders underscore the importance of this agenda and what the expectations are of this community.
We heard Prime Minister Draghi underscore the word “ambition”. For the last two years, voices of indigenous people, civil society, of businesses, of our Member States here in Rome, in New York, and more specially, in our countries, each and every one of them has underscored the importance of action now.
In these challenging times, it is this leadership that we need to push the ambition to achieve Agenda 2030.
We still remain in the grips of a pandemic that has stolen lives and livelihoods, and has contributed to a reversal of the Sustainable Development Goals progress.
It has delayed the action on many major transitions required to meet our 2030 goals. And this has contributed to the rise in hunger everywhere.
Yet, just as I witnessed in the farmer’s market, supported by Coldiretti, here in Rome over the weekend, food has the power to bring us together around solutions and the challenges that we face.
The leadership of Member States and citizens in all regions is showing us that this agenda can be the tip of the arrow on the path to 2030.
This leadership, built from the ground up, can underpin transformative action and change that is needed for our food systems to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
I am hopeful. We have hard work in front of us in the days, and the months and the years to come to 2030.
But we do have the ingredients to make this Pre-Summit the ambition that is needed for the leaders in New York to commit to. Let us keep the promise of the SDGs for our people and for the planet.