2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit and Dialogues: How Canada is supporting the process


As part of Canada's contribution to the United Nations (UN) Food Systems Summit process, the Government of Canada had engaged in submitting a National Pathways document to the UN summarizing steps being taken across our food systems to support the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the Food Policy for Canada vision and priority outcomes.

Canada's National Pathways document has been submitted to the UN.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the UN Food Systems Summit process and engaged in the Member State and Independent Dialogues, and to those who provided feedback on an early draft of Canada's document through the online public consultation from April 11 to May 6, 2022.

Canada's Engagement in the United Nations Food Systems Summit Process

The Food Systems Summit was held in New York in September 2021, with the vision of launching bold new actions, solutions, and strategies to deliver progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, each of which relies on healthier, more sustainable and more equitable food systems.

In the lead-up to the Summit, AAFC led Canada's Member State Dialogues in partnership with other federal departments, and encouraged Independent Dialogues hosted by food system actors. Over 400 participants attended Canada's Member State Dialogues, reflecting diverse perspectives across Canada's food systems, including the agriculture and food sector; non-governmental organizations with interests in food security, health, and the environment; officials with provincial, territorial and local government agencies; academics and experts; and Indigenous organizations.

Canada's Member State Dialogues

Additional information on the Member State Dialogues conducted in 2021, including reports from each event, is provided below.

Stage 2 Dialogues

1. Fostering collaboration on food loss and waste – April 19, 2021

Participants from across the food system discussed addressing food loss and waste through:

  • Building awareness and motivating change
  • Mobilizing collective commitment and action
  • Empowering action through evidence
  • Stimulating innovation and adoption

Dialogue report: Fostering collaboration on food loss and waste

2. Sustainable agri-food value chains – April 23, 2021

Participants discussed how Canadian involvement in global agri-food value chains can drive positive change in the food systems of developing countries, especially for women. The discussion considered the environmental, social and economic implications of agri-food imports into Canada from developing countries, Official Development Assistance, and international trade rules on food system outcomes.

Dialogue report: Sustainable agri-food value chains

3. Food security data and measurement – April 27, 2021

This Dialogue's objective was to develop a forward-looking strategy for data on food insecurity, particularly among Canadians experiencing food insecurity. Participants discussed data and measurement needs and associated strategies to more effectively assess the ability of all Canadians to access sufficient amounts of safe, nutritious, and culturally appropriate foods, and to make significant progress on addressing food insecurity by 2030.

Dialogue report: Food security data and measurement

4. Sustainable production for Canadian food systems – May 19, 2021

This Dialogue's objective was to explore approaches to enhance the sustainability of agricultural and food production across the value chain in Canada. The discussions considered environmental performance, with linkages to the economic and social resilience of Canadian food systems.

Dialogue report: Sustainable production for Canadian food systems

5. Resilient regional food systems – May 21, 2021

This Dialogue provided a forum to discuss challenges and opportunities to developing and sustaining resilient regional food systems, reflecting on the particular circumstances and contexts specific to communities in Canada's regions. The objective was to explore community-based strategies and regional infrastructure, with participants discussing successful models and innovative approaches where progress has been made towards improving economic, environmental, health and social food system outcomes.

Dialogue report: Resilient regional food systems

6. Food environments' role in supporting more equitable and sustainable food systems – May 26, 2021

Food environments are the different settings where food is accessible to people as they go about their daily lives. They have important impacts on accessibility, sustainability and meeting consumers' changing preferences. This Dialogue focused on the "fork" end of the supply chain, examining issues such as trends in ecommerce and opportunities for investment in local food economies and innovation. The discussion sought to uncover how these supply chain actors can support game-changing solutions in food environments and the systems that support them, helping to develop more equitable and sustainable food systems.

Dialogue report: Food environments' role in supporting more equitable and sustainable food systems

7. Climate adaptation and food security – May 27, 2021

This Dialogue explored and identified approaches to enhance the climate-resiliency of Canada's agricultural and agri-food sector, including priorities to address food security challenges.

Dialogue report: Climate adaptation and food security

Stage 3 Dialogue — June 30, 2021

The purpose of this Stage 3 Dialogue was for participants to reflect on outcomes from earlier dialogues and identify potential game-changing solutions for a more sustainable and equitable food system by 2030. Objectives included:

  • Identifying issues where consensus exists, and areas of divergence;
  • Contributing to defining Canada's national pathway for food systems transformation, reaching agreement on scope; and,
  • Prioritizing actions that stakeholders expect to take to support the pathway.

Discussion focused on the four overarching themes that were considered in the Stage 2 Dialogues:

  • Food insecurity – root causes, measurement and solutions;
  • Inclusive and resilient food systems;
  • Integrated approaches to food systems; and,
  • Sustainable production, consumption and disposal.

The discussion under each theme focused on a forward-looking vision statement, and participants were invited to identify specific actions or solutions to make the vision a reality, such as:

  • New solutions, initiatives, or strategies that would make incremental or transformative progress;
  • Initiatives that are already underway and considered best practices with the potential to be further scaled; and
  • New or expanded networks or alliances.

Theme 1: Food insecurity – root causes, measurement and solutions

Vision statement: By 2030, all people in Canada are able to access a sufficient amount of safe, nutritious, and culturally diverse food.

Theme 2: Inclusive and resilient food systems

Vision statement: By 2030, domestic food systems will have capitalized on Canada's diversity to be more resilient to economic and environmental shocks, and better positioned to seize opportunities.

Theme 3: Integrated approaches to food systems

Vision statement: By 2030, interconnected social, health, environmental and economic components of food systems are integrated in decision-making across all food system actors, including all orders of government, the agriculture and food sector, stakeholders and partners.

Theme 4: Sustainable production, consumption and disposal

Vision statement: By 2030, Canada's food system is recognized as the most sustainable in the world.

The following questions guided the discussion under each theme:

  1. What commitments and/or targets need to be made and by whom to achieve this vision?
  2. Which key actions/solutions identified in the Stage 2 Dialogues and other UN Food Systems Summit discussions would make the most meaningful progress towards achieving the commitments?
  3. What barriers exist and how can they be overcome?

Actions or solutions from discussion groups were intended to help inform the development of Canada's position and potential contributions to the Summit.

For more information, view the Dialogue Report.

For more information

Email: aafc.foodpolicyforcanada-politiquealimentairepourlecanada.aac@agr.gc.ca.