South-South Cooperation Forum on Food Security and Agrobiodiversity in Times of COVID-19 and Climate Change held successfully online

  • 02 December 2020  |  News

During 30 November-2 December, 2020, the South-South Cooperation Forum on Food Security and Agrobiodiversity in Times of COVID-19 and Climate Change was held successfully online. The forum was led by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and supported by United Nations Environment Programme – International Ecosystem Management Partnership (UNEP-IEMP). More than 440 representatives of UN system, international organizations, research institutes, and governments from 35 countries joined the forum and exchange their insights.

The overall goal of this Forum is to build solidarity and integrity for food security and biodiversity conservation in developing countries in a COVID-19 and climate change context to (1) update and exchange information on challenges and opportunities for immediate joint actions, (2) enhance capacity and knowledge sharing for sustainable agriculture and resilience building in the global food system transformation, and (3) partner and network in linking existing science-/community-based research and actions for transformation and adaptation. The discussions involved three main topics, including " Poverty alleviation: food and nutrition security ", " Agrobiodiversity and smallholder resilience " and " Food system transformation".

Director of UNEP-IEMP, Dr. Linxiu Zhang facilitated the session on "Poverty Alleviation: Food and nutrition security" on the first day of the Forum, hosted the opening session of the second day and the closing session on the third day. During the first day of the Forum, Director Zhang organized a heated discussion among the participants on the current situation of global food and nutrition security, the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic and climate change, the response measures of the government and enterprises and their effects, as well as the important role played by multilateralism and global cooperation. Song Yiching, senior research fellow of UNEP-IEMP, was invited to give a report titled "Root and Foundation: Strengthening Small-Scale Farming System to Cope With The New Crown Epidemic and Climate Change, and Promoting Sustainable Development". She introduced the achievements of the project team in protecting agricultural biodiversity to achieve livelihood improvement in the Stone Town demonstration site of Yunnan Province, and shares the successful experience of Chinese small farmers in achieving a win-win situation of ecological environment governance and livelihood improvement through the protection of traditional crop varieties under the background of dual challenges of COVID-19 and climate change.

The Forum was organized by UNEP together with the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, ICIMOD, IFAD, IFPRI and UN Women. The forum set up an international exchange and cooperation platform for South-South cooperation in food security and biodiversity protection in developing countries, exchanged the progress made in responding policies from different countries, pilot programs and new technology applications. The discussions of the Forum provided new ideas for developing countries to ensure global food security and protect agricultural biodiversity protection under the background of COVID-19 and climate change, offered intellectual support for sustainable agricultural development in the transformation of global food system, and provide a new development direction for achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2: zero hunger.

Based on the ideas and comments from this Forum, series of results, including policy recommendations and reports formulated will be compiled and submitted to high-level international conferences, such as the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, the  Fifteenth meeting  of  the Conference  of  the  Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15) in Kunming in 2021, and the first United Nations Food Transformation Summit.

For more information about the Forum, please go to:

Susan Gardner, Director of Ecosystems Division of UNEP delivered opening remarks. Director of UNEP-IEMP, Dr. Linxiu Zhang, facilitated the opening session on day 2 of the Forum.

Keynote Presentation by Johan Swinnen, Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Director Linxiu Zhang facilitated the closing session of the Forum.

 UNEP-IEMP Senior Research Fellow, Yiching Song, delivered a presentation on the Forum.