Former Rwanda Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources who is also the President of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Dr Agnes Kalibata has been announced as UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit.
A renowned champion for agricultural transformation to drive inclusive economic growth, Dr Kalibata is one of the foremost leaders calling for food systems that will end hunger and ensure sustainable livelihoods and healthy, affordable and accessible diets for all.
Current food systems are failing, which is clear from the recent global rise in hunger after years of decline, leaving more than 800 million people going hungry today around the world.
Major changes in food systems are required to end hunger and reduce poverty. The situation is getting more difficult with rapidly degrading environments and increasing challenges of climate change.
The 2021 Food Systems Summit will be a crucial staging point towards achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly with a view to ending hunger and driving sustainability across the food ecosystem.
It offers a tangible opportunity to farmers, civil society, the private sector and governments to remake food systems that can benefit all, build resilience, and drive sustainable livelihoods.
In her role as the Special Envoy for the Summit, Dr Kalibata will work with key stakeholders and partners to advance this global agenda, providing leadership, guidance and strategic direction towards the Summit, in close coordination with the United Nations leadership.
She will work closely with key leaders, including governments, private sector, community leaders, and other strategic stakeholder groups, to galvanize action and leadership for the Summit.
She will also support the various global and regional consultative events focused on food system transformation, planned during 2020 and 2021 so that this Summit benefits from the best ideas and priorities around the world.
Speaking on her appointment, Dr Kalibata thanked the UN General-Secretary for entrusting her with this great responsibility.
“I am greatly honoured by the appointment. Using the experience and lessons we have learned through our work at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and other leading organist ions, we will ensure that the 2021 Food Systems Summit delivers its objectives of generating momentum, expanding knowledge and sharing experience and approaches worldwide to help countries and stakeholders unleash the benefits of food systems for all people,” she said in a statement.
She added by noting that she has been assured by the AGRA Board of Directors, Management and teams that they will support her in executing her duties as an envoy while continuing to lead AGRA in its pioneering work to transform Africa’s agriculture.
Dr Kalibata leads AGRA’s efforts with public and private partners to ensure a food secure and prosperous Africa through rapid, inclusive, sustainable agricultural growth, improving the productivity and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers in Africa.
Prior to joining AGRA, Dr Kalibata served as Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources from 2008 to 2014, where she drove programs that contributed to her country’s food security, helping to lift more than a million Rwandans out of poverty.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO