Nyon, Switzerland – Seed companies and associations representing all regions of the world have come together to sign a Declaration committing to actively support achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and proactively demonstrate their extensive and diverse contributions towards sustainable food systems, while calling for more urgent public private cooperation.
The “Seed Sector Declaration”, signed by seed companies of all sizes and geographic representation and by seed associations representing hundreds of companies per country, was launched as a part of the sector’s engagement with the UN Food Systems Summit, scheduled for September 2021.
The document acknowledges the enormous challenge for agriculture to produce sufficient, safe, and nutritious food for a global population expected to reach 10 billion by 2050, amid rising pressure from climate change, effective biodiversity preservation and natural resource scarcity. On current trends, the number of hungry people is expected to reach 840 million by 2030, from 690 million at present.
Through the Declaration, the seed sector players outline a common set of principles for global action supporting sustainable agriculture.
“We, the actors of the private seed sector, representing its diversity, acting as individuals or as representatives of cooperatives, family-, small-, medium sized- or multinational companies, based around the world, are committed to a future where enough affordable, safe and nutritious food is produced for all without compromising the economies, societies or environments of future generations,” says the Declaration.
Michael Keller, Secretary General of the International Seed Federation said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the world’s food and nutrition crisis, but it has also shown us what can be achieved when the public and private sectors work together to produce solutions.
“The Declaration is an opportunity for us to demonstrate the private seed sector’s diversity and unique contributions. We believe that transforming the world’s food systems requires the efforts of all actors in the value chain. Cooperation should be as inclusive as possible, and with this Declaration we are highlighting our readiness and commitment to join in the dialogues and take action.”
Santosh Attavar, who chairs the ISF Task Force for the UN Food Systems Summit said: “We recognise the enormous challenge before us. With this Declaration, we want to showcase what we already contribute to sustainable food systems and what we commit to do in the future. We call on our peers and partners to join the effort.”
The Declaration highlights the sectors’ foundational contribution to food production, supporting development and use of the latest plant breeding methods to accelerate the improvement of crop varieties, ensuring the efficient movement of healthy, quality seed around the globe, and supporting access to and benefit sharing of genetic resources.
Seed companies and associations voiced their support to the SDGs, with specific contributions to SDG 1 – End poverty, SDG 2 – Zero Hunger, SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production, SDG 13 – Climate Action, SDG 15 – Life on Land, SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals.
The seed sector will continue investing in science and innovation, supporting the conservation of genetic resources and biodiversity, and connecting with the value chain to lay the foundation for a multitude of consumer benefits.
This requires an open and inclusive dialogue on food systems and a workable policy environment where farmers have access to quality seed of their choice. ISF will continue to engage with stakeholders in the coming months leading to the pre-summit in Rome and the summit in New York.