THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is aiming to meet the United Nations’ (UN) sustainable development goals (SDGs) of ending poverty and achieving zero hunger by 2030 in the country.

In a statement, agriculture and fishery industry stakeholders, top government officials and heads of Philippine and the UN’s developmental organizations support the call of the DA led by Secretary William Dar, for a “unified and synergistic action to transform Philippine food systems” and meet the UN goals.

“It will take a whole-of-society approach to drive transformative change and build healthy, sustainable, technology-based and inclusive food systems in the Philippines,” Dar said.

Eighteen independent dialogues led by the private sector, and 12 sub-national dialogues by national government agencies, were conducted leading to the two-day national dialogues to consolidate the results in the past two months, beginning March 2021.

“Food system is not merely confined to production, but also covers a complex web of activities. This requires synergy among sectors to transform the country’s food systems to attain the SDGs nine years from now,” the DA chief explained.

Part of the dialogue’s output is the DA’s draft statement on the Philippines’ pathways for the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), reiterating the country’s commitment to achieve SDG 1 (end poverty) and SDG 2 (zero hunger) by 2030.

The DA said it also “highlights the Duterte administration’s existing initiatives to eradicate food insecurity and empowerment of those engaged in various food systems activities.”

For his part, Dr. David Nabarro, senior advisor to the UNFSS dialogues, said the DA has the policies “clearly laid out,” but the challenge is always the implementation.

“That is why governance is critical in helping work this through,” he said.

“Whatever the governance that is used, it should be one that includes and welcomes all different stakeholders. So that when there’s commitment, there is also follow-through on the outputs to make sure that the process is fully implemented,” he added .

Nabarro summarized the Philippine recommendations to include continued research and development that is aligned with local conditions and realities; adoption of finance-based forecasting or early warning system to act early when there is a crisis; institutionalization of disaster risk reduction and management at all levels and establishment of climate information service; and investment in sound infrastructure. (JOB with PR)