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From proof to action: Hesat2030 at UNFSS+2

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

“Today's food crisis situation is more complex but we have better data, evidence and tools to respond. We are better at working together to solve these many and competing crises.” With these words, Carin Smaller, the Executive Director of the Shamba Centre for Food & Climate, opened the side-event entitled Achieving sustainable food systems in a time of multiple crises: a new global roadmap during the UNFSS+2 Stocktaking Moment 2023.

She was joined by fellow Hesat2030 founders Jaron Porciello, Associate Professor of the Practice, University of Notre Dame, and David Laborde, Agrifood Economics Division Director, FAO, to present the ambitions of the Hesat2030 initiative. Earlier in the week, Rodger Voorhies, President of the Global Growth & Opportunity Division of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation officially announced the launch of Hesat2030 during a UNFSS+2 Plenary session.

Hesat2030 approach

Hesat2030 offers a scientific, data-driven approach to ending hunger while addressing health, sustainability and equity. As Jaron notes, “We must put good findings and data to use. Science is one of our best bets to achieve the SDGs."

Designed around four pillars, Hesat2030 will work with its partners to catalyze action, leverage new tools, analyse data and advocate for change. Projects include the development of evidence-based and costed country roadmaps, as well as an official development aid (ODA) tracker to help donors identify and analyse international aid flows. Hesat2030 is also working with researchers to leverage new technologies, such as AI, to synthesise and analyse the findings from millions of research papers across the agri-food system.

Donors agree with this approach. According to Ammad Bahalim, a Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “We are investing in this project because we need measurable data. We have a clear and common target, we know how to measure it, what actions need to be taken and what financial resources are necessary to achieve the goal. From our perspective, this is how you achieve the improbable or even the impossible.”

“Ceres2030 was about transforming knowledge into proof. With Hesat2030, we are transforming proof into action.” David Laborde, FAO

Challenges ahead

Hesat2030 builds on the foundations of the Ceres2030 project, which identified evidence and costed the roadmap for ending hunger by 2030, but goes a step further by implementing the results.

The global landscape has undergone significant shifts since the release of Ceres2030 in 2020. Food price inflation, geopolitical conflict and a rise in the frequency and severity of weather-related events affecting food production, substantial challenges remain. For this reason, David notes, “we need to coordinate at different levels to understand

what challenges we are facing. The results from Ceres2030 will need to be adapted based on the changing circumstances.” He cites cost-modelling as one way to move swiftly from evidence to action.

For Leonard Mizzi from the European Commission, partnerships and coordinated action are key. “Agri-food systems are under extreme pressure - financial, environmental and social. Solutions for sustainable agri-food systems need to be inclusive and involve a multi-stakeholder approach to be truly impactful.” He agrees that achieving food system transformation requires the active engagement of numerous government ministries, ranging from agriculture and health, to the environment and finance.

The Zero Hunger Coalition is an example of the Hesat2030 approach. Bringing together a wide array of partners from government, multilateral institutions and civil society, it identifies the most effective interventions to end hunger sustainably, nutritiously and equitably within a country and how much it will cost. In Madagascar, it has successfully brought together various ministries to help the country attain the targets in its national roadmap to end hunger.

As Jaron concludes, “Hesat2030 builds on alliances, technology and innovations to advance solutions. We must not shy away from complexity and we cannot be afraid to do things differently. This is our goal with Hesat2030.”



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