Call for True Sustainability in Agriculture | UN Food Systems Summit

Over 800 international organisations, farming groups and food experts want agroecology, organic and regenerative agriculture to top the agenda at this year’s UN Food Systems Summit. The voices from six continents are calling on governments and businesses to take action once and for all on the “damaging” status quo in global farming.

“In the run up to this UN Summit, certain groups have been playing fast and loose with the meaning of sustainability,” warned Emile Frison of IPES-Food, and co-founder of the call.

Conventional agriculture – with its heavy reliance on chemical inputs – has failed millions. It continues to deplete soils, damage biodiversity, drive climate change, and destroy livelihoods. Quite frankly, nothing short of a food systems transformation will steer us to safety,” added Frison.

See the unifying framework for food systems transformation

Experts argue the momentum is increasingly with agroecology, organic and regenerative agriculture. The call has also unified these diverse movements in the face of ongoing attempts to co-opt sustainable agriculture.

“These approaches work with nature, not against it,” says Agroecology Europe’s Paola Migliorini, “and the international body of evidence can no longer be ignored.”


For months now, global momentum has been building behind the manifesto – initiated by IPES-Food, IFOAM - Organics International, Agroecology Europe, FiBL Europe and Regeneration International.

Signatories are calling on Summit leaders to adopt all 13 of the sustainability principles set out by the High-Level Panel on Food Security and Nutrition in a landmark 2019 report. Among the groups to sign the call are WWF International, the US conservation group The Nature Conservancy, Oxfam, and West Africa’s ECOWAS bloc.

The 2021 UN Food Systems Summit, slated for September in New York, has been mired in controversy,* with civil society groups from all continents critical of the lack of transparency on the road to the Summit.

But IFOAM - Organics International’s Louise Luttikholt sees an opportunity to break the deadlock – and the status quo:

If decision makers and business leaders are truly concerned about healthy soils, healthy plants, animals, and people, or even the Paris Agreement, then this is a golden opportunity to unify under one banner and adhere to these principles.

The ‘unifying framework for food systems transformation’ is online, and signatures are invited from both organisations and individual experts.

See the unifying framework for food systems transformation

*Today, IPES-Food published a briefing note warning that the UN Food Systems Summit is undermining science and knowledge in the global governance of food.

About the founding organisations

IPES-Food (the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems) is an independent panel of experts that promotes the transition to sustainable food systems around the world.

Agroecology Europe, founded in Belgium in 2016, is the European association for the promotion of agroecology.

FiBL Europe, founded in 2017, is the umbrella organization of the 5 FiBL research centers, representing the most relevant research network on organic food and agriculture.

Regeneration International is a global network of partner organizations that promotes and facilitates the global transition to regenerative food, farming and land management.  

IFOAM - Organics International is a membership-based organization working to bring true sustainability to agriculture across the globe.