The hosting of the 1st Global Conference of the 10YFP Sustainable Food Systems is a major milestone in the implementation of the multi-stakeholder partnership for the promotion of the more sustainable food systems.

This was said by Switzerland’s Director-General for the Federal Office of Agriculture and Co-chair of the United Nations Sustainable Food Systems Programme with South Africa, Professor Bernard Lehman. Director-General Lehman was speaking at the closing session of the three-day 1st Global Conference of the 10YFP Sustainable Food Systems event in Pretoria.

“The gathering in South Africa was the first time that the entire network of over 120 members converged to showcase their achievements, exchange ideas and to forge fruitful partnerships. This conference has given us a strong impetus to make progress in developing and implementing such concrete activities and projects on the ground and I am looking forward to implementing all these activities and projects,” said Lehman.

Lehman added that Switzerland was fully committed to promoting the achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals both at national and international levels.

The Director for Agro-processing at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) and Co-Chair of the Sustainable Food Systems Programme, Ms Thembelihle Ndukwana echoed Professor Lehman’s commitments. Ndukwana added that she hoped the hosting of the t Conference will instil a culture of cooperation that will ensure that sustainable food methods are implemented in all the member countries.

“What is most notable about our conference is that we had an opportunity to take our delegates on a learning journey to a few of our local sites so as to enable them to see first-hand how our local businesses process and handle food. We took them to the Marabastad informal market where they engaged with the locals, to a subsistence farmer in Fourways to see ways in which they are tackling food wastage during harvest,” said Ndukwana.

In conclusion, Ndukwana expressed excitement at having to receive and implement resolutions that will have resulted from the conference.

“I am looking forward to these resolutions because they will very much be key in defining what is to take place from here on and going forward,” she said.