The U.N. Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) will take place in New York on September 23. But more than 300 civil society organizations and Indigenous groups are boycotting the event due to concerns over exclusion from the agenda-setting process.

The U.N. Secretary General announced the convening of the UNFSS on World Food Day 2019 to drive meaningful change in the food system and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Since its inception, the Summit has promised to engage stakeholders from across the food system, including farmers and fishers, governments, businesses, and civil society.

But as planning for the UNFSS proceeded, food systems leaders began to question the private sector’s influence in its organization. Dr. Olivier De Schutter and Olivia Yambi, co-chairs of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food), critiqued the “opaque process leading up to the Food Systems Summit.” The Summit, they write, emerged “from closed-door negotiations between the U.N. and the World Economic Forum (WEF),” with leadership roles going “to the proponents of high-tech, high-cost ‘green revolution’ approaches.”

Civil society organizations also worry that the technological solutions being proposed by the UNFSS will threaten the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, peasants, and Indigenous peoples, since they have not been meaningfully consulted in these processes.

The ETC Group finds that 70 percent of the world’s population is fed by a diverse network of small-scale producers and peasants, and that this group uses less than 25 percent of the resources necessary in agricultural production. In contrast, the industrial food chain feeds only 30 percent of the world, while using over 75 percent of resources.

Read the full article about UN Food Systems Summit by Georgie Hurst at Food Tank.