ROSEMONT, ILL. – The ability to nourish people amid unprecedented population growth of close to 10 billion by 2050 with escalating climate concerns takes center stage at the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) on Sept. 23.
The virtual event, which takes place during the UN General Assembly, will convene international stakeholders from across the food system with the goal of making food production and consumption more sustainable and will serve as a call to action to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
The farmer-founded National Dairy Council (NDC) has conducted various dairy-focused educational outreach efforts with key thought leaders who have a shared interest in the outcomes the Summit can potentially have on a more nutritious and sustainable future for the world.
“National Dairy Council is dedicated to sharing US dairy’s science-based contributions to health and sustainable food systems as part of global conversations driving toward more sustainable food systems worldwide,” said Dr. Greg Miller, global chief science officer of NDC. “Our message has been clear: dairy is both a nutritional and environmental solution.”
NDC has participated in one-on-one conversations and dialogues surrounding various UN-sanctioned meetings and events, including:
- Conducting more than 30 conversations to share the science and progress demonstrating dairy’s role in sustainable food systems with thought leaders, including those representing the Food Systems Summit Scientific Group and Committee on World Food Security (CFS).
- Teaming with the checkoff-founded US Dairy Export Council, Global Child Nutrition Foundation and The Nature Conservancy to host an independent Food Systems Summit dialogue, which included dairy farmers and Fuel Up to Play 60 and GENYOUth students with more than 100 participants representing multiple sectors of the food system. Findings from the dialogue were submitted to UNFSS as part of its official process and included in a publicly available report that will be considered by UNFSS leaders.
- Participating in more than a dozen other FSS dialogues, hosted by various organizations. Seven dialogues featured dairy farmer participation.
- Reviewing and responding to seven scientific group reports through the UN’s public comment process to ensure the science-based perspective about dairy’s contributions to sustainable food systems is represented and shared with thought leaders.
- Hosting a series of virtual experiences that highlighted the US dairy industry’s game-changing solutions and the role dairy plays in building more sustainable food systems. The sessions, which were in collaboration with the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), included a focus on the Net Zero Initiative, FARM program and food security/hunger efforts.
- Participating in UNFSS-related meetings, including public forums and informational sessions, such as Science Days and a pre-summit meeting with stakeholders.
Pennsylvania dairy farmer and Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) Chair Marilyn Hershey also spoke at sessions hosted by the World Farmers Organization and Solutions from the Land where she summarized the Net Zero Initiative, the industry’s environmental stewardship goals and the technologies and upcycling practices she implements on her farm. Her story reached hundreds of global thought leaders.
Hershey said these checkoff-led efforts will help position the US dairy industry in a positive light, domestically and globally, when the discussions get underway.
“We’re really seeing the benefits of having decades of checkoff-led research in nutrition and sustainability, which has been part of the dialogue and considerations leading into the Summit and beyond,” Hershey said. “Being able to share science-based proof points is an important part of people seeing dairy’s holistic value when it comes to both human and planetary health.”
Added Miller: “I can’t emphasize enough that our work to use science to continuously improve, to be a solution to environmental progress is just as important as our contributions to human health. In fact, in today’s landscape, you could argue it’s even more important. The Summit is a great opportunity for dairy’s heritage in science and activation of our science to shine brightly.”