The South-East States of Enugu, Anambra and Ebonyi Dialogue on the Food Systems in the Zone
As part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Development Goals by 2030, the United Nations Secretary- General; Antonio Guterre conveyed the Food Systems Summit in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning tagged ‘The Exploratory Dialogue of the United Nations Food Systems Summit for -the South-East States of Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu’ on Thursday, 8th April, 2021 at Nike Lake Resort Hotel, Enugu State.
The Executive Governor of the Host State; His Excellency Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi was ably represented by the Enugu State Commissioner for Education; Hon. Prof. Uche Eze who welcomed the participants to the peaceful land of Enugu State at Nike Lake Resort Hotel where great minds meet. He pointed out that the Enugu State Government realizes the urgent need to develop a food system that is sustainable and inclusive; in pursuit of which the Government in realization that food security is a prerogative of good nutrition committed herself to reducing hunger through various interventions at the state and local government levels.
The Enugu/Anambra/Ebonyi Exploratory Dialogue is the second out of two dialogues hosted in the South-East as part of the UN Food Systems Summit with key players from the worlds of science, business policy, health care and academia as well as farmers, youth organizations, consumer groups, civil society organizations and other key stakeholders in attendance both physically and virtually via the Zoom video platform. The exploratory dialogue is expected to harvest information from these stakeholders and also put forward outcomes and recommendations that will advance the Food Systems in the region in 2030.
The Inception Dialogue took place at the national level on the 23rd of February, 2021 with a view of initiating an inclusive process through which stakeholders can be engaged to contribute to developing pathways to sustainable national food systems.
Delivering his opening remarks at the summit, the Enugu State Commissioner for Budget and Planning; Hon. Dr. David Okelue Ugwunta explained that the summit was in line with the United Nation’s call for action and the target to achieve food security in line with the SDGs. He named the 5Action Tracks of the Summit as:
Action Track 1: Ensuring Access to Safe and Nutritious Food for All
Action Track 2: Shift to Sustainable Consumption Patterns
Action Track 3: Boost Nature-Positive Production
Action Track 4: Advance Equitable Livelihoods
Action Track 5: Build Resilience to Vulnerabilities, Shocks and Stresses
According to Dr. Ugwunta, it is expected that the dialogue will aid the improvement of nutrition, lessen hunger and incidence of malnutrition towards ensuring resilience, inclusive and sustainable Food Systems in Nigeria by 2030 as the recommendations to be arrived at from the state level dialogues will form part of the consolidated dialogue to be put up later at the national level.
Goodwill messages also came in from the UNICEF Chief of Enugu Field Office, The Representative of Bilateral Donors (FCDO), Hon. Commissioner for Economic Planning, Budget and Development Partners, Anambra State, Hon. Commissioner for Finance and Economic Development, Ebonyi State and the Hon. Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Enugu State.
The Dialogue Section was however officially flagged off by the Executive Governor of Enugu State; Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi ably represented by the Enugu State Commissioner for Education; Prof. Uche Eze after which the participants split into Discussion Groups on Food Systems in the zone with basis on the 5 Action Tracks as facilitated by 5 professionals in Food Systems.
The Breakout Sessions produced a communique by the participants where flooding, soil erosion, farmer-herder clashes, inadequate farmer education, low budgetary release of funds for capital projects were identified as setbacks but indicated that states are prepared for agricultural and nutritional self-sufficiency while recommending inclusiveness in the food system through access to productive input along the Food System infrastructural diversification of food production, good governance among other things.
A vote of thanks was delivered by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and Planning Ebonyi State who expressed delight in being part of the summit and thanked the United Nations alongside the Federal Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning for convening the summit while also appreciating the host state for a hospitable reception.
While presenting her closing remarks, the National Convener of the summit and Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Mrs. Olushola Idowu who took part in the summit via the zoom platform expressed delight in partaking in the dialogue while thanking participants for making out time to grace the event.
Lucy Nnenna Harry-Enwu
Ministry of Budget and Planning