Official Dialogue Feedback to the United Nations 2021 Food Systems Summit
Type of Dialogue
Language of Dialogue Event
Please review the details below for registration information if available or contact the Convenor if you would like to attend.
Globally, nearly 690 million people were hungry in 2019. Though the number of people who experience hunger in Asia has declined since 2015, the continent still accounts for more than half of the world’s hungry, or undernourished, at approximately 381 million people. Working toward Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG 2), “Zero Hunger,” will require major changes to the world’s food systems. In South and South East Asia, food security and nutrition have not improved significantly despite the region’s economic growth. COVID-19 pandemic has also triggered the largest disruption of livelihoods in history, affecting over 1.7 billion people.
As food systems transform, we need to take a holistic approach to empowering women in food systems; supporting women on all fronts is critical to ensuring that policies to end hunger and poverty and protect the environment are truly effective. Despite their importance to food security, women in South and South East Asia can be constrained by their lack of land ownership and access to other resources due to patriarchal farming systems and gender discrimination. In Bangladesh, for example, even as the inheritance law stipulates equal land ownership, women own only 12 percent of plots, which are usually smaller than those owned by men or those jointly owned by men and women. In India, nearly 40 percent of smallholders are women, yet women also have more difficulty accessing agricultural credit. Additionally, agricultural support systems in India are mostly composed of men, affecting women’s access to resources to increase their incomes. The food system has largely been tied with the agriculture sector only despite its interface with forestry which is a key source of food during pandemic and natural disasters . Building more inclusive food systems will be key to supporting vulnerable populations affected by the pandemic. Inclusive food systems have the potential for integrating the poor and marginalized into food supply chains, enabling them to escape poverty, improving nutrition, and thereby, reducing national and global inequalities.
This dialogue will bring together multiple stakeholders from South Asia and South East Asia including governments, private sector, civil society organizations, women workers associations, researchers, donors and intergovernmental organizations working in the region to discuss solutions to address gender inequality and the situation of women in food systems.