The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in China is organising a series of Policy Dialogues under the United Nations Framework for the Immediate Socio-Economic Response to COVID-19 launched at the end of April 2020. The aim of the Dialogues is to share the Chinese experience with the impacts of the pandemic and recovery, as well as to inform the policy debate and explore how to “build back better” by leaving no one behind, establishing better conditions for ending poverty, protecting our planet and accelerating the SDGs. In the words of the United Nations Secretary-General, “the pandemic has highlighted the fragility of our food systems.” Small farmers, fishers, pastoralists and rural workers are among the populations most at risk of socio-economic marginalization. Ensuring the continued or improved functioning of small producers, informal workers, along with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across sectors is vital to ensuring production of, and access to, food and other essential goods and services. The pandemic is generating severe socio-economic impacts for those working in food production and supply chains (migrant agricultural workers, plantation workers, food vendors, subsistence farmers, etc.) and those working for transport and delivery of goods. Their precarious conditions in turn affect the food systems, which need to be restored more robust and resilient to safeguard food value chains, prevent future breakdowns and ensure food security. Against this backdrop, the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP-CSAM), with the support of nine other UN entities, organised the Policy Dialogue titled ‘China’s experience in strengthening food systems amid the response to COVID-19’ on 11 December 2020. Together with partners from China’s central and local government, academia, the private sector and think tanks, this Dialogue explored ways to address the fragility of food systems that has been highlighted by the pandemic. The dialogue was divided into three sessions. The common starting point was that COVID-19 threatens the food security and nutrition of millions of people, many of whom were already suffering. As for many of the development challenges we are facing today, concerted action is needed to avoid some of the worst impacts of this crisis – and future ones – as well as to support the transition to more sustainable food systems that are in better balance with nature and enable healthy diets for all.