People within different communities have found their own ways, through Dialogue, to deepen their appreciation of each other’s perspectives, to consider different opinions and to seek agreement where possible. The Food Systems Summit Dialogues enable a standardized approach for the convening, curation and facilitation of purposeful and organized events that encourage a broad and diverse range of stakeholders come together and share their experiences of food systems. Through Dialogue, people will consider how their roles impact on those of others and seek out ways to improve or transform food systems so they are suitable both for people and planet. They provide an inclusive and supportive venue for debate, collaboration, consensus-building, and shared commitment making.

The Dialogues are prepared and convened so that they welcome participants and enable them to engage purposefully with open exchanges. The Dialogues convene a diversity of stakeholders; at all times incorporating Food Systems Summit Principles of Engagement. The Dialogues are carefully curated and facilitated in order to help participants explore convergences and differences. They are designed to offer informed, and constructive feedback for use in the preparation of the Summit. They also offer valuable insights for shaping pathways to sustainable food systems by 2030: they will be useful after the Summit.

In summary, these Dialogues contribute to shaping the pathways which will lead to equitable and sustainable food systems by 2030. They will also be valuable to the different workstreams preparing for the Food Systems Summit: the Action Tracks, Scientific Groups and Champions as well as for other Dialogues.

The success of a Food Systems Summit Dialogue depends primarily on the participants and the ways in which they interact with each other. They achieve this through exchanges, in Discussion Groups, which:

  • Include diverse actors from across the entirety of food systems;
  • Follow the summit’s principles of engagement;
  • Discuss long-term visions for sustainable food systems;
  • Encourage sharing of reflections, building on knowledge, experience and wisdom;
  • Reflect the consensus and divergence that emerges among the participants;
  • Identify priorities for action within the context of current realities.

The Dialogues approach enables participants to:

  • Listen to each other;
  • Welcome diverse perspectives;
  • Seek out new connections;
  • Explore both synergy and divergence;
  • Collaborate in order to identify promising courses of action;
  • Debate potential impact of different strategies.


Convening participants from a diversity of stakeholder groups

It is critical that Dialogues include a wide range of stakeholders from different groups of food producers and processors, distributors and retailers, caterers, chefs, marketers, traders and others directly involved in moving food from farm to fork. They will include professionals who work for the health and nutrition of women and children, as well as those who help to govern territories, protect livelihoods, foster resilience, regenerate ecosystems, participate in climate action, manage freshwater, and steward coastlines, seas and the ocean. They will be from small, medium and large enterprises, community organizations, universities, schools, and more, and will include members of stakeholder groups including women, youth, indigenous peoples and migrants.


Curating and facilitating multi-stakeholder explorations

Multi-stakeholder Dialogues are a valuable approach for engaging multiple actors so that they can focus together – utilising their combined knowledge and experience – on the resolution of systems challenges. For this approach to work, discussions between participants must first be stimulated, helped to grow (by being opened up to the whole group) and guided so that the desired outcomes are shaped and articulated. This means that Dialogues should be carefully curated, and then facilitated. This will aid the exploration of issues, development of shared positions and emergence of joint action.

The successful curation of a Dialogue event creates circumstances within which multiple stakeholders are able to connect, share ideas, explore each other’s perspectives, develop propositions, examine their potential and nurture the shaping and emergence of pathways to sustainability.


In summary

The Food Systems Summit Dialogues are an approach for enabling systematic, inclusive opportunities for stakeholders to be engaged in food systems. The approach enables participants to contribute to the Summit by building on efforts already underway, working together on pathways that lead to sustainable food systems, and setting out intentions and commitments in the run up to the Summit.

The Dialogues are moments for:

  • Engaging actors in the food systems approach, in unusual ways;
  • Enabling them to explore ideas together;
  • Encouraging creativity, emphasising equity;
  • Emerging more powerfully through connections;
  • Elaborating pathways, intentions and commitments together.

Open Public Briefings

Three Open Public Briefings were held in November 2020 to introduce people to the Food Systems Summit Dialogues. Recordings of the three sessions can be viewed below or on the Food Systems Summit YouTube page here.