YSG Highlights Four Key Enablers of Youth Empowerment for Achieving Sustainable Agrifood Systems
Early in May 2023, Young Scientists Group (YSG), a global initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Forum (WFF), launched its first report on specific policy issues of particular concern to youth related to agrifood systems transformation. A side event, Youth Innovation: Bolstering climate action through agrifood systems transformation in the context of COVID-19 recovery was organized in STI Forum on May 2, 2023, where WFF released the YSG report entitled, “Opportunities and barriers for advancing agrifood systems: Empowering young people for a sustainable future.”
The report mentions that our agrifood systems are facing increasing shocks and stresses, which puts them under immense pressure. This raises the question of whether we can produce efficiently to meet rising global demand while protecting the environment and communities inclusively and more sustainably. To achieve this, it is necessary to adopt practices that can make agriculture and forestry more efficient under limited availability of natural resources. However, the key challenge now is to transform current agrifood systems into more resilient, sustainable, equitable and accessible systems for all and it is essential to identify and support the main drivers of this transformation.
Youth — including diverse groups such as rural youth, Indigenous youth, young women, among others — play a crucial role in strengthening inclusive policy environments for driving sustainable and resilient agrifood systems. The first cohort of the YSG highlighted four key enablers of youth empowerment: education, technology, science and policy. In addition, this report explores these four enablers alongside five case studies and an interview, highlighting best practices and critical issues that need to be resolved immediately to achieve more sustainable agrifood systems.
In summary, the YSG report explains that youth are better positioned as drivers and agents of change by advancing these four enablers, especially given their willingness to take risks and adopt new ideas. A complete report is divided into five chapters: (i) provides an overview of the latest issues affecting agrifood systems, (ii) focuses on the challenges faced by youth who are working to advance sustainable agrifood systems, (iii) identifies and explores four key enablers of youth empowerment: education, technology, science and policy, (iv) highlights existing youth-based initiatives for improving agrifood systems, and (v) provides the conclusions with 18 science-based and action-oriented recommendations.
The report conceptualization and production were led by Dr. Dinesh Panday, Coordinator of the Scientific Report Writing Working Group at YSG. All members (19 contributors) of YSG’s first cohort (2022–2023) provided valuable contributions and feedback during the report preparation. You can read the full report!