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BFA at the UNFSS Pre-Summit: Building an Alliance for Blue Foods

Pre-Summit of the United Nations Food System Summit 2021
Image Credit: UN Photo

Food produced from the ocean, lakes and rivers has an essential role to play in achieving food security, ending malnutrition and building healthy, resilient food systems. Yet these ‘blue and aquatic foods’ are often neglected in food policy, resulting in missed opportunities to alleviate pressure on terrestrial ecosystems while providing healthful, often low-carbon-footprint, protein and essential micronutrients to communities around the world. 

Members of the Blue Food Assessment team, alongside global partners, joined a recent hybrid parallel session at the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) Pre-Summit in Rome, Italy. The session built on science to support key policy, finance, and engagement convergence points —  to ‘add fish to the recipe’ for food security, improved nutrition, and nature-positive production while encouraging and securing dignified livelihoods for a diversity of actors. Dr. Agnes Kalibata, the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Food Systems Summit, and Ambassador Peter Thomson, the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean provided framing remarks for the session to emphasize the growing importance of blue foods in global dialogues

As part of the session, speakers highlighted an Alliance for Blue Foods, officially announced as an “Emerging Coalition for Action” at the end of the Pre-Summit event. The coalition brings together voices from across the blue food sector to mobilize action towards food systems that are fairer, healthier, greener and more resilient. Read highlights and access videos from the parallel session — “Steering the Food System Summit Towards Full Integration of Blue Foods for Health, Wealth and Ecological Recovery” — below!


“At this pre-summit, we take stock of how far we have come. By the time of the summit, we must be ready to act.” — H.E. Ine Eriksen Søreide, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway

“With the Blue Foods Alliance now playing a central role, let’s move on to the UN Food Systems Summit in New York and under the banners of Indigenous knowledge and gender parity, under the banners of culture, health, innovation, sustainable consumption, and resilience, let’s make a difference for the food systems of the world. Do all this in the name of intergenerational justice.” — Peter Thomson, UN Special Envoy for Oceans

“There needs to be a massive political will to link blue food dialogues with blue justice, ensuring that people have job creation, ensuring that the environment is protected, and ensuring that people are fed.” — Barkha Mossae, Global Shaper, Port Louis Hub


“Let us work together to realize the vision of a blue food revolution that also advances the SDGs.” — Sanda Ojiambo, Executive Director, UN Compact

“Framed solutions and action plans can drive aquatic food systems for health, wealth and ecological protection. What we need now is the commitment and the investments to act by member states, policymakers, funders, the private sector, research institutions, and community leaders.” — Dr. Shakuntala Thilsted, WorldFish, BFA Scientific Leadership Team

“Blue foods need to be integrated better into the food system transformation strategies.” — Ambassador Thanawat Tiensin, Chair of the UN Committee on World Food Security


“Integrating blue food into national and global food systems is of utmost importance. Kenya strongly supports the aims and objectives of the alliance.” — Professor Micheni Ntiba, Department of Justice, Kenya

“The value of blue foods and aquatic foods is chronically neglected in food system discussions. Our mission at the Pre-Summit is to end that neglect, and to bring the possibility of blue food to the table.” — Jim Leape, Co-Director, Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions, BFA Core Team
Explore more session photos and speakers
Pre-Summit of the United Nations Food System Summit 2021
Pre-Summit of the United Nations Food System Summit 2021
Mahendra Reddy, Minister of Agriculture, Fiji
Pre-Summit of the United Nations Food System Summit 2021
Abigail Rockwell, Director of Global Food Security, US Department of State
Pre-Summit of the United Nations Food System Summit 2021
H.E. Nasser Kamel, Secretary General, Union for the Mediterranean
Pre-Summit of the United Nations Food System Summit 2021
Hideki Moronuki, Senior Fisheries Negotiator, Fisheries Agency
Pre-Summit of the United Nations Food System Summit 2021
Arni Mathiesen, Senior Advisor, Iceland Ocean Cluster
Pre-Summit of the United Nations Food System Summit 2021
Manuel Barange, Director of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy and Resources Division, FAO
Pre-Summit of the United Nations Food System Summit 2021
Pre-Summit of the United Nations Food System Summit 2021
Pre-Summit of the United Nations Food System Summit 2021
Pre-Summit of the United Nations Food System Summit 2021

Watch the full Pre-Summit session >

Read the UNFSS Pre-Summit program >

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All UNFSS Pre-Summit videos: ©UN

All UNFSS Pre-Summit images: UN Photo