United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced today the appointment of Agnes Kalibata of Rwanda as his Special Envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit.
In 2021, the Secretary-General will host a Food Systems Summit with the aim of maximizing the co-benefits of a food systems approach across the entire 2030 Agenda and meet the challenges of climate change. As a key contribution to the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, the objectives of the Food Systems Summit are to generate momentum, expand the knowledge and share experience and approaches worldwide to help countries and stakeholders unleash the benefits of food systems for all people. The Summit will also offer a catalytic moment for global public mobilization and actionable commitments to invest in diverse ways to make food systems inclusive, climate adapted and resilient, and support sustainable peace.
The Special Envoy, working with the United Nations system and key partners, will provide leadership, guidance and strategic direction towards the Summit. Ms. Kalibata will be responsible for outreach and cooperation with key leaders, including governments, and other strategic stakeholder groups, to galvanize action and leadership for the Summit. She will also support the various global and regional consultative events focused on food system transformation, planned during 2020 and 2021.
Ms. Kalibata is the President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) since 2014. She leads the organization’s efforts with public and private partners to ensure a food secure and prosperous Africa through rapid, inclusive, sustainable agricultural growth, improving the productivity and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers in Africa.
Bill Gates has built a global empire around his technologies and “philanthropic” endeavors, the magnitude of which is now becoming increasingly clear. His sheer wealth has allowed him to become a veritable superpower in his own right. He’s not only risen to become the largest funder of the World Health Organization and the unelected global COVID-19 health czar but he’s also a secret powerbroker of the global food system.
As revealed in the AGRA Watch report,1 “The Man Behind the Curtain: The Gates Foundation’s Influence on the UN Food Systems Summit,” published August 2020, Gates wields powerful influence over global food and agriculture policy through his funding of a large number of organizations involved in agricultural development and policy making.
Gates-Funded Organizations Defend Gates-Funded UN Envoy
While Gates is just one man, his clout is significantly leveraged and magnified by the fact that he funds such a large number of companies and organizations that can then do his bidding on the sly.
When you see long lists of groups, you automatically think there are many players in the game when, in fact, Gates is the singular thread running through most or all of them. The AGRA Watch report2 makes a perfect case in point with the story of Agnes Kalibata.
Kalibata is the president of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), an organization funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In December 2019, Kalibata was appointed special envoy to the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit by the secretary general of the UN, Antonio Guterres.
In response, 176 civil society organizations and farmer groups from 83 countries urged Guterres to withdraw the appointment of Kalibata due to her clear conflicts of interest with corporate actors. A second statement, signed by more than 500 academics and organizations, also opposed Kalibata’s appointment to, and her organization of, the Summit.
That’s significant pushback, illustrating there’s widespread concern about Kalibata’s appointment. Coming forward in her defense were a dozen individuals representing development banks, academic institutions and the private sector.
They urged Guterres to retain Kalabata, citing her leadership qualities and work ethic, among other things. However, of those 12 defenders, “11 had past or current connections to the Gates Foundation,” AGRA Watch says, adding:3
“In some instances, the organizations were directly funded by the Gates Foundation, and in others, the Gates Foundation funded specific programs in which the signers had played roles. One organization was funded by AGRA, which is funded by the Gates Foundation.”