The World Food Prize Foundation

2021 Borlaug Dialogue

Gaining Momentum:
Food Systems Transformation in the Decade of Action

THE NORMAN E. BORLAUG INTERNATIONAL DIALOGUE, known informally as the "Borlaug Dialogue," each year brings together over 1,200 people from more than 65 countries to address cutting-edge issues related to global food security and nutrition. The three-day conference convenes a wide array of scientific experts, policy leaders, business executives and farmers and has been called "the premier conference in the world on global agriculture." Through the Borlaug Dialogue, the World Food Prize Foundation helps build alliances in the struggle against world hunger and malnutrition.

Hybrid Format

The 2021 International Borlaug Dialogue (October 20-22), will be offered in a hybrid format. Through a series of live and virtual components, registrants will hear from leaders and champions, dive into interdisciplinary subjects and interact with new and familiar partners and colleagues.  Each day, we will offer various sessions - panel discussions, roundtable sessions, side events and workshops designed for deeper exploration.

Participants will connect through a dynamic, virtual platform. The Dialogue will also offer limited, in-person opportunities through an early registration process, in accordance with travel and public health provisions anticipated for later in 2021.

Content and Themes

Twenty-twenty brought many challenges to and opportunities for working in the Decade of Action towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.   Communities worldwide faced unprecedented barriers to meeting food security needs with at least 20 countries on the brink of famine, highlighting the importance of global collective action.  As we continue to move forward in this decade of action towards the UN Food Systems Summit and other global convenings, we have the opportunity to gain momentum as never before.  We recognize that we cannot ‘reboot’ the system, but must transform food systems to right inequitable structures. 

Solutions must be innovative, commitments must be bold and collective action must be systematic

This pivotal year offers milestones for international collaboration. The International Borlaug Dialogue follows the UN Food Systems Summit (FSS) and the 48th Committee on World Food Security while building forward for COP26 and the Nutrition for Growth Summit, to gain momentum in the Decade of Action. Country commitments and Coalitions of Action adopted during the UN FSS will be highlighted during the Borlaug Dialogue, reaching additional audiences and widening opportunities for partnership.

Given the momentum being built in the Decade of Action, this year’s International Borlaug Dialogue will spotlight several critical areas in food systems transformation. These subjects provide framing themes for the Borlaug Dialogue, but other topics and critical issues will be explored.

Research & Innovation
Transforming food systems requires a strong evidence base for policy action, alongside great strides in accessible innovations. Through Research and Innovation, we must prioritize the affordability of safe, nutritious diets, which remain out of reach for a huge swath of the global population. Research advancements must continue to improve agricultural production dramatically, while innovation expands the capacity to enhance all aspects of food systems.

Gender Equity & Equitable Livelihoods
Achieving gender equity requires building momentum for further action. One of the most significant ways to uplift all genders is through equitable access to the resources needed due to the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19.  Transformed food systems will promote the agency of historically disenfranchised populations and advancing Equitable Livelihoods. 

Nutrition-Sensitive Food Systems
The commitment to build safe, affordable, nutrition-sensitive food systems remain central to global food security deliberations. The link between nutrition and health has been magnified during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Nutrition must be elevated within food production priorities to achieve multiple wins in food security, including gender equity, natural resource conservation, diverse cultural contexts and poverty alleviation.



Interactive Partner Workshops will be featured as part of the plenary agenda of the International Borlaug Dialogue. Interactive workshops provide the opportunity for registered participants to collaboratively define key issues, explore problems, and learn about new strategies, tools and technologies in food systems.


Side Events

A prominent feature of the International Borlaug Dialogue, side events provide a space for organizations and initiatives to coordinate and execute their own unique event in conjunction with the Dialogue. Virtual Side Event Host Organizers often use this dedicated space to demonstrate work, promote further dialogue, and engage attendees through hosted events, panels, receptions, and announcements. This year we are excited to provide partners with the opportunity to host virtual and in-person events alongside the plenary content of the International Borlaug Dialogue.



Victoria Chia
Senior Director, International Dialogues

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