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Food system transformation

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This is a summary of the following paper: Fanzo J, Haddad L, Schneider K, Béné C, Covic, N, Guarin A et al (2021) Viewpoint: Rigorous monitoring is necessary to guide food system transformation in the countdown to the 2030 global goals. Food Policy, 104, 102163. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2021.102163.  

Food systems that support healthy diets in sustainable, resilient, just and equitable ways can give rise to progress in eradicating poverty and malnutrition, protecting human rights and restoring natural resources. While food system activities have contributed to great gains for humanity, they have also led to significant challenges including hunger, poor diet quality, inequity and threats to nature. While it is recognised that food systems are central to multiple global commitments and goals, the current trajectories are not aligned to meet these objectives.

Food system transformation aims to generate a future where all people have access to healthy diets produced in sustainable and resilient ways that restore nature and deliver equitable livelihoods. Transformation is possible in the next decade but rigorous evidence is needed to keep progress on track. A comprehensive, science-based monitoring framework can support evidence-based policymaking and the work of those who hold key actors accountable in this transformation process.

The authors’ paper proposes a monitoring framework centred around five thematic areas which arise from a systemic analysis of food systems, the entry points for change, established targets and goals and the necessary processes and capacities to bring about change. The authors developed working groups around each thematic area (shown in in bold) to develop the following indicator domains:

  1. Diets, nutrition and health: diet quality; food security; food environment; policies affecting food environments.
  2. Environment and climate: land use; greenhouse gas emissions; water use; pollution; biosphere integrity.
  3. Livelihoods, poverty and equity: poverty and income; employment; social protection; rights.
  4. Governance: shared vision; strategic planning and policies; effective implementation; accountability.
  5. Resilience and sustainability: exposure to shocks; resilience capacities; agrobiodiversity; food security stability; food systems sustainability index.

Recognising that this must be a multi-stakeholder process, the authors will use an adapted Delphi process to gather feedback on the thematic areas and indicator domains, identify candidate indicators and vet the selection of final indicators to be monitored. To spur accountability towards an inclusive food system transformation, the authors have issued a call for action. They hope others will contribute further evidence of successes and challenges and offer actionable recommendations based on this evidence.

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Food system transformation. Field Exchange 67, April 2022. p76. www.ennonline.net/fex/67/foodsystemtransformation

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