Food systems for sustainable development: Proposals for a profound four-part transformation
This paper (PDF) in the Agronomy for Sustainable Development journal is calling on the need for a transformation of food systems – at scale – in order to achieve the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. Food systems are of importance for sustainable development: they are at the nexus linking food security, nutrition, human health, viability of ecosystems, climate change and social justice. However, agricultural policies tend to focus on food supply. Therefore, a transformation is needed to deliver multiple and simultaneous social, economic, and environmental outcomes, including poverty eradication and mitigation and adaptation to climate change. The food systems transformation that is needed has four parts, as argued by the international group of experts. First, food systems should enable all people to benefit from nutritious, healthy food. Second, they should reflect sustainable agricultural production and food value chains. Third, they should mitigate climate change and build resilience. Fourth, they should encourage a renaissance of rural territories. The implementation of the food system transformation relies on: (i) suitable metrics to aid decision-making; (ii) synergies of policies through convergence of local and global priorities, and (iii) enhancement of development approaches that focus on territories. There is a need for consistency between global actions for sustainable development and numerous local-level innovations. It emphasizes the challenge of designing differentiated paths for food systems transformation responding to local and national expectations. Scientific and operational challenges are associated with the alignment and arbitration of local action within the context of global priorities. In the end, the food system transformation depends on enlightened policies, well-adapted process, local to global integration and value systems based on justice and human rights principles for arbitrating trade-offs. The process should be accelerated through multi-stakeholder coalitions to encourage greater alignment among actors in the framework.
A related news item by CIRAD can be found here.