Why the world can’t wait for fair and transparent food systems – global issues


UNFSS hopes to change how food is produced, packaged and distributed to tackle food insecurity and waste. Credit: Alison Kentish
  • by Alison Kentish (Russo, Dominica)
  • Interpress service

Through pre-summit and national dialogues, scientists, policy makers, farmers, NGOs, private sector representatives and youth groups were building momentum ahead of the conference United Nations Food Systems Summit in September. The goal is to ensure that the world produces food with greater attention to climate change, poverty, equity, sustainability and waste reduction.

the Global Alliance for the Future of Food is one of the partners addressing the urgent need to transform food systems for food security, equity, the global economy and recovery from COVID-19. Since 2012, the Alliance of Philanthropies has engaged in global discussions, supported and led global food transformation research and advanced initiatives in climate, health, and agroecology.

the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) Collaborates with the Alliance to exchange ideas and knowledge to design projects capable of ensuring a more sustainable food system for future generations.

IPS spoke to the Alliance’s senior program director, Lauren Baker, about the urgent need to reform food systems, the impact of COVID-19 on those systems and why true cost accounting is essential to international efforts to revamp the production, sale and distribution of food.

Inter Press Service (IPS): The Global Alliance for the Future of Food has been on a mission to make food systems more sustainable and equitable. The United Nations Food Systems Summit has the same goal. What do you want to achieve the top?

Lauren Baker (lbs): Through Operation Summit, we have committed to engaging a network of champions in food systems. We advocate systems thinking, transparency, and accountability. We advocate the need for diverse evidence and comprehensive representation throughout the process.

Our goal was to focus research on a single issue, which we believe is an important lever for changing diets, and this was echoed by many in the Summit process. This is the real cost accounting issue.

Time and time again across the streams of work, we’ve heard people stress the need for measurable and transparent approaches like true cost accounting going forward. What is true cost accounting: We look at the negative externalities of unfit food systems. An industrial diet has many important effects on human health and the environment. We need to take it into account, use that information to think differently and make different decisions that reinforce and support the true value of food and highlight alternatives.

There are many diet initiatives spread around the world that are healthy, equitable, diversified, inclusive, renewable and resilient. How can we highlight those integral benefits of food systems when they are properly managed, and not extractive?

(IPS): What are some diet lessons you think we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic?

(pound): I think the Summit comes at a time when everyone is becoming increasingly aware of dietary issues, and that makes the Summit’s work all the more important.

One of the main lessons has been how vulnerable groups deserve equity in the context of this kind of global emergency. If you extend that to the future emergencies that will come our way because of climate change, we need to address those issues of equity and social systems that lift people rather than make them more vulnerable in the context of something like a pandemic.

We have seen essential workers still suffering from stress. We’ve seen the impact of COVID on migrant workers, farmers, and supply chain resilience. We’ve seen that the global supply chain through COVID, on the one hand, has been very vulnerable. On the other hand, it has been solid, but there has been increased interest due to COVID on resilient local and regional supply chains. Throughout the pre-summit period, I heard government officials and other actors stress the importance of building and strengthening local and regional supply chains.

I think resilience has been highlighted in general – the idea of ​​resilience and how food systems relate to our other crises, like the crisis of global inequality, the climate crisis and our biodiversity crisis. Now we see that these things are inextricably linked, and the solutions must also be interrelated.

(IPS): How important is indigenous knowledge to this task of transforming food systems?

(pound): In our work on true cost accounting, I think original knowledge is undervalued if you think about the true value of food systems.

Indigenous peoples have historically managed and directed their diets and have the knowledge they can offer the world. Their knowledge is place-based, and I’ve heard throughout the summit process how important it is to create scientific knowledge based on location. This type of knowledge provides a basic perspective, a different view of the world that connects us to the places we live in in different ways than we currently relate to.

(IPS): Food system experts also continue to push for agroecology to be at the center of these discussions. What is your opinion in this?

(pound): For me, when you look through the diet, agroecology is a systematic solution that delivers all of these values ​​that I’ve been talking about in a really clear way.

Agroecology can improve livelihoods in terms of shifting from a system with negative impacts to positive benefits. She is creative and knowledge-intensive. It is also laid on an ecological basis. It is diverse, so we need to support the importance of agricultural biodiversity and agriculture as it is linked to the wild landscape as well. Agroecology is nicely connected to our wild spaces, and agroforestry, where biodiversity and habitat can be preserved and enhanced.

We’re doing some great work right now evaluating the use of a real cost accounting framework, all of these agro-environmental initiatives around the world to look at their positive environmental impacts, social and cultural impacts on human health and economic impacts.

We’re excited to launch this work at this Diet Summit in September. We think it’s an important way to disrupt agroecology, indigenous knowledge, and creativity in urban communities that we see around food systems.

(IPS): What do you think of the key message before the Diet Summit?

(pound): One of the key messages for me is the importance of transparency in all of this.

How can we ensure that our global leaders act boldly in the moment and adopt transparent, measurable approaches, systematic approaches, that can actually facilitate inclusive transformation as quickly as possible? We can’t wait!

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© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service


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