Global Alliance for the Future of Food urges action to repair broken food systems

14 Oct 2020 — The Global Alliance for the Future of Food – a collaboration of philanthropic foundations – has published guidance for governments to take action for better food systems that promote human, ecological and animal health and well-being. 

“An urgent case for reforming industrialized food and farming systems can be made on the grounds of protecting health and leaders know it. COVID-19 is yet another validation of what happens when we ignore the health-food nexus,” says Ruth Richardson, executive director of the Global Alliance for the Future of Food.

“It’s time national governments rise up to the challenge of truly transforming our food systems with tangible, bold action for long-term impact. In this guide we have brilliant examples of how this can be done – with financial acumen and an eye to the beautifully diverse communities we live in.”

The organization has published the Systemic Solutions for Healthy Food Systems guide, supported by a set of case studies from different countries, cultures and contexts. The guidance provides 14 recommendations to tackle the interconnectedness of food systems through policy and practice.

The recommendations suggest that COVID-19 recovery and stimulus packages commit to stricter governance, to health-promoting fiscal measures and to greater focus on research and innovation.

Fostering collaboration and dialogue
With a call to move away from a productivist “feed the world” narrative towards prioritizing human, ecological and animal health and well-being, the guide advocates for greater government intervention and leadership in a context of collaboration and deeper dialogue.

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2021 will be a critical year for the health and well-being of people and the planet.

Examples of collaboration between national governments, food producers, community groups, businesses, researchers, investors, and civil society organizations include organic agriculture subsidies in Germany, food security policies in France, consumer information law in Chile, soil health success stories in China and nutrition programs in Rwanda.

“2021 will be a critical year for the health and well-being of people and the planet. The UN Food Systems Summit, COP26 and COP15 are crucial opportunities to transform how we grow, harvest, distribute, market, eat and dispose of food which will, in turn, enable us to tackle the root causes of malnutrition, climate change and biodiversity loss,” says Mark Driscoll, founder and director of Tasting the Future.

“With these new recommendations in hand, politicians and policymakers have a blueprint to develop the integrated policies that are so desperately needed at this time.”

World Food Day
Collective action across 150 countries comprises the upcoming World Food Day (October 16), spearheaded by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN.

“What we all must realize is that today’s food systems are in disrepair,” stresses Dr. Agnes Kalibata, UN Special Envoy to the 2021 Food Systems Summit.

“The UN Food Systems Summit will raise global awareness, deepen our understanding of the problems we must solve and set a course to radically change the way we produce, process and consume food.”

On World Food Day, the FAO is launching its engagement process through a 24-hour event, detailing its food security action plans in the course of the next year. The UN Food Systems Summit has been called a “turning point” toward achieving its Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). 

Edited by Benjamin Ferrer

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