Knowledge for better food systems

Global panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition: Food systems and diets: Facing the challenges of the 21st century

This foresight report by the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition (Glopan) outlines a vision for a food system that reduces malnutrition and promotes health. It is designed to help policy-makers make their food systems more supportive of high quality diets.

The report, which was led by Lawrence Haddad and Corinna Hawkes and launched at FAO, urges forceful action on malnutrition in all its manifestations (hunger, obesity, micronutrient deficiencies). Emphasising that if current trends continue, nearly half of the world’s adult population will be overweight or obese by 2030, up from one third today, it argues that the poorest countries are not immune to these trends.

The report also includes a call for action, summarised on the GLOPAN website as follows:

“This Report identifies decisions that policymakers need to take in the coming decade, particularly for women and children, to invest in effective policies to reduce all forms of malnutrition, repositioning food systems from feeding people to nourishing people. Actions which go beyond agriculture to encompass trade, the environment and health, harnessing the power of the private sector and empowering consumers to demand better diets. Enhancing the ability of food systems to deliver high quality diets is a choice that is well within the grasp of policy-makers.  It is a choice that will help achieve the SDG goal of ending malnutrition in all its forms by 2030. It is a choice that will reap benefits for decades to come, for all people, in all countries.”

Read more here and see the full report here. You can find the press release here and further coverage by the BBC here.

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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