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المنتدى العالمي المعني بالأمن الغذائي والتغذية

Re: CFS policy process on the development of the Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition

Florence Egal
Florence EgalFood Security and Nutrition expertItaly

Thank you for this opportunity to contribute to a most interesting process. 

General comments :

In the context of Agenda 2030, we cannot afford to loose any more time. Limiting the VGs to healthy diets (e.g. para 18 p.4), rather than sustainable diets means we are missing a major opportunity to explicitly address livelihoods and environmental issues. Sustainable food systems should be designed to deliver sustainable diets; and sustainable diets can provide the entry point to reorient failing food systems

What do we intend by evidence-based practice? For decades «evidence-based in the nutrition world has been equated to biomedical research. We need - and lack – practice-based evidence on successful practices at local/territorial level.

Catering should be explicitly mentioned as it is a key source of livelihoods, in particular for women and youth, it influences people’s diets (chefs are playing a key role in promoting diets), and together wih public procurementy, it provides an excellent entry point to integrate relevant food supply chains (see para 29., p. 6)

In the guiding principles, we may want to make more explicit reference to governance. In this perspective the work carried out on urban-rural linkages https://urbanrurallinkages.files.wordpress.com/2019/07/url-gp.pdf and territorial approaches https://collaboratif.cirad.fr/alfresco/s/d/workspace/SpacesStore/6daa60e1-d89e-4a59-9bfd-ff5f66a93130/TP4D_vENG.pdf could be useful.

On section III, we should not parcel out the food systems approach into three “constituent elements” (i.e. sub-systems which are actually not even complementary). This will eventually allow institutions to remain within their comfort zones and pay lip service to the need for an integrated vision (as has been the case for decades). We should avoid introducing and/or supporting yet more jargon and potentially confusing concepts (e.g. food environment)

It is regrettable that the importance of a territorial (bio-regional) approach and related traditional diets for sustainable food systems is not acknowledged. The importance of local markets as a key element of local economies should be spelt out.

Food safety and quality standards, and related legal and regulatory tools and procedures should be reviewed in terms of local relevance and impact on sustainable development (including environment and social justice)

The work carried out by the CFS in other work areas (e.g. on the Urbanization and Rural Transformation working group) could provide useful insights.

 

Specific comments

I 1 para 6 p. 2

This paragraph should come higher up: understanding the causes of malnutrition is essential to understanding food systems and provide a planning basis.

What about inadequate food–related practices (not limited to child feeding)? Changes in such practices are often responsible for changes in nutritional status.

P. 7, para 32 : according to this definition contaminated foods could contribute to healthy diets?

P. 8, para 36

b/ Sustainable development can best be addressed at local/territorial level. The order should be reversed with national and international institutions explicitly facilitating local action

c/ the present focus on « healthy diet , healthy planet » by and large disregards the social dimension, which is essential to sustainable development

e/ should aim to sustainable dietary practices and start with consumers. Only a demand driven approach can help correct the dysfunctions generated by the classical supply-driven approach

g/ capacity building should explicitly mention interdisciplinary (in particular food and health) and inter-institutional collaboration

p. 10, para 43,

this looks very much so far as a business-as-usual shopping list (and this is probably unavoidable if we keep these three distinct sections)

f/ the title should be reworded: schools have a key role to play to promote sustainable diets and sustainable food systems, this of course is not limited to production.

I of course remain available for any clarification or further discussion.