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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.
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.
First of all, congratulations for a huge undertaking. A few points/comments (which I would be happy to clarify further):
A. I would suggest that sustainable diets be used as an entry point to discuss sustainable food systems. People do not eat commodities, and value chains only contribute to specific elements of a diet. We certainly need to have more sustainable value chains but only once we have a clear understanding of what should be a locally appropriate sustainable – and therefore seasonal - diet.
Traditional diets were traditionally associated to a large extent with local food systems, this is not the case any longer given the growing disconnect generated by the commodification and standardization of foods and the bias towards international trade. In that perspective, the reference to the Mediterranean diet is well appreciated but reflects traditional food systems in the Mediterranean bioregion (see below). Nordic chefs tried to adapt it and ended up with the new Nordic cuisine. The traditional Corean diet is the basis for healthy diets in Seoul, etc… It is important to understand indigenous diets (and related food systems, see <http://www.fao.org/indigenous-peoples/ifs-seminar/en/>) and revisit them on the basis of relevant scientific knowledge.
B Territorial approaches are mentioned in the paper. They are well suited to operationalize complex concepts such as sustainability (which brings together economic, social and environmental dimensions). This should therefore come much earlier in the draft. Maybe this document could be of use? <collaboratif.cirad.fr/alfresco/s/d/workspace/SpacesStore/6daa60e1-d89e-4a59-9bfd-ff5f66a93130/TP4D_vENG.pdf>
The role of cities in driving territorial food systems and the need to improve urban-rural linkages are important dimensions of territorial approaches.
The paper refers to agroecological zones. We may want to add the concept of bioregions (A bioregion is a land and water territory whose limits are defined not by political boundaries, but by the geographical limits of human communities and ecological systems), which also brings in the human dimension. Interesting food system research (including prospective studies) use this concept as a basis, e.g. <www.kpu.ca/isfs/swbcproject>. Bioregions are usually subnational and often cross-border) which emphasizes the importance of local food governance.
C. Social sustainability should not be limited to « broad-based benefits for society ». it should not undermine culture, and should build upon social structures and traditional solidarity mechanisms. It would be important to further emphasize participation of people and institutions and give more attention to human rights (including the right to food, which provides a solid conceptual basis for social sustainability of food systems). We could also refer to the Agenda 2030 slogan « Leave no one behind »
On Fig 2 , any way we could have eco-social development at the top for a change? :-)
The paper refers to « traditional power dynamics » p. 14 . The word “traditional” may need to be clarified. Are we talking of political economy?
P. 41 on research and innovation, I am surprised there is no reference to the IPES-food work – in particular < http://www.ipes-food.org/_img/upload/files/IPES/Principles/SFS.pdf> Priority should be given to generation and sharing of practice-based evidence, through knowledge management of promising practices and research action.
A precondition for sustainable food system is the revision of the legal and regulatory framework to provide an enabling environment. This dimension is missing.
The reference to urban and periurban agriculture (UPA) should be framed within an urban food system framework. Its role should not be limited either to food production since it usually also plays important social and environment roles.
I may have missed it but did not find in the sources any reference to the IPES-food work? <http://www.ipes-food.org/reports/>
Let me share a few considerations, which I realize are fairly simplistic and not very original. By and large, plantation systems have drastically changed SIDS initially subsistence-based economies. Plantation workers and their households became increasingly dependent on imported foods and progressively abandoned traditional foods and local varieties. The environment impact of plantations was not factored in and local communities lost access to land.
As a result, SIDS now face all forms of malnutrition (and in particular diet-related non-communicable diseases), the environment is degraded and biodiversity eroded, communities are disempowered and poverty is on the rise. Tourists are fed imported foods and it is difficult to find local fruits in market or supermarkets. And in isolated islands in the South Pacific when the boat does not come, food insecurity becomes a problem. Water levels rise and hurricanes and cyclones are on the increase
Re-localizing food systems, including sustainable management of local biodiversity (often more resilient to prevailing climate hazards), in order to make best use of the island natural resources and revive local food cultures, seems an obvious starting point to shorten food chains and diversify diets, facilitating consumer access to and supplying local markets with fresh and micro-nutrient rich foods and identifying and promoting niche (and organic/seasonal?) products, to provide job and employment all along the food chain, contribute to local economies and overall contributing to SIDS resilience.
I have read with interest the contributions and attempted to answer the questions. Apologies if this is off track. In general I am missing a chronological/historical perspective at local level: when did extreme poverty appear? why? how did people attempt to cope?
1. Under what conditions can agriculture succeed in lifting people out of extreme poverty? Particularly those households with limited access to productive resources.
- What do we mean by agriculture? If we include food processing, marketing and catering, but also eco-system services, eco-tourism etc, we stand a much better chance to improve the livelihoods of extremely poor households – in particular those with limited access to productive resources - and to contribute to sustainable local development
- Who are the extremely poor people? Smallholder farmers who have fallen in destitution – often because they have lost their access to productive resources -, landless labourers, migrants from rural areas? Or people who have never been involved in agriculture before but re-engage in agriculture-related social and economic activities (e.g. community gardens, social and solidarity economy)?
2. What is the role of ensuring more sustainable natural resource management in supporting the eradication of extreme poverty?
The productivist approach to agriculture development and the economic model which have been promoted in the last decades have often ignored sustainability and led to the degradation of natural resources (soil, water, forests, biodiversity) but also to the marginalization of vulnerable households, increased socio-economic differentiation and disruption/erosion of traditional social networks. Social and environmental issues are closely related. Agenda 2030 can only be reached if we ensure that the social, environmental and economic dimensions of development are jointly addressed.
4. What set of policies are necessary to address issues connecting food security and extreme poverty eradication in rural areas?
I am not sure why we should limit ourselves to rural areas. Food insecurity and extreme poverty exist in urban areas and in a context of accelerated - transitory and permanent - migration, it is increasingly difficult – and counter-productive - to draw the line.
We should first identify the policies responsible for increased food insecurity and poverty at territorial level, modify them and proceed with the necessary adaptation of the legal and regulatory framework.
We should adopt a territorial approach and promote sustainable local development, giving priority to local markets and resilience and generating employment in post-harvest activities. Identifying and reviewing promising practices and feeding them back into policies and programmes (including removing regulatory and legal obstacles), as well as participatory planning and capacity-building of local institutions will be essential.
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I would like to build upon the contribution of Déborah. In many countries, school canteens fall under the responsibility of municipalities that have therefore acquired and developed significant experience and expertise in this area.
I have been following during the last three years the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact http://www.milanurbanfoodpolicypact.org/ which is providing a forum for the exchange of such experiences. It might be worth linking with that process to check whether some of the lessons learnt would be relevant?
Public procurement for institutional catering (such as home-grown schoold feeding) contributes to improved nutrition healthy in several ways:
- by improving the diets of schoolchildren
by encouraging the production of healthy foods (if possible organic and local), therefore contributing to healthy environments
- by providing markets to, and contributing to livelihoods of small-scale producers as well as to reviving local economies
- by improving food practices and knowledge of children and their families, and therefore of consumers (in combination with appropriate nutrition education and communication)
Networks like WHO’s European Healthy Cities Network http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/environment-and-health/urban-he... and Schools for Health http://www.schools-for-health.eu/she-network could help broaden a much needed interdisciplinary dialogue.
Everywhere in the world, schools are a priviledged entry point for sustainable development and in particular sustainable food systems for health.
Я буду опираться на вклад Деборы. Школьные столовые во многих странах подпадают под ответственность муниципалитетов, которые, в связи с этим, приобрели и нарастили существенный опыт и знания в данной области.
В течение последних трех лет я слежу за Миланским городским пактом в области продовольственной политики http://www.milanurbanfoodpolicypact.org/, который предоставляет форум для обмена опытом в этой области. Возможно, стоит дать ссылку и на этот процесс с тем, чтобы узнать, будут ли некоторые из извлеченных уроков являться актуальными?
Государственные закупки для сферы общественного питания (например, школьное питание местного производства) способствуют более здоровому питанию несколькими способами:
- способствуя улучшению рационов питания школьников
- посредством поощрения производства здоровых продуктов питания (по возможности органических и местных), тем самым способствуя благоприятной окружающей среде
- открывая рынки для мелкомасштабных производителей и способствуя повышению их уровня жизни, а также содействуя оживлению местной экономики
- посредством развития пищевых практик и углубления знаний детей и их семей и, следовательно, потребителей (в сочетании с надлежащим образованием в области питания и распространением информации)
Такие сети, как Европейская сеть «Здоровые города» http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/environment-and-health/urban-he... и «Школы здоровья» http://www.schools-for-health.eu/she-network могут помочь расширить столь необходимый междисциплинарный диалог.
Во всем мире школы являются привилегированной отправной точкой для устойчивого развития и, в особенности, для устойчивых продовольственных систем для здоровья.
Being retired, I am not in the best position to respond to the first two questions but have been very interested in the different contributions. For whatever it is worth, let me raise a few points.
References have been made throughout to sustainable farming systems. I would suggest a twin-track perspective:
- at household/community level, farming systems should be seen in the context of sustainable livelihoods, which should also include off-farm income - in particular food processing, marketing and catering – and migration/remittances.
- at territorial level, we should be looking at sustainable food systems and again farming systems would only be a key element.
Revisiting the existing supply-driven system can only have a limited impact and value chains are only one dimension of food systems. It is urgent to adopt a demand-driven perspective.
When talking of resilience to environmental stressors, we should review systematically indigenous food (farming) systems, which are usually low-input and risk-adverse. « Modern » agriculture techniques have undermined resilience and introduced/increased environmental stresses. These should be identified and removed, and legislation/regulations reviewed accordingly.
It is urgent that scientific research reviews promising local practices via inter-disciplinary teams - including lawyers - and participatory processes with a view to generate practice-based evidence to inform policy. The ten principles identified by IPES-food - http://www.ipes-food.org/images/CoreDocs/IPES-Food_10_principles.pdf - would provide a good basis.
The consultation states clearly that VCs are only one dimension of food systems, which is of course correct, but therefore remains biased towards the classical supply driven approach and risks reinforcing the prevailing confusion between food chains and food systems. The paper should therefore consider providing the rationale and a roadmap for reorienting food systems as an integrating concept for Agenda 2030.
There is now increased awareness that value chains have contributed so far to increased malnutrition through monotonous or unbalanced diets, increased socio-economic differences - and therefore poverty and marginalization – and dependence on food imports, erosion of biodiversity and environmental degradation. There is therefore certainly scope for drastic improvement.
The paper rightly mentions the need to go beyond the economic assessment of VCs. Too often economists keep mentioning food import as the cheapest option. It is urgent to revisit subsidies and incorporate environmental and social costs. Long food chains too often undermine local livelihoods.
Legal and regulatory frameworks need to be reviewed and adapted to integrate human rights. In recent years adoption of locally inappropriate standards, norms and regulations have eroded livelihoods of small-scale producers.
Consumers are not always equipped to adapt to change and make the right food choices. And they are often misinformed through inappropriate marketing. This aspect needs strengthening.
In recent years the promotion of fortified foods for improved nutrition has de facto resulted in marginalizing local food systems and increased cosnumer dependence on imported foods. It is essential that the impact of such VCs on small scale food producers be monitored.
In recent years, spread of hypermarkets and public-private partnerships have resulted in increased concentration of food distribution. And cash transfers have encouraged beneficiaries to change their food practices, in particular through shifting food purchasing from traditional retailers to super markets.
The paper makes no reference to sustainable use of biodiversity (see Bioversity International), retrieval of indigenous knowledge, supporting local products, traditional food systems and value chains. Priority should be given to local markets and short food chains to relocalize diets and food systems. Small-scale food processing is essential for local diets, employment and resilience. While there will always be a need for national, regional and international trade (and in particular fair trade), it is urgent to relocalize agriculture and support local food systems to counterbalance the trends in the last decades.
And last but not least, it is urgent to make an inventory of and review relevant local practices with a view to generate practice-based evidence. Applying the IPES food research principles.
Apologies for not answering the questions but both framework and questions seem geared to justify a narrow set of classical top down interventions.
Thanks for sharing this first draft work programme and congratulations for the progress to date. Considering where nutrition was ten years ago, the change is most appreciated!
I would however like to make a few comments for your consideration.
- Given the mandate of both FAO and WHO, the focus on national policies is logical. But unless we include explicitly the sub-national level we will not be in a position to address sustainably all forms of malnutrition. Promoting coherence of national, regional and international policies across multiple sectors is clearly very important, but coherence is most needed and can best be achieved at local level. One of the priorities of the Decade should therefore be the alignment and joint planning of local strategies for nutrition. Agriculture and health should be supported to jointly take the lead in supporting local governments.
- While bringing together nutrition actors is definitely urgently needed, it is equally urgent that nutrition actors systematically engage in relevant (and/or high profile) development fora and initiatives (e.g. climate change, right to food, urban development/territorial planning …) to add value to the debate and learn from other participants and mainstream nutrition. We need to get out from the ghetto we have contributed to build. Other actors need nutrition as a means to bring together a people-centred, integrated and pro-poor perspective but this awareness needs to be raised on both sides.
- There seems to be a confusion between food system and value chain - I quote A food system approach – from production to processing, storage, transportation, marketing, retailing and consumption –. Food systems should be analysed from the dietary entry point. The prevailing commodity-based approach cannot address complexity.
- Social protection is of course essential but needs to be seen in a broader perspective: why are people in need of social protection and what can be done about it? But also how can social protection measures seek win-win objectives and contribute to sustainable development? (Anecdotal evidence from the Andes mentions the erosion of local food and agriculture systems as beneficiaries switch to supermarket purchasing, while cash vouchers in NYC are linked to local farmers markets).
- Promoting healthy diets is good, but not sufficient. We need to ensure that they are the outcome of sustainable food systems which seek sustainable environmental management and social equity (implementing right to food. promoting youth employment and decent employment). We should therefore move beyond healthy dietary guidelines to sustainable dietary guidelines and from national to local (and when appropriate cross-border) education and communication strategies.
- While nobody can dispute the need for evidence-informed advocacy and communication, the focus on evidence-based nutrition interventions in the last decade has been on academic bio-medical research which neither intended nor is able to address sustainability. It is urgent to identify and review promising practices at local level to inform consumers and nutrition actors.
- Specific attention should be given to the legal and regulatory context: the multiplication of often contradictory rules at local level eventually undermines diet quality, livelihoods, biodiversity and health. This needs to be better understood and rationalized.
While the present interest in nutrition (including the Decade) is most welcome, sustainable responses to all forms of malnutrition will in my view require a local approach involving all actors. The food and health sectors should be held accountable for jointly supporting local authorities to make this happen, and donors to co-fund their efforts.
The illusion that standard interventions can provide a response should not be encouraged any further. Clearly common principles should guide the process of developing and implementing local strategies, but applied to specific contexts will result in local specific and pragmatic strategies, which will draw on the array of tools and interventions developed in the last decades.
There is no question that evidence is needed to help policy-makers make appropriate decisions but this evidence should be practice-based and take on board the experience of local actors. Multi-disciplinary teams from local centers of expertise would be best placed to review and document promising practices and assess their impacts on health, jobs and social equity, diets and environment (the different dimensions of sustainable development).
Regarding funding, local strategies to address all forms of malnutrition would help articulate needs and resources> Relevant government institutions could then explore how best to pool existing resources and ensure convergence of relevant programmes and project, in collaboration with civil society actors. Centers of expertise could reorient their activities to support and learn from local processes. And last but not least the private sector should play an active role in removing constraints and supporting solutions.
One of the challenges to address is the inconsistency, contradictions and asymmetry of laws, regulations and procecdures at local level. Lawyers and institution experts are needed to revisit this context.
Another one is the conflict of interest underlying some of the so-called "nutrition interventions".
As the saying goes, nutrition is way too important to be left to nutritionists, health to health staff and food to the food sector. Unless people and local institutions become real actors in local development processes, it is highly unlikely that the Decade will achieve its intended purposes.
Great contributions so far. Let me add to my initial contribution which aimed to ensure continuity of and synergy between relevant processes. I am surprised that the title of the paper does not explicitly refer to nutrition. Thanks to Eileen for emphasizing that urban–rural linkages are a major determinant of malnutrition in rural areas, I quote:
“In a bid to satisfy urban profitable markets, rural households are left with less nutritious food items or cannot afford food as the pricing is uniform for rural, urban and international buyers – check out available websites for on-line food marketing. Aggressive marketing of food markets in urban areas results in the cultivation of food items geared more towards the needs of the market than food and nutritional needs of people in rural areas.
The success of quinoa means that it has become a commercial food in the Andes and that local consumers cannot afford it any longer.
“Leads to marketing of “global” foods to rural people, especially over-processed food items with hard to comprehend food labels. The result is that rural households abandon familiar foods that previously provided for their nutritional security, for “modern” foods whose nutritional value they do not fully comprehend.” City foods are often perceived as more modern and have gained a status symbol. Since rice is now seen as the staple food in several Western Africa country, people are increasingly reluctant to eat millet or maize. And try petit mil or maize in Haiti… The role of often city-led food imports (like riz brisé in Sénégal) and food aid programmes have resulted in diet distortion and increased vulnerability of both poor producers and consumers in rural and urban areas.
It seems (again from the Andes) that increased use of cash vouchers (e.g. in conditional cash transfer programmes for nutrition) is leading beneficiary households to switch away from local products to buying from local supermarkets. Which undermines the livelihood of local farmers and often results in unhealthy diets. On the other hand cities like New York condition the use of cash vouchers to purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables from farmers markets, benefitting poor consumers health and providing a market to local farmers.
An essential dimension of more sustainable food systems should therefore be locally appropriate nutrition education and communication (promotion of sustainable diets for for both urban and rural consumers). Professor Moya rightly emphasizes the importance of traditional/indigenous rural diets and related food practices.
Dr. Omosa also rightly mentions increase purchase of land (and differences in bargaining power) in rural areas for business purposes. One should also mention recreational purposes (e.g. Cap Skirring in Casamance). And what about national parks?
Dr. Cramer bring up the urgent need to document “non-market oriented, community food production practices in urban and peri-urban areas meant to prevent or avoid food insecurity. Knowledge management to generate practice-based evidence will be key in the development of policy guidance.
Dr. Vethaiya Balasubramanian raises the issue of rural employment. It is indeed essential that we ensure the protection and promotion of jobs and decent employment in rural areas and many of these jobs are related to food and agriculture in the broad sense. Food processing for local markets and commercialisation of niche products, environmental services and ecotourism should be considered alongside smallscale agriculture production.
So much for now. Have a nice day everybody.