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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: Towards a common understanding of Sustainable Food Systems

George Kent
George KentDepartment of Political Science, University of Hawai'iUnited States of America

Alwin Kopse, the facilitator of the consultation on One Planet’s draft on “A Sustainable Food System” said, while the ultimate goal is food security, it will not be achieved while the economic, social and environmental bases for food production and consumption are being compromised. In other words, the shift towards sustainable food systems is a precondition for global food security.”

This appears to be a response to my questioning the high priority placed on the sustainability of food systems, on November 24, available at I would like to clarify my position.

I see sustainability as just one item in the list of desirable qualities in many things. When I buy a car, for example, I would like it to last a long time, but that is just one consideration among many. Sustainability is important in food systems, especially those that function well. However, I don’t see how it is a precondition for global food security.

Attention to sustainability seems to be displacing attention to the need to make serious efforts to end hunger in the world. I have yet to see a serious plan to end hunger, one that can realistically be expected to succeed. I would like to see a more serious commitment to ending hunger in the world. When we design a system that works well for everyone, we can talk about how to sustain it.