FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

New FAO report on the outcomes of the United Nations Food Systems Summit in Europe and Central Asia calls for new and agile actions for agrifood systems transformation

A baker removes loaves of freshly-baked bread from an oven at a bakery in Rome.

©© FAO/Alessia Pierdomenico


This report is helpful to inform national governments and food system stakeholders in Europe and Central Asia, finding common priority issues and framing regional-level discussions. It can be an essential reading, as part of the countries’ preparations for the first  UN Food Systems Stocktake Moment, next 24-26 July 2023.

Agrifood systems across the region vary markedly in many aspects such as – development status, natural resource availability and structural characteristics.  They are also subject to many of the same pressures. Rural-to-urban migration and a rural–urban social divide overexploitation of resources, unsustainable farming practices; climate change; a burgeoning triple burden of malnutrition food insecurity and conflict are common challenges across all settings.

In 2021, the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) accentuated the message that the transformation of sustainable agrifood systems is key to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. Countries in the region are following up on the national UNFSS dialogues, assessing how to implement the National Pathways, how to adjust them to respond to new challenges, and prepare for the UNFSS Stocktaking Moment, that will take place next 24 −26 July 2023  at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) headquarters in Rome.

Just released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)’s Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia with collaboration from The Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, the report, Outcomes of the United Nations Food Systems Summit in Europe and Central Asia - a stocktake, synthesizes evidence and experiences and forges new insights for food system transformation in the region.

The report analyzes the experiences of eleven countries, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Serbia, Tajikistan, Türkiye, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.

Key findings. Tracking the performance of food systems in the ECA region

Food systems transformation requires new and better solutions at all scales. This report identifies six regional priority areas for progress that emerged during the UNFSS dialogues:

  1. Managing resources sustainably and responsibly
  2. Improving food safety and quality
  3. Empowering and enabling small-scale producers
  4. Delivering nutrition-security
  5. Empowering women and attracting young talents
  6. Mitigating and adapting to climate change

The Stocktake report looks at broader dimensions of regional food systems transformation and highlights some key elements related to the main commonalities and divergencies with EU countries.  Given the complex and nuanced subregional and subnational dynamics even within countries, tailored approaches to the implementation of National Pathways based on local needs are called for.

The importance of policy coherence and regional cooperation

Two core principles will guide countries in the region in the preparation for the first Stocktaking Moment. First, a recognition of the multidimensionality of the food system and of the importance of adopting a truly holistic approach to food-related policy; and second, a prioritization on nurturing collaboration, cooperation and coordination of shared food systems transformation enablers such as finance, trade, data and skill enhancement across national, regional and global levels 

As highlighted in the report, greater alignment of national strategies for food systems transformation with those for economic development, climate mitigation, public health and energy – among others – has the potential to yield significant co-benefits both to the food system agenda and to wider national policy priorities, in line with the 2030 Agenda.

The UNFSS has created a framework for longer- term cooperation among countries on food systems transformation. Ongoing dialogue at national, regional and multilateral levels will be crucial to supporting this cooperation, and dialogues held in preparation for the UNFSS already present a number of promising opportunities for the exchange of knowledge and best practices which, if seized, could accelerate progress in the ECA countries.

21 April 2023, Budapest, Hungary


Mary Kenny
Food safety and quality officer