Продовольственные системы

FAO Experts Collaborating with Universities to School the Next Generation


Food systems experts from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the University of Pennsylvania shared insights on the critical challenges facing the global food system and spoke about the work being done to support its sustainable transformation and progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals during a meeting on May 30, 2023 at FAO headquarters.

The session was part of the University of Pennsylvania’s Organizational Dynamics program, under Professor Steven Finn’s course entitled “Global Collaboration for Sustainability: The Food-Water-Energy Nexus in Italy.” FAO, as a leading organization in the center of the food systems conversation, is uniquely placed to provide the next generation of leaders with the concepts and tools they need to succeed. Current challenges facing the food system include population growth, urbanization, changing consumption patterns, and climate change, which are shaping the way food is produced, distributed and consumed. Moreover, COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine have shown just how vulnerable food systems can be.

The food system is the world’s largest economic system, measured in terms of employment, livelihoods, and planetary impact. Food systems touch on almost all of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), either directly or indirectly

FAO experts explained the importance of using a food systems approach. The food systems approach recognizes the interconnections between the chain of activities; elements, entities, institutions, and the people involved; and the economic, political, environmental, health, and the social impacts of such activities.

Siobhan Kelly, an Agribusiness Economist in the Food Safety and Food Systems division, laid out the challenges inherent in the food system and how multistakeholder collaboration is imperative to have policy coherence and drive solutions.

Manas Puri and Ana Kojakovic, Energy Team, from FAO’s Office of Climate Change, Environment and Biodiversity gave an indepth presentation on the food-water-energy nexus and how countries tend to develop policies in these areas separately and therefore miss opportunities to better understand trade-offs and synergies. Climate change can affect the availability of water and renewable energy and the production of food. This nexus can be part of climate change mitigation efforts and should be taken into consideration when planning and policy making.

Professor Steve Finn outlined specific challenges facing the United States in addressing food loss and waste because of cultural traditions and mores. He also noted that food waste and loss were not yet considered in the design of products but that there is renewed attention to this matter in the country and optimism around the power of the narrative to compel consumers and governments to understand that there is no planet B.

Graduate students demonstrated their keen interest and knowledge with respect to the challenges the food system faces and the opportunities it holds for solutions to those same problems, commenting and enquiring about a range of topics from financing change, the best entry points for leveraging stakeholders to drive change, and the role of regional policy in accelerating change at the national level.

This event is one of a number of events that FAO has been doing with universities around the world in the lead up to the Stocktaking Moment scheduled for 24-26 July 2023 in Rome. The stocktaking moment is the first official two year follow-up to the United Nations Food Systems Summit held in September 2021.