Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Call for submissions

How can FAO better support countries in addressing governance of agrifood systems transformation to make them more sustainable, inclusive and resilient?

For some years now, there has been a growing recognition of the urgent need to transform agrifood systems to make them more sustainable, resilient, inclusive, and equitable. 

What do we understand by agrifood systems and a systems approach?

The agri-food system covers the journey of food (for example, cereals, vegetables, fish, fruits and livestock) from farm to table – including when it is grown, harvested, processed, packaged, transported, distributed, traded, bought, prepared, eaten and disposed of. It also encompasses non-food products (for example forestry, animal rearing, use of feedstock, biomass to produce biofuels, and fibres) that also constitute livelihoods and all of the people as well as the activities, investments and choices that play a part in getting us these food and agricultural products.” (nf243en.pdf ( 42nd session of the FAO conference):

Recognizing that systems are made up of a complex set of interrelated components that produce multiple goals, a systems approach helps a diverse set of actors to understand how systems are structured and how they operate. By collectively mapping out its different components, identifying drivers and the connections between them, and setting out possible courses of action, it can help to clarify what are the issues at stake and where decisions need to be taken.

Agrifood systems can play an important role in rescuing and accelerating progress towards the SDGs; sustainable and resilient agrifood systems have enormous potential to positively influence the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. The endorsement by the CFS of the Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition (VGFSN)[1] in 2021 was followed by the convening of the UN Food Systems Summit in September 2021, and more recently, the UN Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking Moment in July 2023. While there seems to be general agreement and consensus on the need to transform agrifood systems to make them more sustainable, resilient, inclusive, and equitable, the policy, legal and governance[2] requirements and implications for countries still need to be better articulated. Decades of development efforts around the world have shown that narrow approaches and technological quick fixes do not work, especially in the long term. Data, technology, and innovation can be a powerful engine to transform agrifood systems, but only when they are accompanied by the right enabling environment and governance system. As the UN Secretary General stated in his report[3], the path towards transformation requires “comprehensive planning, collaboration, and consideration of potential trade-offs, synergies, and international spillovers” and “countries will need to address the resistance and political backlash that may arise against change”. 

In efforts towards a transformation of agrifood systems, some of the main barriers to overcome include the lack of policy coherence and coordination, insufficient capabilities and engagement of key stakeholders, increasing gender inequalities and socio-economic disparities within and among countries and the asymmetry of power and economic interests that are at the core of the political economy and the control of the agrifood system. For example, measures that seek to protect biodiversity and mitigate climate change may affect the rights of those with the lowest incomes and those who depend on natural resources for their livelihoods; measures that seek to combat obesity through stricter regulation may affect the economic interests of private companies that sell ultra-processed products, and a progressive paradigm shift in agricultural production from an external input-dependent agriculture to a more sustainable, less chemical-dependent agriculture that prioritizes the production of more diverse foods for local consumption to meet both livelihood and community nutrition objectives- still seems to run counter to the dominant model. 

Furthermore, in many cases, policies and laws are not aligned with the transformative goals, and not adapted to existing, institutional arrangements, political structures, raising inequalities and capabilities. Yet, these strongly influence the chances for them to be implemented (or not) on the ground and generate desired outcomes.


Corinna Hawkes, Director, Agrifood Systems and Food Safety Division (ESF)

Donata Rugarabamu, Legal Counsel

Stefanos Fotiou, Director, Office of SDGs (OSG)



The above issues influence the FAO’s capacity to appropriately support country-members in the design and implementation of transformative paths towards sustainable agrifood systems. It is therefore key for the Organization to continue to reflect on what it means for it to approach food and agriculture relevant policies as a “system”, rather than as multiple actions towards a common goal.

It is against this background that this online call for submissions is being organized jointly by the Office of SDGs, the Agrifood Systems and Food Safety Division, the Governance and Policy Support Unit, and the Development Law Service, to engage various stakeholders and gather examples of governance-related measures and interventions with transformative impact for agrifood systems

We invite you to provide inputs related to the following kind of measures/interventions:

  • Institutional mechanisms/governance arrangements for systems-oriented ways of working;

  • Measures to align policies and laws with the transformative goals;

  • Budgeting and financing for cross-sectoral work in agrifood systems;

  • Measures to rebalance asymmetries in power and decision-making in the agrifood system, including through gender-responsive and gender-transformative approaches;

  • Measures to redress inequities and inequalities in the agrifood systems;

  • Concrete means and evidence of how the impact of these measures has been measured.

The submissions should look at transformative efforts in the above areas, from an economic, social and environmental perspective, and they should illustrate the way this transformative change[4] has been potentially documented and measured. 

The results emerging from your submissions will contribute to informing FAO’s work with governments and other stakeholders related to policy, law, and governance for more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable agrifood systems. 

Proceedings of the contributions received will be made publicly available on this consultation webpage. Feel free to consult the documentation and resources for more information about agrifood systems transformation in the references.   

The Call for Submissions is open until 1 April 2024.

How to take part in this Call for Submissions

To take part in this Call for submissions, please register to the FSN Forum, if you are not yet a member, or “sign in” to your account. Please download the submission template in any of six UN languages (English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Chinese) and upload the completed form in the box “Post your contribution” on this webpage. Please keep the length of submissions limited to 2,000 words and feel also free to attach relevant supporting materialsFor any technical questions or assistance please contact [email protected].

We thank you in advance for your input and we look forward to learning from your experiences.


Dubravka Bojic, Programme Officer, Governance and Policy Unit (DDCG)

Jose Valls, Policy OfficerESF

Margret Vidar, Legal Officer, Development Law Service (LEGN)

Hajnalka Petrics, Programme Officer, OSG

Olena Ovchynnikova, Technical Officer, OSG

[1] The CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition (VGFSN) were endorsed by CFS session 47 held on 8-11 February 2021. CFS_VGs_Food_Systems_and_Nutrition_Strategy_EN.pdf (

[2] Governance relates to “formal and informal rules, organizations, and processes through which public and private actors articulate their interests and make and implement decisions” ( )

[3] Making food systems work for people and planet UN Food Systems Summit +2 Report of the Secretary-General. p.20. unfss2-secretary-general-report.pdf (

[4] Please note that “transformative change” refers to innovative, pro-active changes away from “business as usual” that merely addresses surface-level issues or symptoms. “Transformative change” results in change in underlying factors and drivers leading to problems addressed. 


  1. CFS, 2023. Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls Empowerment in the Context of Food Security and Nutrition
  2. CFS, 2021. CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition.
  3. FAO, 2018. Transforming Food and Agriculture to Achieve the SDGs. 20 interconnected actions to guide decision-makers.
  4. FAO, 2021. Transforming agri-food systems. Legislative interventions for improved nutrition and sustainability Preliminary version for public consultation.
  5. Bojić, D., Clark, M. and Urban, K. 2022. Focus on governance for more effective policy and technical support. Governance and policy support framework paper. Rome, FAO
  6. Gobena, A. and Vidar, M. 2023. Agriculture and natural resources governance – Legal tools for inclusive and sustainable transformation. Legal Brief, No. 12. Rome, FAO.
  7. FAO. 2023. FAO and the Sustainable Development Goals. Achieving the 2030 Agenda through empowerment of local communities. Rome. FAO. 
  8. UN. 2023. Global Sustainable Development Report 2023. Times of Crisis, Times of Change. Science for Accelerating Transformations to Sustainable Development. UNDESA.

Please read the article of FAO publications on this topic here.


This activity is now closed. Please contact [email protected] for any further information.

* Click on the name to read all comments posted by the member and contact him/her directly
  • Read 89 contributions
  • Expand all

Mr. Julio Prudencio

Investigador independiente afiliado a la Fundación TIERRA y al Instituto de Investigaciones Socioeconómicas de la Universidad Católica de Bolivia
Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
Adjunto en attached mis breves comentarios para su información, solicitándoles que ustedes tengan la gentileza de incorporarlos.
En espera de una respuesta ,
Los saluda. 
Julio Prudencio B.
¿Cómo incorporar eficazmente los costos y beneficios ocultos de los sistemas agroalimentarios a la toma de decisiones para su transformación? 
1. La reforma del modelo de desarrollo agrícola debe ser la primera prioridad, enfatizando/priorizando un modelo de desarrollo que fomente la producción y diversificación interna de alimentos básicos, sanos, ricos en nutrientes y adecuados a los hábitos alimentarios de la población. Esto significa, por otro lado, desplazar el modelo de fomento a las exportaciones de productos que están deforestando por la ampliación de la frontera agrícola; incrementando el uso irracional de agroquímicos (herbicidas-glifosato que contaminan la tierra, el agua, el medio ambiente, matan la biodiversidad entre otros); desplazando en la superficie cultivada a otros cultivos básicos (frutas, hortalizas); y profundizando la extracción de los recursos naturales. 
2. Apoyar un modelo de desarrollo agrícola que sea sostenible con el medio ambiente, sostenible en el tiempo, basado en la agricultura de conservación y la agroecología, para recuperar los recursos/nutrientes de la tierra que están agotados por la sobreexplotación 
3. La asistencia técnica de la FAO debe ir en el sentido anterior, en el modelo de la AC y la Agroecología y no en el sentido de aquellas políticas públicas que fomentan a toda costa las exportaciones (sin que por ello sea malo las exportaciones…de ninguna manera) como la soya transgénica y la expansión de la ganadería (exportaciones de carne de cerdo y vacuna); en desmedro de una producción interna que – a pesar de las adecuadas y diversas condiciones productivas – cada vez pierde más su capacidad de producción interna y autoabastecimiento. 
4. Hay que reorientar el apoyo de la FAO hacia una mayor diversificación productiva; hacia un mayor fortalecimiento en el autoabastecimiento de semillas internas, hacia un incremento de la productividad; hacia el fomento de sistemas agroforestales (combinación de pequeños hatos ganaderos + variedad de cultivos + especies forestales no maderables + conservación de la foresta; y no hacia el incremento de las importaciones legales e ilegales de alimentos que se producen internamente, no hacia políticas públicas coyunturales que sólo tienen como fín la generación de ingresos monetarios a costa del deterioro interno. 
5. La reorientación de la FAO. La FAO ya no debe apoyar políticamente al gobierno de turno y tampoco apoyar a como dé lugar – inclusive destruyendo sistemas productivos como el de la quinua que se basaba en la diversificación productiva; la combinación con la crianza de camélidos y la protección de microclimas - o planteando la producción industrial (monocultivos) de pinos y otros, en la Amazonía, cuando debería hacer esfuerzos por restituir las diversas especies forestales originarias. 
6. Hay propuestas de planes, programas, proyectos para todo el sistema agroalimentario, elaborado en el transcurso de varios años por diversas organizaciones de pequeños y medianos agricultores, gobiernos municipales, ONGs, universidades, centros de investigación, académicos y otros que debe ser revalorizada por la FAO y establecer mecanismos de apoyo técnico y financiero para apoyar las políticas/proyectos establecidas en dichos programas (que incluye redes de coordinación, fuentes de financiamiento, apoyo técnico, apoyo a los costos ocultos de producción, sistemas de comercialización y otros).

Climate change is upon us and poses unprecedented destruction to food systems, escalating the already vulnerable food (in)security generally and in developing countries in particular. Thus, transforming food systems appears the panacea as the transformation will bolster the realization of the potential of agricultural production, distribution, storage, and storage, therefore improving nutrition, food security, and safety, thereby developing nutritious, climate-adapted, and market-driven food systems, which at the end of the day bolsters community resilience and sustainability. Thus, bringing this topic by FAO is timely and relevant. The following can be the avenues through which FAO can better support countries in addressing governance, agrifood systems, and transformation.

 Food production: There is a need to increase food production globally, and the situation in developing countries is particularly dire. Whereas FAO has reported increased food production in recent years, with the global production of primary crop commodities reaching 9.5 billion tonnes in 2021 and an increase of 54 percent since 2000 and 2 percent since 2020, there are also reports of increased hunger globally. For example, FAO reports that 691 and 783 million people faced hunger in 2022. These are worrying figures, given the ever-increasing global population. There is a need to adopt modern technology and science to increase food production, boost food security, and increase the availability of nutritious food varieties.

Storage: Food storage is another area where FAO can support governments. Much food is lost due to poor or non-existent appropriate food storage mechanisms. FAO study estimated that around one-third of the world’s food is wasted annually, which adds up to a staggering 1.3 billion tons, worth almost one trillion US dollars in 2023. These figures are disturbing, given the staggering numbers of people without food. FAO should support governments in building up-to-capacity storage facilities, improving the available mechanisms to increase the shelf life of these food items, and investing in agri-processing industries to boost the storage aspect throughout the agrifood systems.

Food distribution: There is an urgent need to boost the food distribution system so that food can reach all places where it is required in time and enough quantity. FAO emphasizes that food systems should ensure enough nutritious food is available for everyone, whether they live in urban or rural areas or are in poor households. The problem is that food distribution involves other sectors, such as transportation systems such as roads, railways, and air, that may be outside the operation scope of FAO.

Lastly, collaborations and partnerships: It is apparent that global problems have become enormous and complex, and in most cases, multidisciplinary solutions and vast sums of resources are needed. FAO should seek these collaborations with the World Bank, WFP, IMF, ENEP, and other international organizations to ensure resource mobilization, knowledge and skills sharing, and research and innovation. Already, FAO is seen in other such collaborations, such as the Quadripartite collaboration, which includes FAO, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) in the One Health global policy program.

In conclusion, if the four aspects highlighted above can be addressed with robust approaches, agri-food systems are bound to yield to the increasing pressure amidst population explosions and strained economic resources amidst climate chaos that have also been blamed for the deteriorating global food systems.

Dear Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition,

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is thankful for the opportunity to provide input to the call for submissions on “How can FAO better support countries in addressing governance of agrifood systems transformation to make them more sustainable, inclusive and resilient?” . IFT is a global organization of approximately 11,000 members who are committed to advancing the science of food. We believe food science and technology solutions can help enable biodiversity and contribute to a sustainable, safe, and nutritious food system. Please find our submission attached.


Institute of Food Technologists

  1. Auteur de la proposition (nom/institution/unité)

M. Raugathe Crucis Arcturus BOULINGUI/ O.N.G./RADDEV


2. Titre de l'exemple présenté et type d'intervention/mesure de transformation liée à la gouvernance (politique, juridique, institutionnelle, financière...)

Action en garantie de la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle et de la restauration de la mangrove MAZRA de la ville de Pointe-Noire


3. Lieu de l'intervention/mesure de transformation (mondial/régional/national/infranational ; urbain/rural)

Mangrove MAZRA située à la cote atlantique de Pointe-Noire (Congo)/ CCNUCC; Accord de Paris; Convention de RAMSAR/ Loi 003-91 portant Protection de l’environnement


4. Quel aspect, problème ou défi du système agroalimentaire était visé par l'intervention/mesure transformatrice?  

Rendre résilient des communautés maraîchères contre les effets négatifs dus à leur délocalisation occasionnée d’une part, par  l’extension du domaine portuaire et d’autre part, par le  besoin de restaurer et maintenir la Mangrove. 


5. Quel impact sur la transformation l'intervention/la mesure cherchait-elle à obtenir (y compris en ce qui concerne les trois piliers de la durabilité)?  

Sur le plan social, l’intervention consiste à améliorer et rendre durable les conditions de vie à l’endroit des communautés maraîchères et pecheures tout en leur encourageant à se regrouper en coopérative.

Sur le plan économique, l’intervention vise à lutter contre la pénurie en approvisionnement des denrées alimentaires (légumes, poissons) sur les marchés locaux. Donc, leurs cultures et leurs conditions de vie se doit être pérenne.

Sur le plan environnemental, l’intervention visant la délocalisation des communautés sur cet écosystème a pour première motivation d’empêcher la migration des poissons par le fait des mauvaises pratiques de l’agriculture relatives à l’emploi des engrais industriels qui atteignent l’océan par l’infiltration des cours d’eaux s’y déversent. La deuxième est la protection de la Mangrove contre l’usage abusif de ces produits ( paléthuviers) par les pêcheurs les employant pour fumer les poissons.

Enfin, la dernière est le plus délicat celui visant à empêcher l’extension du domaine portuaire pour des fins économiques.  


6. Quel a été l'impact obtenu dans la pratique? 

L’intervention est en cours d’exécution


7. Quel a été le changement transformateur résultant de l'intervention ou de la mesure?  a) données et preuves recueillies, b) moyens concrets de mesurer, c) acteurs impliqués)

Aucun jusqu’à présent


8. Quels ont été les principaux défis et compromis relevés et comment une mesure/intervention a-t-elle réussi à produire des bénéfices connexes et des synergies [en assurant la durabilité économique, environnementale et sociale (y compris l'égalité des genres)] plutôt que de favoriser une option par rapport à l'autre? 

L’un des principaux défis relevés est de faire participer les différentes communautés à l’action visée par la mesure celle relative au reboisement de la Mangrove, un moyen de les sensibiliser et de les impliquer à l’atteinte des objectifs de développement durable et la protection de la cote.


9. Qui étaient les acteurs clés et les parties prenantes impliqués dans la conception et la mise en œuvre de l'intervention/des mesures en question, et quels étaient leurs rôles respectifs et leurs capacités de pouvoir et d'influence? 

En dehors de l’auteur de la proposition, je suis assisté par l’organe technique de la direction départementale de l’agriculture et la mairie de la ville de Pointe-Noire que je prévoit de contacter et soumettre les termes de référence, de la direction départementale du commerce, de la direction départementale des Eaux et forêts, de la pêche    et de l’environnement  et la direction départementale des affaires foncières d’une part et les terriens de l’autre. 


10. Certains de ces acteurs et parties prenantes clés se sont-ils opposés ou ont-ils manifesté une résistance à l'intervention transformatrice envisagée?  Dans l'affirmative, quelles en étaient les principales motivations et les principaux intérêts, et comment cette résistance a-t-elle été abordée et comment ont été traitées les capacités d'exercer un pouvoir et une influence? 

La résistance s’est manifesté au sein du groupe des terriens voyant dans l’intervention un moyen de perdre leurs droits de propriété sur leurs terres.


11. Dans quelle mesure cette mesure de transformation contribue-t-elle à l'amélioration des moyens de subsistance des plus démunis et comment favorise-t-elle la mise en place d'un système alimentaire plus favorable à l'intégration? 

L’intervention n’étant pas complètement mis en œuvre, il n’est point aisé de juger de l’amélioration apportée par la mesure


12. Quels ont été les moyens utilisés pour démontrer les changements positifs intervenus dans les secteurs les plus défavorisés de la population, et quels mécanismes de suivi et de responsabilisation ont été mis en place pour garantir une mise en œuvre adéquate? 

Aucune intervention jusque là accomplie


13. Les principaux enseignements qui peuvent être tirés de votre cas (tant positifs que négatifs) et si ceux-ci sont applicables dans d'autres contextes présentant des caractéristiques similaires

Aucune intervention à ce niveau


14. Au vu de votre expérience, quelles sont les lacunes/domaines d'amélioration qui subsistent et qui requièrent de plus amples actions? 

Droit foncier/ Urbanisme/ Protection de l’environnement et de la biodiversité


15. Quels sont les principaux messages/retombées de cette intervention/mesure? 


16. N'hésitez pas à partager des liens pertinents vers les ressources et la documentation relatives à votre intervention. 

Santosh Kumar Mishra

Population Education Resource Centre, Department of Lifelong Learning and Extension

Dear Madam/Sir,

Find attached my inputs for online discussion on: How can FAO better support countries in addressing governance of agrifood systems transformation to make them more sustainable, inclusive and resilient? The attached MS Word file runs in 9 pages. I trust that the FAO Forum Team will find my contributions meaningful.

I look forward to collaborating with the FAO Forum Team at Rome, Italy in future occasions. 


With compliments,

Dr. Santosh Kumar Mishra (Ph. D.) | He/His

Independent Researcher (Scholar): Retired from the Population Education Resource Centre, Department of Life Long Learning and Extension, S. N. D. T. Women’s University, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India (

Dear FSN-Moderator: Kindly help us to publish the following in response to the call on agrifood systems transformation; 

"In response to the current call on agrifood systems transformation, we would like to direct the readers to our multidisciplinary approach to improve food safety, productivity and nutrition security highlighted by Agrilink USAID ( and comments in FAO-FSN Forum on best practices and scalable solutions for the integration of biodiversity into agriculture ("


Dahal et al. 

Peetambar Dahal, PhD

Subject Matter Expert (Food Loss and Waste Cohort 5)

Seed Scientist (Retd.), University of California, Davis, USA

Former Coordinator of NRNA Americas to Agri Promotion Committee; Asta-Ja RDC-USA; Nepalese Agricultural Professional Association  (NAPA), USA