Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Anne W. Kepple

  1. Do you think that this framework addresses the key issues of FSN?
  • I welcome and strongly support the importance attributed to agency and sustainability and the recognition that they must be elevated in conceptual and policy frameworks.  However, I feel they are cross-cutting to the existing dimensions, much as stability is cross-cutting. 
  • One humble suggestion:  consider changing “agency” to “power dynamics” or “power/agency”, because that is really what is it about – attention to imbalances in power across the food system. It is not just about improving the agency of “disadvantaged individuals and communities”. I recognize that this language may be a bit more difficult to get consensus on, however.
  • Box 1 needs revision – in particular, the “utilization” and “stability” dimensions. One source: glossary of the 2019 SOFI (p. 186) ( The utilization dimension has always been particularly problematic, confusing and misunderstood. I actually favor moving away from the “4 dimensions” of food security altogether toward a new conceptual framework, but that is likely beyond the scope of the report.
  • Also in Box 1, agency goes far beyond food preferences and free choice as to what foods people eat (which also appears in the text below the table)! 
  • Regarding Figure 1, I see no need for this mapping, which tends to force correspondences in a way that distorts the meanings.
  1. Do you think that the analysis of the evolution of conceptual approaches and thinking on FSN clearly addresses its current adequacy to meet the SDG2 targets?
  • While the description of the evolution is generally correct, adjustments are needed. The shift in focus away from quantity of food produced occurred nearly half a century ago, not “recently”; and it shifted to inequalities in ACCESS to the abundance of food available.
  • Table 1 needs revision. Rather than transformation to “improve quality of food and its production” I suggest “to promote sustainable healthy diets”. The narrative in part i, p. 13 also requires editing by technical experts. Consider adding to the “New thinking” the importance of agency and sustainability!
  • Care must also be taken with the language around hunger, caloric deficits and malnutrition.  Hunger and caloric deficits are associated with certain forms of malnutrition, but they are not forms of malnutrition in themselves.
  • I fully support moving away from the “one-size-fits-all” view but caution against going too much in the other direction. It is important to give visibility to the common underlying drivers at the regional and global levels.
  • Why the use of the term “agriculture and food systems” throughout the draft?  Agriculture is part of food systems.
  1. Do you think that trends identified are the key ones in affecting FSN outcomes today that might help explain stalled progress on meeting SDG2 targets? Do you have additional data or information that could help refine the analysis of the interplay between these trends and FSN outcomes?

Yes, I think the draft identifies the main trends. I suggest that the 14 trends and challenges be incorporated better into Box 2.

However two things are needed:

  1. Greater conceptual clarity – e.g. a conceptual framework that helps readers understand the inter-connections and complexity.  
  2. More mention of tools/metrics and data that provide the needed evidence for monitoring and policy guidance.
  1. Are the set of case studies appropriate in terms of the dimension chosen and regional balance? Can you suggest further case studies that could help to enrich and strengthen the report? Do you agree that the selected examples are among the most promising potential pathways to achieve FSN targets toward 2030? Do you have other good practices and examples of policy and interventions that could accelerate progress towards SDG2 along the six identified dimensions?

I cannot respond fully to this now but our team in ESS may be able to contribute additional case studies.  Certainly the example of the (now extinct) National Food Security and Nutrition System in Brazil should be highlighted.

  1. Are there any major omissions or gaps in the V0 draft? Are topics under-or over-represented in relation to their importance? Are there any redundant facts or statements that could be eliminated from the V0 draft (especially considering the CFS request for a concise report)? Are any facts or conclusions refuted, questionable or assertions with no evidence-base?
  • In the Introduction, the language is too sensationalistic in my opinion and there is a need for some fact-checking and adjustments to language by content experts – e.g. I am unaware of evidence of “staggering increases in micronutrient malnutrition” (and the correct term is micronutrient deficiencies). Good sources of accurate use of language and information on trends in hunger, food insecurity and nutrition include the State of Food Security and Nutrition (SOFI) reports and the Global Nutrition Reports.
  • I am unaware of evidence to support these two statements on p. 19:  “This increased demand for prepackaged and processed foods has important implications for health and for food systems, especially as imported staple food may be more available and demanded than traditional ones in urban areas. While urban populations suffer less undernutrition than rural populations, they are typically more affected by obesity.” The first part of the first sentence is well-founded, but the second part of the sentence does not follow and is not well-founded.
  • Section 3.8 on p. 24 requires major editing. It shows a misunderstanding of what is meant by “moderate food insecurity” and confuses undernutrition with undernourishment. Micronutrient deficiencies are not synonymous with poor diet quality – they are a potential outcome. This section should also mention double-duty actions to address all forms of malnutrition: