Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Member profile

Dr. Florence Egal

Organization: Food Security and Nutrition expert
Country: Italy
I am working on:

household food security, nutrition, sustainable livelihoods, local food systems, rural-urban linkages

Florence has been working with FAO in Food Security, Nutrition and Livelihoods until she retired as senior officer in 2013 and was actively engaged with the Rome-based Climate Study Circle. She is a member of the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition Climate Change and Nutrition e-group

Facilitator of

This member contributed to:

    • Congratulations for a great zero draft. As for all “emerging” topics, HLPE reports are logically limited by the fact that available research has not been addressing them so far in a comprehensive way (which is why we definitely need to take stock of the State of the art but also to explicitly acknowledge gaps and limitations and needs for further research). It would be useful to relate this work to the work previously carried out by the CFS (OEWG Urbanization, Rural Transformation and Implications for Food Security and Nutrition), but also to the series of side events related to CFS, HLPF, UNFSS1and UNFSS2?

      I would be happy to expand and discuss on the following issues if relevant

      1.     Conceptual framework

      Paradoxically I believe the approach followed is 1/ too urban centered and 2/ too SDG2 related for the CFS at this point in time.

      The transformation of food systems is now acknowledged as a concrete means to bring together several SDGs. Nature-based solutions have been identified as an important dimension of sustainability and multi-level governance as a key issue. It is time to revisit development from a geographical perspective and reposition cities as key actors in sustainable territorial development and localization of SDGs.

      Such an approach would in my view be more acceptable to both CFS members and the wider food and agriculture world, most of which have been reluctant so far to address urban issues, as they felt it would further increase the perceived bias towards urban areas and accelerate the marginalisation of rural areas. If instead we start framing the problem within an accountability perspective in which cities become responsible for more functional urban rural linkages, this could generate a behaviour change but also help to link the food security and nutrition agenda with other major agendas, such as climate change, social justice or more generally SDG localization.  

      We should follow our environment colleagues and adopt a territorial or biogeographical perspective (usually cross-border) in which cities play a key role rather than food sheds that are by definition urban-geared and accelerate bias.

      2.     The six dimensions of food security:

      As FAO staff member from 1990 to 2013, I witnessed the evolution from national food security to the three pillars, then the addition of the 4th one and since I retired the further addition of two more. This in my view reflected the internal and external evolution of food and agriculture partners and theories (including governments, donors and academia) and the tensions within different technical approaches  often within the same organization. And then we spent most of a much needed energy to retrofit reality into a mould which has no logical basis, at the same time pushing development actors to accept the same mould.  So no I do not think this is of much use and if we could stop adding more and more jargon which needs to be translated and explained across cultures, we could have a chance to get more people around the table.

      3.     Issues which would deserve more attention

      The draft report should in my view pay more attention to right to food, social justice and environment (including recent CoPs on biodiversity and climate change). Cities and local governments were quite active and written material could be relevant.

       At a time when cities are besieged and their inhabitants are food insecure and malnourished, the report should definitely include a section on conflict.  Some information can be found at

      It might also be worth looking at culture, as food is a fundamental dimension of culture and cities are engaged in a variety of cultural initiatives, networks and programmes/projects.

      The report mentions secondary cities. Increasing attention has been given lately to small and intermediary cities (e.g. OECD, UCLG). Is this the same?   

      On more specific issues, the attention provided by the report to short food chains and markets is most appreciated. Re. wholesale markets, land costs are becoming a major issue worldwide and the whole distribution systems is in transition with the development of e-commerce.  Work on street foods (local and convenience foods) and the informal sector could add to this issue. Re. supermarketisation, it would be interesting to document the outcome of cash voucher programmes on purchasing practices and nutritional content of foods. The promotion of  green leafy vegetables in Kenyan Ushumi supermarkets (Bioversity International) or of pre-cooked quinoa in Perú would constitute interesting examples of promotion of traditional foods.  

      Urban agriculture is also playing a key role in re-linking urban populations with nature.

      More attention could be given to collective restauration: public procurement is one of the tools cities can use to transform food systems (and generate behaviour change) but the private sector (food services, HORECA…) are also active urban players.

      Another issue is that of solidarity networks and urban-rural linkages, which as far as I know have not been explicitly researched and documented. For example strong linkages exist between urban households and communities of origin. Villagers send to their families in town (fresh) agricultural products and fuelwood. Urban families in exchange send sugar, flour, salt and other food products during the hungry season. This is particularly the case for rural-urban migrants and indigenous people .

      Not enough attention to solidarity networks or related initiatives. The comedores populares movement in Latin America are a key example of women’s empowerment.  

      The legal and regulatory challenges go far beyond taxation issues.


      4.     Additional references

      The team may have already reviewed and regarded the following documents or links

      ·      Promises and Challenges of the informal food sector in developing countries

      ·      On Street foods









    • Thanks for this opportunity to contribute. As you well know, this is a topic I have been involved for decades including in the OEWG on Urbanisation and Rural Transformation. While I understand the trade offs that lead to the title of a HLPE report,  the terminology urban and per-urban food systems is in my view too restrictive in the present global development agenda context (human rights, climate, health, conflict, energy, food, connectivity, mobility, natural resources management, e.g. biodiversity etc.). The time has finally come to reorient our work in the context of integrated territorial development and urban rural partnerships, food systems being clearly a major entry point.

      1. Do you find the proposed scope comprehensive to analyse and discuss the key issues concerning the role of urban and peri-urban food systems in achieving food security and nutrition? Are there any major gaps or omissions?

      The present document is in my view biased to local food supply and short value chains. This is of course crucial but the report should adopt a broader perspective. The “territorial dimension of food systems for the realisation of the human right to food” is indeed essential.

      The rationale should be expanded:

      • It should bring out the impact of present urban food systems (which usually rely on imports) on surrounding rural areas and resulting temporary or permanent rural-urban migration.
      • Rural areas can indeed provide local foods in season but also environmental services (water, clean air), renewable energy and leisure, all of which are directly or indirectly related to food
      • The recent COVID crisis has raised awareness of the importance of rural areas for more healthy and affordable lifestyles. Clearly youth will go on migrating to cities in search of employment and socialisation but older people in many parts of the world either stayed or are returning to rural areas.
      • One of the obstacles to sustainable territorial development is the inadequacy of the existing legal and regulatory framework (in particular regarding the informal sector).
      • The need for an inter-sectoral approach is well taken, but health and social protection seems to be missing?

      2. Good practices and successful experiences

      Catering, and in particular collective catering (both public – e.g. school canteens - and private – e.g. enterprise catering), can and is playing a key role in reorienting diets, providing markets to family agriculture, strengthen local food processing, minimise waste and packaging etc. and overall reviving local economies.  

      There should be explicit mention of e-commerce.


      Kindly include Urban-rural linkages: Guiding Principles- Framework for Action to Advance Integrated Territorial Development

      You may also want to check the following documents, which were elaborated in preparation of the 2021UN FSS

      Other comments

      Given the key role of conflicts in food insecurity , both international and internal conflicts should definitely be mentioned. But if this report is meant for a world audience, explicit reference to the war in Ukraine should be removed. As an African colleague of mine once told me, I could not possibly share this with counterparts in Haiti, Syria or Afghanistan…

      Looking forward to the V0 version...


    • Thanks for sharing this very interesting draft on a very timely topic. And for the great comments.

      In many ways the V0.draft echoes past literature on poverty. And as for poverty, the issue is not only economic. At a time so much attention is given to sustainable development and complexity, an integrated – and therefore local specific - approach is essential as the social and cultural (including psychological) dimension is key.

      In my experience, understanding the causes of malnutrition at local level gives a concrete idea of what are local inequalities and inequities (and related indicators). This kind of inter institutional and participatory/approach can be revisited/adapted as it aims to generate a common vision and set the basis of a common strategy

      Looking at inequalities and inequities cannot be limited to a national approach. Local-global linkages are essential to appropriate governance Territorial approaches (usually cross-border) and rural-urban linkages, with specific attention to seasonal or permanent migration, are key. Decent work and Living Incomes and Wages also require priority attention

      Ensuring that “no one is left behind” in the necessary participatory governance process is essential but requires sensitive approaches: in most societies, bringing together village people and local authorities is a challenge, and expecting women to function on equal terms in public meetings is unrealistic. Migrants are usually ignored and the “poorest of the poor” have no say. Civil society (in particular confessional or caritative organizations) can play a mediator/ambassador role.

      It is urgent to insist from the start on the fact that food insecurity, climate change, health, finance are not separate issues but overlapping dimensions of a complex crisis generated by an unsustainable economic model. This report should therefore seek synergies with relevant processes to avoid consolidating existing gaps, misunderstandings, duplication and waste of resources, e.g. - tab=tab_1.

      In more general terms, it is surprising that so little mention is made of the work carried out during the preparation of the UN Food Systems Summit, which involved scientists and experts. Like in many scientific publications, jargon remains prominent (the effort to explain the different terms is most appreciated but should probably be put in an annex). It is regrettable that in the academic world (in developed countries?) more attention seems to be given to generate “new” concepts rather than seek to build and disseminate a common and widely understandable vision. The four pillars of food security were already bad (as they reflected conflicting and unresolved institutional policy  positions) and should have fallen into oblivion but now we have six pillars, and I still believe the term of agency introduces additional confusion at a time when people had finally understood empowerment.

      I would be happy to clarify any of the above issues as I have voluntarily summarised them.



    • Thank you for this opportunity to contribute to a most interesting process. 

      General comments :

      In the context of Agenda 2030, we cannot afford to loose any more time. Limiting the VGs to healthy diets (e.g. para 18 p.4), rather than sustainable diets means we are missing a major opportunity to explicitly address livelihoods and environmental issues. Sustainable food systems should be designed to deliver sustainable diets; and sustainable diets can provide the entry point to reorient failing food systems

      What do we intend by evidence-based practice? For decades «evidence-based in the nutrition world has been equated to biomedical research. We need - and lack – practice-based evidence on successful practices at local/territorial level.

      Catering should be explicitly mentioned as it is a key source of livelihoods, in particular for women and youth, it influences people’s diets (chefs are playing a key role in promoting diets), and together wih public procurementy, it provides an excellent entry point to integrate relevant food supply chains (see para 29., p. 6)

      In the guiding principles, we may want to make more explicit reference to governance. In this perspective the work carried out on urban-rural linkages and territorial approaches could be useful.

      On section III, we should not parcel out the food systems approach into three “constituent elements” (i.e. sub-systems which are actually not even complementary). This will eventually allow institutions to remain within their comfort zones and pay lip service to the need for an integrated vision (as has been the case for decades). We should avoid introducing and/or supporting yet more jargon and potentially confusing concepts (e.g. food environment)

      It is regrettable that the importance of a territorial (bio-regional) approach and related traditional diets for sustainable food systems is not acknowledged. The importance of local markets as a key element of local economies should be spelt out.

      Food safety and quality standards, and related legal and regulatory tools and procedures should be reviewed in terms of local relevance and impact on sustainable development (including environment and social justice)

      The work carried out by the CFS in other work areas (e.g. on the Urbanization and Rural Transformation working group) could provide useful insights.


      Specific comments

      I 1 para 6 p. 2

      This paragraph should come higher up: understanding the causes of malnutrition is essential to understanding food systems and provide a planning basis.

      What about inadequate food–related practices (not limited to child feeding)? Changes in such practices are often responsible for changes in nutritional status.

      P. 7, para 32 : according to this definition contaminated foods could contribute to healthy diets?

      P. 8, para 36

      b/ Sustainable development can best be addressed at local/territorial level. The order should be reversed with national and international institutions explicitly facilitating local action

      c/ the present focus on « healthy diet , healthy planet » by and large disregards the social dimension, which is essential to sustainable development

      e/ should aim to sustainable dietary practices and start with consumers. Only a demand driven approach can help correct the dysfunctions generated by the classical supply-driven approach

      g/ capacity building should explicitly mention interdisciplinary (in particular food and health) and inter-institutional collaboration

      p. 10, para 43,

      this looks very much so far as a business-as-usual shopping list (and this is probably unavoidable if we keep these three distinct sections)

      f/ the title should be reworded: schools have a key role to play to promote sustainable diets and sustainable food systems, this of course is not limited to production.

      I of course remain available for any clarification or further discussion.

    • First of all, congratulations for a  huge undertaking. A few points/comments (which I would be happy to clarify further):

      A. I would suggest that sustainable diets be used as an entry point to discuss sustainable food systems. People do not eat commodities, and value chains only contribute to specific elements of a diet. We certainly need to have more sustainable value chains but only once we have a clear understanding of what should be a locally appropriate sustainable – and therefore seasonal - diet.

      Traditional diets were traditionally associated to a large extent with local food systems, this is not the case any longer given the growing disconnect generated by the commodification and standardization of foods and the bias towards international trade. In that perspective, the reference to the Mediterranean diet is well appreciated but reflects traditional food systems in the Mediterranean bioregion (see below). Nordic chefs tried to adapt it and ended up with the new Nordic cuisine. The traditional Corean diet is the basis for healthy diets in Seoul, etc… It is important to understand indigenous diets (and related food systems, see <>) and revisit them on the basis of relevant scientific knowledge.

      B Territorial approaches are mentioned in the paper. They are well suited to operationalize complex concepts such as sustainability (which brings together economic, social and environmental dimensions). This should therefore come much earlier in the draft. Maybe this document could be of use? <>

      The role of cities in driving territorial food systems and the need to improve urban-rural linkages are important dimensions of territorial approaches.

      The paper refers to agroecological zones. We may want to add the concept of bioregions (A bioregion is a land and water territory whose limits are defined not by political boundaries, but by the geographical limits of human communities and ecological systems), which also brings in the human dimension. Interesting food system research (including prospective studies) use this concept as a basis, e.g. <>. Bioregions are usually subnational and often cross-border) which emphasizes the importance of local food governance.

      C. Social sustainability should not be limited to « broad-based benefits for society ». it should not undermine culture, and should build upon social structures and traditional solidarity mechanisms. It would be important to further emphasize participation of people and institutions and give more attention to human rights (including the right to food, which provides a solid conceptual basis for social sustainability of food systems). We could also refer to the Agenda 2030 slogan « Leave no one behind »

      On Fig 2 , any way we could have eco-social development at the top for a change? :-)

      The paper refers to « traditional power dynamics » p. 14 . The word “traditional” may need to be clarified. Are we talking of political economy?

      P. 41 on research and innovation, I am surprised there is no reference to the IPES-food work – in particular <> Priority should be given to generation and sharing of practice-based evidence, through knowledge management of promising practices and research action.

      A precondition for sustainable food system is the revision of the legal and regulatory framework to provide an enabling environment. This dimension is missing.

      The reference to urban and periurban agriculture (UPA) should be framed within an urban food system framework. Its role should not be limited either to food production since it usually also plays important social and environment roles.

      I may have missed it but did not find in the sources any reference to the IPES-food work? <>

    • Let me share a few considerations, which I realize are fairly simplistic and not very original. By and large, plantation systems have drastically changed SIDS initially subsistence-based economies. Plantation workers and their households became increasingly dependent on imported foods and progressively abandoned traditional foods and local varieties. The environment impact of plantations was not factored in and local communities lost access to land.

      As a result, SIDS now face all forms of malnutrition (and in particular diet-related non-communicable diseases), the environment is degraded and biodiversity eroded, communities are disempowered and poverty is on the rise. Tourists are fed imported foods and it is difficult to find local fruits in market or supermarkets. And in isolated islands in the South Pacific when the boat does not come, food insecurity becomes a problem. Water levels rise and hurricanes and cyclones are on the increase

      Re-localizing food systems, including sustainable management of local biodiversity (often more resilient to prevailing climate hazards), in order to make best use of the island natural resources and revive local food cultures, seems an obvious starting point to shorten food chains and diversify diets, facilitating consumer access to and supplying local markets with fresh and micro-nutrient rich foods and identifying and promoting niche (and organic/seasonal?) products, to provide job and employment all along the food chain, contribute to local economies and overall contributing to SIDS resilience.

    • I have read with interest the contributions and attempted to answer the questions. Apologies if this is off track. In general I am missing a chronological/historical perspective at local level: when did extreme poverty appear? why? how did people attempt to cope?

      1.     Under what conditions can agriculture succeed in lifting people out of extreme poverty? Particularly those households with limited access to productive resources.

      Two questions:

      • What do we mean by agriculture? If we include food processing, marketing and catering, but also eco-system services, eco-tourism etc, we stand a much better chance to improve the livelihoods of extremely poor households – in particular those with limited access to productive resources - and to contribute to sustainable local development
      • Who are the extremely poor people? Smallholder farmers who have fallen in destitution – often because they have lost their access to productive resources -, landless labourers, migrants from rural areas? Or people who have never been involved in agriculture before but re-engage in agriculture-related social and economic activities (e.g. community gardens, social and solidarity economy)?

      2.    What is the role of ensuring more sustainable natural resource management in supporting the eradication of extreme poverty?

      The productivist approach to agriculture development and the economic model which have been promoted in the last decades have often ignored sustainability and led to the degradation of natural resources (soil, water, forests, biodiversity) but also to the marginalization of vulnerable households, increased socio-economic differentiation and disruption/erosion of traditional social networks.  Social and environmental issues are closely related. Agenda 2030 can only be reached if we ensure that the social, environmental and economic dimensions of development are jointly addressed.

      4.    What set of policies are necessary to address issues connecting food security and extreme poverty eradication in rural areas?

      I am not sure why we should limit ourselves to rural areas. Food insecurity and extreme poverty exist in urban areas and in a context of accelerated - transitory and permanent - migration, it is increasingly difficult – and counter-productive - to draw the line.

      We should first identify the policies responsible for increased food insecurity and poverty at territorial level, modify them and proceed with the necessary adaptation of the legal and regulatory framework.

      We should adopt a territorial approach and promote sustainable local development, giving priority to local markets and resilience and generating employment in post-harvest activities.  Identifying and reviewing promising practices and feeding them back into policies and programmes (including removing regulatory and legal obstacles), as well as participatory planning and capacity-building of local institutions will be essential.







      I would like to build upon the contribution of Déborah. In many countries, school canteens fall under the responsibility of municipalities that have therefore acquired and developed significant experience and expertise in this area.

      I have been following during the last three years the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact which is providing a forum for the exchange of such experiences. It might be worth linking with that process to check whether some of the lessons learnt would be relevant?

      Public procurement for institutional catering (such as home-grown schoold feeding) contributes to improved nutrition healthy in several ways:

      • by improving the diets of schoolchildren
      • by encouraging the production of healthy foods (if possible organic and local), therefore contributing to healthy environments

      • by providing markets to, and contributing to livelihoods of small-scale producers as well as to reviving local economies
      • by improving food practices and knowledge of children and their families, and therefore of consumers (in combination with appropriate nutrition education and communication)

      Networks like WHO’s European Healthy Cities Network… and Schools for Health could help broaden a much needed interdisciplinary dialogue.

      Everywhere in the world, schools are a priviledged entry point for sustainable development and in particular sustainable food systems for health.

      Я буду опираться на вклад Деборы. Школьные столовые во многих странах подпадают под ответственность муниципалитетов, которые, в связи с этим, приобрели и нарастили существенный опыт и знания в данной области.

      В течение последних трех лет я слежу за Миланским городским пактом в области продовольственной политики, который предоставляет форум для обмена опытом в этой области. Возможно, стоит дать ссылку и на этот процесс с тем, чтобы узнать, будут ли некоторые из извлеченных уроков являться актуальными?

      Государственные закупки для сферы общественного питания (например, школьное питание местного производства) способствуют более здоровому питанию несколькими способами:

      • способствуя улучшению рационов питания школьников
      • посредством поощрения производства здоровых продуктов питания (по возможности органических и местных), тем самым способствуя благоприятной окружающей среде
      • открывая рынки для мелкомасштабных производителей и способствуя повышению их уровня жизни, а также содействуя оживлению местной экономики
      • посредством развития пищевых практик и углубления знаний детей и их семей и, следовательно, потребителей (в сочетании с надлежащим образованием в области питания и распространением информации)

      Такие сети, как Европейская сеть «Здоровые города» и «Школы здоровья» могут помочь расширить столь необходимый междисциплинарный диалог.

      Во всем мире школы являются привилегированной отправной точкой для устойчивого развития и, в особенности, для устойчивых продовольственных систем для здоровья.

    • Being retired, I am not in the best position to respond to the first two questions but have been very interested in the different contributions. For whatever it is worth, let me raise a few points.

      References have been made throughout to sustainable farming systems.  I would suggest a twin-track perspective:

      • at household/community  level, farming systems should be seen in the context of sustainable livelihoods, which should also include off-farm income - in particular food processing, marketing and catering – and migration/remittances.
      • at territorial level, we should be looking at sustainable food systems and again farming systems would only be a key element.

      Revisiting the existing supply-driven system can only have a limited impact and value chains are only one dimension of food systems. It is urgent to adopt a demand-driven perspective. 

      When talking of resilience to environmental stressors, we should review systematically indigenous food (farming) systems, which are usually low-input and risk-adverse.   « Modern » agriculture techniques have undermined resilience and introduced/increased environmental stresses. These should be identified and removed, and legislation/regulations reviewed accordingly. 

      It is urgent that scientific research reviews promising local practices via inter-disciplinary teams - including lawyers - and participatory processes with a view to generate practice-based evidence to inform policy. The ten principles identified by IPES-food -   -  would provide a good basis.

    • The consultation states clearly that VCs are only one dimension of food systems, which is of course correct, but therefore remains biased towards the classical supply driven approach and risks reinforcing the prevailing confusion between food chains and food systems. The paper should therefore consider providing the rationale and a roadmap for reorienting food systems as an integrating concept for Agenda 2030.

      There is now increased awareness that value chains have contributed so far to increased malnutrition through monotonous or unbalanced diets, increased socio-economic differences - and therefore poverty and marginalization – and dependence on food imports, erosion of biodiversity and environmental degradation. There is therefore certainly scope for drastic improvement.

      The paper rightly mentions the need to go beyond the economic assessment of VCs. Too often economists keep mentioning food import as the cheapest option. It is urgent to revisit subsidies and incorporate environmental and social costs. Long food chains too often undermine local livelihoods.

      Legal and regulatory frameworks need to be reviewed and adapted to integrate human rights. In recent years adoption of locally inappropriate standards, norms and regulations have eroded livelihoods of small-scale producers.

      Consumers are not always equipped to adapt to change and make the right food choices. And they are often misinformed through inappropriate marketing. This aspect needs strengthening. 

      In recent years the promotion of fortified foods for improved nutrition has de facto resulted in marginalizing local food systems and increased cosnumer dependence on imported foods. It is essential that the impact of such VCs on small scale food producers be monitored.

      In recent years, spread of hypermarkets and public-private partnerships have resulted in increased concentration of food distribution. And cash transfers have encouraged beneficiaries to change their food practices, in particular through shifting food purchasing from traditional retailers to super markets.

      The paper makes no reference to sustainable use of biodiversity (see Bioversity International), retrieval of indigenous knowledge, supporting local products, traditional food systems and value chains. Priority should be given to local markets and short food chains to relocalize diets and food systems. Small-scale food processing is essential for local diets, employment and resilience. While there will always be a need for national, regional and international trade (and in particular fair trade), it is urgent to relocalize agriculture and support local food systems to counterbalance the trends in the last decades.

      And last but not least, it is urgent to make an inventory of and review relevant local practices with a view to generate practice-based evidence. Applying the IPES food research principles. 

      Apologies for not answering the questions but both framework and questions seem geared to justify a narrow set of classical top down interventions.

    • Thanks for sharing this first draft work programme and congratulations for the progress to date. Considering where nutrition was ten years ago, the change is most appreciated!

      I would however like to make a few comments for your consideration.

      • Given the mandate of both FAO and WHO, the focus on national policies is logical. But unless we include explicitly the sub-national level we will not be in a position to address sustainably all forms of malnutrition. Promoting coherence of national, regional and international policies across multiple sectors is clearly very important, but coherence is most needed and can best be achieved at local level. One of the priorities of the Decade should therefore be the alignment and joint planning of local strategies for nutrition. Agriculture and health should be supported to jointly take the lead in supporting local governments.
      • While bringing together nutrition actors is definitely urgently needed, it is equally urgent that nutrition actors systematically engage in relevant (and/or high profile) development fora and initiatives (e.g. climate change, right to food, urban development/territorial planning …) to add value to the debate and learn from other participants and mainstream nutrition. We need to get out from the ghetto we have contributed to build. Other actors need nutrition as a means to bring together a people-centred, integrated and pro-poor perspective but this awareness needs to be raised on both sides.
      • There seems to be a confusion between food system and value chain - I quote A food system approach – from production to processing, storage, transportation, marketing, retailing and consumption –. Food systems should be analysed from the dietary entry point. The prevailing commodity-based approach cannot address complexity.
      • Social protection is of course essential but needs to be seen in a broader perspective: why are people in need of social protection and what can be done about it? But also how can social protection measures seek win-win objectives and contribute to sustainable development? (Anecdotal evidence from the Andes mentions the erosion of local food and agriculture systems as beneficiaries switch to supermarket purchasing, while cash vouchers in NYC are linked to local farmers markets).
      • Promoting healthy diets is good, but not sufficient. We need to ensure that they are the outcome of sustainable food systems which seek sustainable environmental management and social equity (implementing right to food. promoting youth employment and decent employment). We should therefore move beyond healthy dietary guidelines to sustainable dietary guidelines and from national to local (and when appropriate cross-border) education and communication strategies.
      • While nobody can dispute the need for evidence-informed advocacy and communication, the focus on evidence-based nutrition interventions in the last decade has been on academic bio-medical research which neither intended nor is able to address sustainability. It is urgent to identify and review promising practices at local level to inform consumers and nutrition actors.
      • Specific attention should be given to the legal and regulatory context:  the multiplication of often contradictory rules at local level eventually undermines diet quality, livelihoods, biodiversity and health. This needs to be better understood and rationalized.


    • While the present interest in nutrition (including the Decade) is most welcome, sustainable responses to all forms of malnutrition will in my view require a local approach involving all actors. The food and health sectors should be held accountable for jointly supporting local authorities to make this happen, and donors to co-fund their efforts.

      The illusion that standard interventions can provide a response should not be encouraged any further. Clearly common principles should guide the process of developing and implementing local strategies, but applied to specific contexts will result in local specific and pragmatic strategies, which will draw on the array of tools and interventions developed in the last decades. 

      There is no question that evidence is needed to help policy-makers make appropriate decisions but this evidence should be practice-based and take on board the experience of local actors. Multi-disciplinary teams from local centers of expertise would be best placed to review and document promising practices and assess their impacts on health, jobs and social equity, diets and environment (the different dimensions of sustainable development). 

      Regarding funding, local strategies to address all forms of malnutrition would help articulate needs and resources> Relevant government institutions could then explore how best to pool existing resources and ensure convergence of relevant programmes and project, in collaboration with civil society actors. Centers of expertise could reorient their activities to support and learn from local processes. And last but not least the private sector should play an active role in removing constraints and supporting solutions.

      One of the challenges to address is the inconsistency, contradictions and asymmetry of laws, regulations and procecdures at local level. Lawyers and institution experts are needed to revisit this context.

      Another one is the conflict of interest underlying some of the so-called "nutrition interventions".

      As the saying goes, nutrition is way too important to be left to nutritionists, health to health staff and food to the food sector. Unless people and local institutions become real actors in local development processes, it is highly unlikely that the Decade will achieve its intended purposes.  


    • Great contributions so far. Let me add to my initial contribution which aimed to ensure continuity of and synergy between relevant processes. I am surprised that the title of the paper does not explicitly refer to nutrition.  Thanks to Eileen for emphasizing that urban–rural linkages are a major determinant of malnutrition in rural areas, I quote:

      In a bid to satisfy urban profitable markets, rural households are left with less nutritious food items or cannot afford food as the pricing is uniform for rural, urban and international buyers – check out available websites for on-line food marketing. Aggressive marketing of food markets in urban areas results in the cultivation of food items geared more towards the needs of the market than food and nutritional needs of people in rural areas.

      The success of quinoa means that it has become a commercial food in the Andes and that local consumers cannot afford it any longer.

      “Leads to marketing of “global” foods to rural people, especially over-processed food items with hard to comprehend food labels. The result is that rural households abandon familiar foods that previously provided for their nutritional security, for “modern” foods whose nutritional value they do not fully comprehend.” City foods are often perceived as more modern and have gained a status symbol. Since rice is now seen as the staple food in several Western Africa country, people are increasingly reluctant to eat millet or maize. And try petit mil or maize in Haiti… The role of often city-led food imports (like riz brisé in Sénégal) and food aid programmes  have resulted in diet distortion and increased vulnerability of both poor producers and consumers in rural and urban areas. 

      It seems (again from the Andes) that increased use of cash vouchers (e.g. in conditional cash transfer programmes for nutrition) is leading beneficiary households to switch away from local products to buying from local supermarkets.  Which undermines the livelihood of local farmers and often results in unhealthy diets. On the other hand cities like New York condition the use of cash vouchers to purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables from farmers markets, benefitting  poor consumers health and providing a market to local farmers. 

      An essential dimension of more sustainable food systems should therefore be locally appropriate nutrition education and communication (promotion of sustainable diets for for both urban and rural consumers). Professor Moya rightly emphasizes the importance of traditional/indigenous rural diets and related food practices. 

      Dr. Omosa also rightly mentions increase purchase of land (and differences in bargaining power) in rural areas for business purposes. One should also mention recreational purposes (e.g. Cap Skirring in Casamance). And what about national parks?

      Dr. Cramer bring up the urgent need to document  “non-market oriented, community food production practices in urban and peri-urban areas meant to prevent or avoid food insecurity. Knowledge management to generate practice-based evidence will be key in the development of policy guidance.

      Dr. Vethaiya Balasubramanian raises the issue of rural employment. It is indeed essential that we ensure the protection and promotion of jobs and decent employment in rural areas and many of these jobs are related to food and agriculture in the broad sense. Food processing for local markets and commercialisation of niche products, environmental services and ecotourism should be considered alongside smallscale agriculture production.

      So much for now. Have a nice day everybody.



    • The interest of CFS is most welcome since linkages between SDGs 2 and 11 are key to the Sustainable Development Agenda. But it would be good to acknowledge and build upon the work carried out in this area, by FAO and other organisations, since at least the late 80s (e.g. FAO’s Committee on Agriculture 1989 Urbanization, food consumption patterns, and nutrition A bibliography of FAO work in this area can be found on

      The CFS secretariat may want to check the final draft of the SOFA Special Chapter on Urbanization - Linking Development across the Changing Landscape (Drescher and Iaquinta 2002) which was prepared within the Priority Area for Interdisciplinary Action Food for Cities; and the 2003 report to CoAg of the Interdepartmental Working Group on Food for the Cities and in particular the strategic recommendations for MTP 2004-2009

      In 2011, the FAO Food for the Cities multi-disciplinary initiative published a position paper entitled Food, Agriculture and Cities - Challenges of food and nutrition security, agriculture and ecosystem management in an urbanizing world  - signed by Alexander Mueller, then Assistant |Director General, sustainable Development - as background document for a CFS side-event This document could be seen as a good basis for an updated version five years later and the Secretariat may want to reconsider the initial decision to focus on post-2012 publications.

      FAO’s Food and Nutrition Division (now Nutrition and Food Systems Division) has worked extensively on these issues, within its programme on Globalisation, Urbanisation and Nutrition Transition, see in particular FAO Nutrition Paper 83, Globalization of food systems in developing countries: impact on food security and nutrition (2004). Given the present concern with obesity and diet-related diseases and the association of urbanisation, globalisation and changing lifestyles, it is recommended that the CFS paper be explicitly linked to the follow-up of ICN2.

      Overall the draft as it stands has by and large adopted a classical supply-driven value chain approach. The Secretariat may want to focus more explicitly on food consumption and food systems, following on and linking to the work carried out by SOFA 2013 Food Systems for Better Nutrition; Word Food Day 2013 Healthy people depend on healthy food systems - Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition and the 2015 WFD event in Milan; the Sustainable Food systems programme and the 10 Year Programme on Sustainable Food Consumption and Production

      And last but not least, specific attention should be given to indigenous people and their food systems.

      So much for now. :-)

    • I have read with interest background paper and contributions and Liberation is certainly most welcome. But I believe we are yet again missing the link with sustainable diets and livelihoods. What is being grown and who is the consumer is central to the way natural resources are managed. And local populations are key in maintaining and enhancing ecosystem services. 

      Many contributions refer to the problems generated by the industrial agriculture model. This has been coming up in many arenas in the last decade: in health with the  emergence of noncommunicable diseases, in the poverty debates, in the International year of family agriculture, etc. People from different wakes of life agree that we need sustainable food systems and ecological intensification is part of it.  There is therefore a window of opportunity for increased synergy.

      But the way institutions function does not allow this to happen. Complexity is a challenge and an opportunity. But the official speech is still about value chains, research institutions have a hard time moving away from their comfort zones,  scientific expectations and methodologies, and of course the root cause are economic interests and funding.

      Natural Resources Management, Health and Food Security  need to engage in and be held accountable to systematic  dialogue and joint action within a rights-based approach. This would be particularly timely in the wake of the Sustainable Development Summit and CoP21. The gap between environment and food security needs to be dealt with: it is presented as a tradeoff but it can be a win-win. The technical debate is of course essential, but we cannot detach it from the institutional and political context. 

    • Way too late, but...

      I facilitated a one and a half day session on household food security and nutrition during a summer school on sustainable mountain development at the end of June. Part of this was group work and one of the groups decided to work on a valley in the Peruvian Andes. Their diagnosis  (which caught me by surprise) was that the local economy was undermined by the Conditional Cash Transfer programme: people would stop buying locally and spent their cash in the local supermarket (which was doing great :-)). So no good for local farmers (who may have to apply sooner or later to the programme) and  no good for consumers (not sure shifting from local foods to supermarket food is necessarily the healthy choice).

      This was clearly anecdotal. Has any research been carried out to look at the impact of social protection programmes on food practices and diets?


    • I have come across bee-keeping in the context of a participatory nutrition project in Somalia. Honey production and beekeeping was one of the livelihoods interventions identified by communities and local NGOs as a means to improve food security of families who had lost their livestock because of the combination of drought and conflict.

      The project hired a Kenyan expert who visited the area, studied traditional honey production practices and identified three models of locally appropriate hives, one of which was retained by local beekeepers. Training for construction and operation was then provided. Honey production was multiplied by three by the end of the project.   

      This component was extremely successful for a variety of reasons:

      -      there is a high demand for honey from both the local market (for medical purposes) and the Gulf States

      -      honey is stable, can be sold all year  and is easy to transport by bush taxi (the beekeepers sent a representative to sell the honey at a better price in the port of Bosasso)

      -      honey production is based on common property resources, which makes it an optimal coping mechanism and livelihood strategy for displaced people

      -      people learned to use wax and make candles which provided light at night “and smelled delicious”

      -      it was one of several synergistic interventions which revived the local economy.

      For more information please refer to


    • I have read with a lot of interest the different contributions, learnt a lot and had the pleasure to come across old friends. But I wonder if innovation in agriculture (instead of a food system approach) was not too narrow an entry point. We must move beyond the classical supply-driven value chain/commodity approach and revisit production systems from the demand side; re-localize development efforts, support family agriculture and aim for resilient food systems which make the best of existing resources (including indigenous knowledge).

      Local government – and in  an increasingly urbanized world, cities – should take the lead and engage in sustainable territorial planning in consultation with all relevant actors,  aiming at food security and environmental sustainability in both rural and urban areas, while protecting and creating decent jobs and fulfilling human rights. Economics are important but there are only one dimension; health staff, sociologists, agronomists, environmentalists and economists must join forces to address complexity and learn together from existing practice.

      Food-based nutrition education (in particular cooking demonstrations) can lead to changes in household food production. The promotion of sustainable diets constitutes the logical entry point and goal for sustainable food systems and a long-term solution to malnutrition.

    • Thanks for providing us with an opportunity for contributing to the formulation of the 10YFP.

      1/ I am presently part of a technical team supporting the Municipality of Milano engaged in the development of urban food policy pacts (see  It is clear to us that in an increasingly urbanised world, cities play a major role in their respective territories and should play a lead role in,  and be accountable for,  sustainable local development. This initiative which involves to date 36 cities in both the global North and the global South is in my view very relevant to the formulation of the 10YFP. Please find attached the stock taking form (in French, sorry I realized afterwards there was another version).    

      2/ You may want to consider bringing out more explicitely the need (additional objective or rewording of objective 3) to gain a better understanding of traditional food systems in representative ecosystems and related indigenous practices with a view to generate practice-based evidence,  contribute to peer learning at local level, feed into relevant policies and assess the impact (ensure accountability) of agricultural programmes and investment. 

      3/ You may be interested to explore the possibility of engaging explicitely the City-Region Food systems platform in the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee (MAC). let me know if I can help.


    • Summary of the online discussion

      Addressing climate change on the one hand, and improving food security and nutrition on the other, are closely interlinked issues and would benefit from being dealt with simultaneously. But policy agendas and mechanisms for production, resource conservation and social programmes are presently disjointed and there is a gap between agricultural policies, health policies and climate finance. And by and large, consumers are not aware of the implications of their food choices on environment and livelihoods, and are considered as passive recipients or customers.

      Conventional agriculture – which contributes to climate change - and the policies and institutions that underpin global food security are increasingly inadequate. Rather than n as a new challenge, climate change should probably be seen as an additional factor of uncertainty. The present model and understanding of development privilege economic considerations and consider neither management of landscapes and ecosystems nor socio-cultural dimensions.

      There is a persistent institutional bias of food and agriculture policies and practices towards specific commodities and species and international trade. Priority has been given in the last decades to cost effectiveness, resulting in withdrawing investment from remote and upland areas. And corruption remains an obstacle to sustainable development.

      It is time to shift policy emphasis towards the promotion of sustainable and resilient food systems, and to discourage production practices which deplete and contaminate water supply, generate green house gas emissions, destroy native ecosystems and undermine health and nutrition. It is urgent that the public sector adopts a rights-based approach, reinvests in smart advisory services and focuses on smallholders. Support to family agriculture and in particular women, as well as the promotion of traditional foods and species and the prevention of waste, will contribute to more healthy ecosystems and populations.

      Such a shift will generate a series of institutional challenges. Addressing climate change, food security and nutrition in an integrated manner will require a multi-disciplinary approach and a dynamic process of innovation that engages all actors. Policy makers, civil society, private sector, development partners and researchers must work together to increase local effectiveness and build leadership, cooperation and coordination at community/neighbourhood level. Inter-disciplinary teams, participatory planning multi-sectoral information and impact assessment systems will be needed (e.g. integrated watershed management) and particular attention should be given to ensure that policy setting processes at all levels are free from commercial influence.

      Successful solutions to existing problems are present in rural areas and could/should be adapted and spread to other contexts. Multi-disciplinary research teams should therefore concentrate on generating practice-based evidence. Collaboration between local health and extension workers has proven essential to successful community-level strategies.

      It is time to think beyond climate smart agriculture and to promote sustainable food systems which include the management of common property resources.  Sustainable agriculture must nurture healthy ecosystems and in areas affected by climate change, it is time to shift away from monoculture to local-specific, low-cost low risk agro-ecological systems, agroforestry and integrated farming. It is important to revive and propagate indigenous varieties which are drought and disease resistant and contribute to healthier diets.

      The production of organic food should be encouraged - in particular through more affordable certification processes -  and intensive animal production discouraged, with a view to improve diets, reduce Green House Gas emissions, water use and contamination, and manage local biodiversity. Education in locally-relevant agricultural practices which increase carbon sequestration, reduce GHG emissions, improve productivity and produce healthy foods in season should be a priority

      Local institutions, producers and civil society must be jointly engaged in and responsible for the management of water resources and protection and conservation of environmental services (forests and aquatic ecosystems).  Efforts should be made to substitute wood and fossil fuels, and renewable sources such as solar and bio energy be used to produce, process and prepare foods and reduce waste.

      Priority should be given to reviving local and regional agricultural markets. Markets are where consumers come and buy food from producers they know and trust, but are also essential to social exchanges, community cohesion and local culture.

      Processors and retailers should be encouraged to align their practices with public health and environmental goals. Trade policies and subsidies all along the food chain (from production to distribution) should be revisited and accountability of corporations to sustainability and human rights ensured.

      And last but not least, consumers have a key role to play in the issues of climate change, food security and nutrition. Awareness-raising and training of local institutions will be key for the promotion of sustainable diets which are healthy and safe, but also compatible with sustainable environmental management and social equity and decent jobs.

      It is essential that food security remains on the agenda of COP21 and that relevant recommendations of the 2nd International conference of Nutrition be integrated. 

    • Dear all,

      As this consultation is reaching its end, let me forget my role of facilitator and add my own grain of salt (this contribution will of course not be reflected in the summary unless you believe it brings something to the very lively debate of these last weeks). 

      There seems to be an agreement 1/ that the poorest are likely to be most affected by climate change and 2/ that climate change affects food security and nutrition. I would therefore suggest that we provide specific attention to households affected by malnutrition and/or social cases in climate change affected areas/hotspots: they are in my view the emerging  tip of the iceberg. If we understand the local-specific causes of either malnutrition or destitution, we should gain a better understanding of the pathways through which climate change is concretely affecting food security and nutrition in that areas and the coping strategies adopted, and therefore gain insights on possible prevention, mitigation and  adaptation measures and strategies. 

      I would like to say goodbye to all of you, it was great to hear and learn from you, and to renew contacts with old friends and colleagues.  As we move towards CoP21, I hope some of the issues you brought up will feed into the debate in the coming months. I will do my best to summarize your inputs and come up with a document that all of us can live with and use where and when appropriate. 


    • Dear all,

      I hope some of you had a well-deserved break, but many have been working hard. Let me try and summarize some of the key issues that have emerged in the last days:

      • Climate change must be seen in the context of – and as an addition to – major changes in farming systems and lifestyles. “Modern” agriculture techniques have focussed on use of fertiliser and weed/pest control which have increased production costs.  Schooling of children and migration in search of urban employment has led to increased labour constraints in family farms, which does not allow any longer risk-spreading (e.g. combining animal and plant production) and delivery of environmental services (for both sustainable management and mitigation of natural disasters).
      • The narrow approach often taken to prevent “natural disasters” such as floods, has had a negative impact on the food and agriculture system. It is important to adapt to nature and not fight it.  Societies have a long record of managing the impacts of weather- and climate-related events and there may be a lot to learn from “community resilient traditional systems and practices”. It is important to revive indigenous varieties for climate change mitigation and nutritional security.
      • Sustainable agriculture must nurture healthy ecosystems and support the sustainable management of land, water and natural resources. It must meet the needs of present and future generations for its products and services, while ensuring profitability, environmental health and social and economic equity. It must be adapted to local conditions and ensure decent livelihoods. The focus must be on local food chains, diversification of household production and direct sale to the consumer, with a view to ensure family consumption first and local food availability, while reducing carbon footprints. The complementarity of wild foods for food security and nutrition can be very important, and help to mitigate the impact of climate change.
      • Agro-ecology can contribute to preventing and adapting to climate change, and can benefit all farmers from large scale commercial agriculture to subsistence farmers. It is urgent to upscale communication, extension, education (from primary school to university). Peer-learning starting from local experience should be given priority. A wealth of material has already been developed.
      • More on governance Policy makers must be more aware of local people's needs and constraints and ensure coherence of messages. The policy agenda and mechanisms for production and resource conservation are mostly disjointed. There is no clear integrated management of ecosystems and/or landscapes. The current architecture of public service delivers various government schemes with people as mere recipients and inadvertently weakens rural communities which are essential to sustainability. Policies and financial resources in both developed and developing countries should focus on building leadership, cooperation and coordination and developing collaborative governance systems at all levels which can help navigate trade offs. Support to sustainable agriculture should go hand in hand with appropriate nutrition interventions and social protection.

      Looking forward to the next round of contributions. Have a nice week.



    • Dear all, 

      Thanks for your contributions which really set the scene. Thanks for those who provided documents and weblinks, they will be included in the report of the consultation.

      Let me try and summarize where we are:

      • many of you referred to governance issues.  Climate change constitutes an additional factor of uncertainty impacting on food security and nutrition.  Insufficient attention has been given to smallholders by national and international institutions so far. Strategies must be local-specific. The public sector has a key role to play since the private sector cannot be expected to assist smallholders in remote areas.  
      • a set of comments refer to agricultural production systems: priority should be given to crops which can limit GHG emissions;  it is important to shift away from a commodity approach to promote diversity and agroforestry;  organic agriculture (for both health and environment) should be encouraged and made more affordable. Waste associated with international food trade should be addressed. 
      • it is essential to protect natural resources (common lands, forests and water bodies), replant trees, and promote solar cooking
      • it is urgent to bridge the gap between agriculture and climate change policies and funding

      I realize that I cannot do justice to the wealth in your comments in a few paragraphs  and I have deliberately chosen issues to stimulate exchanges.   Did I get it right and did I forget anything major? 

      It would really be nice to hear more about nutrition :-)

      I hope many of you will join the webinar next Tuesday (31/3). 

      So much for now.


    • I have spent most of my carrier working on food security and nutrition (that is from a micro entry point) in an institutional context which privileged national and global policies and saw international trade as an important dimension of food security.  It is revealing that I realized only late in my carrier that only 11% of the food consumed in the world came from international trade, and that somehow the tail was wagging the dog. 

      As we were trying to understand why people were malnourished and food insecure in specific areas, again and again we faced 1/ changes in diets related to globalization and reduced use of and consideration for traditional foods and 2/increased precarity of livelihoods as local farmers  were encouraged to "take advantage of the opportunities of globalisation"and concentrate on commodities which would meet the needs of mass distribution. Food products were not food anymore but a means to generate income, and the environmental impact, in particular on biodiversity didn't come into the picture. Socio-economic differences, indebtedness and poverty increased and people migrated away from their areas in search of jobs. Societies break up, rural areas die progressively and consumers health is undermined by inappropriate diets. 

      Another interesting dimension related to trade is that of food standards. It was never clear to me why a unique set of food safety standards would be required, since some foods have to travel for months exposed to heat and humidity while others were commercialised locally in very different specific contexts. One clear impact has been that smallholder farmers in many areas were not able to access the market any longer and that production was concentrated in the hands of those who could afford to garantee these standards. Recent developments include institution of food fortification standards that exclude non-fortified foods, and sustainability is now the new item on the agenda.

      I am increasingly convinced that sustainable development and resilience can only be achieved if we re-localise policy making,  build on existing experience, making the best use of local natural resources and engaging all actors in the process.  It is not acceptable that promotion of local foods to protect and create jobs, maintain culture and environment, and contribute to more healthy diets is seen as a violation of the principle of free circulation of goods. This of course does not mean replacing one approach with the other but finding the right combination in specific contexts and ensuring micro-macro linkages through real dialogue.  Trade certainly has a role to play in food security but should be held accountable for its social, environmental and health impact.

      As Carlo Petrini said at the 7/2 event "Le idee di Expo verso la Carta di Milano", free market cannot apply to food. 


      I am not sure that anybody adheres any longer that markets should be free of any control are a contribution to public good. But it should not apply to food. 

    • I come from a farming family in a fertile area of southern France. My great grandfather was a wealthy farmer. At that time, life revolved around the local market. When I was a child (in the sixties), the family farm still had a tractor, cows, poultry, rabbits, orchards and vineyards (for home consumption). My uncle, who remained a farmer until he retired, was “encouraged” to shift to irrigated maize monoculture, and became dependent on the prices on the international market. His children moved out of agriculture to get unskilled jobs in the neighbourhood. You still eat well at home, but an increasing share of processed foods from the local hypermarket and my cousin is obese. No money to fix the house which badly needs repairs, and no creek to swim in any longer. Is this what we want to promote?

      But as farmers’ children leave the land, young university graduates who have a hard time finding employment are now looking towards farming with a view to make a living and change lifestyles. NGOs are helping them access land, credit and training (see

      Consumers interest in shorter food chains which provide local foods and the boom of organic foods are generating opportunities for alternative food systems, which look much more like traditional farming, integrate vegetal and animal production and are aimed at local markets. My nephews (who have pharmaceutical degrees for which there is no jobs and are not interested in working in the local Intermarché) have become skilled agriculture labourers and go from contract to contract. They can stay in the village they grew in, maintain the lifestyle they want and meet women who share similar values. Agriculture is multifunctional and not all about income.

      When I read CSA, I thought YESS! Community Supported Agriculture is an interesting approach (several contributions mentioned the importance of rural-urban linkages). ... until I checked the website and realized that CSA is also Climate Smart Agriculture :-).  Institutional purchasing of local production  (for school canteens, hospitals, etc…) has proven extremely effective in re-activating local food production

      Eco-tourism is indeed an interesting option (as well as more generally Payment for Environmental Services). Farmers should be valorized as guardians of biodiversity and culture.

      What about landless people in rural areas who play an important role in family farming (and are often ex-farmers themselves)? The importance of food processing has been mentioned by several contributors: it can add value to farm production, create jobs and income, provide convenience food and allow consumption of nutrient-rich foods offseason.

      What role can schools and universities play in promoting agricultural careers to youth? Start looking at, supporting and learning from what seems to work locally. And move beyond the value chain approach towards a food systems approach, which will require a multidisciplinary perspective, looking at economic, social and environmental dimensions. Agriculture started as a means to better feed people and enhancing food security. We need to overcome the present disconnect between production and consumption.

      School and university curricula and material should also be reviewed not to discourage children and students from rural lifestyles and  farming, and should valorize local cultures.

      What approaches are most successful in promoting the equality of female farmers?Several contributions have addressed this issue. The problem of time-allocation in households who face rapid lifestyle changes is key. Women play a key role in both the productive and reproductive (i.e. domestic) sphere, and it will be essential to ensure that they have the time to shift to a more appropriate combination of tasks. Labour-saving technologies (including availability of convenience foods) are essential but social organization and time allocation within the household and within the community will be equally important, and may create off-farm employment (e.g. organization of child-care centres, community kitchens…).

      What measures can development organizations and governments take to make rural areas more appealing for future farmers? A key dimension is that of social services: parents want decent health care and schools for their children, but it also important to look at leisure activities. 

      The question which is rarely asked is what food production would enable farming families to have a sustainable livelihoods and consumers to eat better? Sustainable diets are needed for health, sustainable management of the environment and local biodiversity and social equity.  Farming families are best placed to build upon local knowledge and culture and supply local markets year round with the variety of seasonal foods needed for a healthy and active life.


    • I would agree that decision-making is not only based on evidence and that it is also important to engage decision-makers both on an individual basis and within a peer group.

      1/ They need to understand what food security and nutrition mean concretely. A few concrete examples:

      -    establish a direct contact with people suffering from food insecurity and malnutrition. In my experience visiting nutrition rehabilitation services and asking people what went wrong,  when, why and how their family is affected is very effective. The voice of the poor needs to reach policy-makers

      -  participatory nutrition workshops  (see Agreeing on causes of malnutrition for joint action…) get participants to agree on a common vision of the causes of malnutrition of relevant population groups and to revisit their own strategies and activities in a different perspective

      - it is also important to clarify what we mean by "evidence". It is important that we generate practice-based evidence (this should be a priority in knowledge management)  if we want to reach decision makers. If they see food security and nutrition can be improved in a sustainable and affordable way  and how, and that they can do it, they are likely to respond. Too often policy-makers are confronted with abstract concepts and figures and standard and costly solutions, and discard or postpone the issue as too complicated or not feasible.   

      Another motivation is clearly peer pressure.

      - if others get engaged (...and access resources) why not me?

      -  and of course global resolutions.

      Actually this is valid not only for policy-makers but for any professional,  politician or institution: 1/ who do no not see that food security or nutrition is any of their business or 2/ who have a very narrow perception of the problem and its solution.