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

FAO's joint team (DDCG, ESF, LEG, and OSG)


Dear Contributors,

We would like to thank you for your invaluable contributions to our recent call for submissions How can FAO better support countries in addressing governance of agrifood systems transformation to make them more sustainable, inclusive and resilient? – managed through the FSN Forum between 8 February and 1 April 2024. We are delighted to have received 88 contributions from participants representing diverse expertise and geographic backgrounds.

Your insights and perspectives have added significant depth and value to our initiative. We truly appreciate the time and effort you invested in sharing your expertise and ideas with us.

We will carefully review all submissions and ensure that your ideas are given the attention they deserve as we move forward with our work.

Once again, thank you for your participation and dedication. We look forward to the possibility of collaborating with you further in the future.

Kind regards,


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

Jose Valls, Policy OfficerAgrifood Systems and Food Safety Division (ESF)

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

Hajnalka Petrics, Programme Officer, Office of SDGs (OSG)

Olena Ovchynnikova, Technical Officer, OSG

Dr. Elsie Moore

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
United States of America

Dear Svetlana,

Attached please find our submission. Thank you very much for the opportunity to submit it after the deadline. Please let us know if you have any questions or need any additional information.


Elsie Moore, Tessa Cushman, Meg Burke & Roni Neff

Kindly find enclosed the template completed with our inputs regarding the call “How can FAO better support countries in addressing governance of agrifood systems transformation to make them more sustainable, inclusive and resilient?

Kind regards,

Christiane Monsieur, the Project Coordinator of the FVC Sub-programme on "Innovative gender responsive and transformative approaches for inclusive, resilient, and sustainable agrifood systems", ESP

 Andrea SanchezEnciso, Community Engagement and Gender Specialist in ESP


Estimada Svetlana:

Con un cálido saludo adjunto al presente el formulario que corresponde a la Estrategia Nacional Agropecuaria para las Mujeres Rurales impulsada por el Ecuador, en el marco de la transformación a sistemas agroalimentarios más inclusivos, resilientes y sostenibles. 

Saludos Cordiales;

Libertad Piedra 


Ms. Repa Kustipia

Center for Study Indonesian Food Anthropology (CS-IFA) & Social Enterprise Gastro Tourism Academy

Dear Co-facilitators and Moderator : 

Here I send a policy alternative from rural area in Indonesia (Tasikmalaya, West Java) to add another perspective for supporting countries in addressing governance of agrifood systems transformation to make them more sustainable, inclusive and resilient. 


Repa Kustipia 


Dear FSN Forum Moderator,

Please find in attachment the contribution for the Call on "How can FAO better support countries in addressing governance of agrifood systems transformation to make them more sustainable, inclusive and resilient?"

Best regards,

Viola Taormina

Dear Moderator,


My name is Balan Sundarakani, currently Professor at the University of Wollongong in Dubai. I am leading a national project being funded by Ministry of Education on Food Security for the UAE and this submission is based on the ongoing READY [Resilient agrifood dynamism] project. The project partners are Dubai Municipality, ICBA, UOWD and UAE University. We look forward to support the FAO initiative and please find attached our contribution.

Kindly acknowledge this submission.

Kind regards,


Prof. Balan Sundarakani
School of Business
UOWD Building, Dubai Knowledge Park

Dear FSN Forum Moderator,

the IT for Change's submission to the call titled "How can FAO better support countries in addressing governance of agrifood systems transformation to make them more sustainable, inclusive and resilient?" 

Ranjitha Kumar
Research Associate
IT for Change, Bengaluru 
In special consultative status with the United Nations ECOSOC