In order to deliver on the 2030 SDG-Agenda, we need to improve on the performance of food systems. ‘Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals cannot happen without ending hunger and malnutrition and without having sustainable and resilient, climate-compatible agriculture and food systems that deliver for people and planet. (Source: UN Zero Hunger Challenge – ZHC).
Better understanding of and support for inclusive and sustainable food systems is needed for improved food systems. What effective role should monitoring and evaluation play in this? New evaluation approaches need to be developed to cope with the dynamic and complex nature of food systems, which feature multiple perspectives, multiple levels, multiple actors with multiple goals operating in multiple sectors.
Key conference question
The main question of our conference is: “How should and can monitoring and evaluation support the transition towards inclusive and sustainable food systems?”
How should M&E support food system change, in all its multiple levels, with actors in multiple sectors with multiple incentives and goals?
How should M&E also engage with and assist the inevitable trade-offs between competing and perhaps contradictory consequences?
ECDPM’s Paulina Bizzotto Molina will be one of the keynote speakers during the annual conference. For more information, click here.
The concept of food systems is gaining traction in academic and policy making circles. Different disciplines, such as agronomists, nutritionists and development economists, are finding the food systems approach useful to do justice to the complexities and dynamics of interrelated challenges in the food and agricultural domain. Sustainable food systems capture better the non linearity, feedback loops and unintended consequences between elements of the food system, including information and food politics.
One of the principles of the SDG agenda is the indivisibility of the Agenda; the sustainable development goals and targets can only be achieved if they are addressed in a integrated manner. The holistic character of the Agenda as a whole and the transformational character of many of the targets hidden within SDG 2 (eg tracking progress in the income of smallholder farmers, areas under sustainable agriculture) could inspire governments and other stakeholders such as technical partners and private sector players to adopt a food system approach.
Drawing from ECDPM’s Food team’s work with FAO on SDG governance arrangements this keynote will discuss the challenges countries encounter in implementing the food related SDGs [how to accurately phrase this?]. Some examples of innovative governance arrangements will be highlighted, with a specific focus on the opportunities territorial approaches seem to offer for more integrated policy making and meaningful and effective stakeholder engagement.
The reality of trade-offs between different food system outcomes should take a central role in sustainable food systems research and interventions. In many of the high level food system literature the often competing and conflicting interests in food systems are downplayed, emphasising potential synergies like those between sustainable and healthy diets. Acknowledging, understanding and addressing the political dimension of trade offs will be key to bring the ambitions for more inclusive and sustainable food systems/sustainable development to the ground. How can this awareness be integrated in practice, captured and learned from? Lessons will be drawn from the SDG governance study but also from ECDPM’s work on the Sustainable Agrifood Systems Strategies project, together with a consortium of Italian universities looking at sustainable local food systems in Tanzania and Kenya.