The world needs an intergovernmental panel for food systems to help reset how food systems function in the same way the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has shaped climate action, says the Barilla Foundation Advisory Board, a leading think tank.
The failure of food systems poses a significant threat to health, education, economy, environment, peace, and security. Resetting the global food system is critical and requires urgency and bold leadership to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement, according to the Barilla Foundation and Food Tank.
Covid-19 pandemic is a ‘global wake-up call’
In a statement, Danielle Nierenberg, President of Food Tank and member of the Barilla Foundation Advisory Board said: “The Covid-19 pandemic is the latest example of the increasing pressure and expectations being put on the world’s food system. The food system needs to keep us all fed, but it also must ensure we are well-nourished and that it protects the environment, tackles the climate crisis, and ensures people’s livelihoods continue to be met”.
“Establishing an intergovernmental body with the mission to provide objective, science-based knowledge and risk assessments on the state of agri-food systems and its relationships with sustainability may have the potential to support the transition and inform policymaking”.
On 2 December, leading experts – including farmers, academics, policymakers, business leaders and other actors from across the food system – came together at Resetting the Food System from Farm to Fork, a global event with the aim of promoting healthy and sustainable food systems toward achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Speakers at the virtual event included renowned chefs Massimo Bottura, Tanya Holland and Dan Barber, representatives from Microsoft and Google’s Alphabet, and officials from four UN agencies.
Following the flagship conference, the Barilla Foundation Advisory Board laid down three recommendations for the UN Food Systems Summit, which will take place next year:
- Align around a shared sense of purpose that can help stakeholders – from national to local – to craft their vision for a healthier, more inclusive, sustainable and resilient food system.
- Connect, mobilise, and invite all actors in the food system on a collective journey that leads to a transformed food system.
- Raise awareness and empower citizens by fuelling a scientifically grounded and action-oriented public discussion that enables them to act as change-makers for a true transformation of the food system.
Just like the IPCC coordinates scientific research on global warming, the same approach could be used to help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the experts say.
“Faced with the urgency of global hunger, health and now the pandemic, we must have the courage to change – agri-food companies, retailers, institutions, chef, citizens – because there is no alternative to sustainability”, said Guido Barilla, chairman of the Barilla Group and the Barilla Foundation.
“Resetting the food system is one of the most effective ways to improve both human and planetary health, and to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030”.