food system (3)

9850152458?profile=originalThe anticipated failure of many countries to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 necessitates the assessment of science–policy engagement mechanisms for food systems transformation. 

 

A High Level Expert Group (EG) of the European Commission explore options for enhancing existing partnerships, mandates and resources — or reimagining a new mission — for science–policy interfaces in this paper.

The science policy interfaces (SPI) options presented in this paper provide a potential framework to promote consensus around ways to achieve independent scientific interaction with policy needs at different scales. Establishing more effective food systems SPIs will require financial and political capital and time-defined dialogues that go beyond cooperation among existing SPIs to include other actors (including national and regional governments, the private sector and NGOs). These dialogues should be shaped by openness, inclusivity, transparency, scientific independence and institutional legitimacy.

The UN Food Systems Summit held in September 2021 provided some space for this discussion, which should be furthered during the UN Climate Change Conference in the UK (COP26) and Nutrition for Growth in Tokyo. The global community must seize on this historic moment to formulate commitments that enhance SPIs and that concretely help them to support the urgently needed transformation of our food systems.

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8634658853?profile=RESIZE_710xTable seeks to facilitate informed discussions about how the food system can become sustainable, resilient, just, and ultimately “good”. We impartially set out the evidence, assumptions, and values that people bring to food system debates. 

Scientific knowledge is necessary for understanding the issues and complexities around healthy and sustainable food. But science alone cannot tell us how to act or what a good and ethical food system is. Making decisions about the food system involves value judgements about what is important and these depend on people’s preferences and visions for the future.

Therefore, we aim to engage with a wide range of stakeholders and perspectives to bring out value-based reflections and to clarify the arguments, assumptions and evidence around issues of concern. 

Table is rooted in academia. We are a collaboration between the University of Oxford, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Wageningen University and Research (WUR). Table is the successor to the Food Climate Research Network, based at the University of Oxford, which for 15 years conducted, synthesised, and communicated research on food sustainability. You can find previous FCRN explainers and FCRN reports on our website.

 

Podcasts

Read more about the podcast and listen to the Trailer episode with Tara GarnettEpisode 1 with Ken Giller on the Food Security Conundrum, and Episode 2: with Rob Bailey on Global Food Trade.

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Fig. 1

Transformation of the food system at the national scale requires concerted action from government, business and civil society, based on sound evidence from the research community. A programme for transformation of the United Kingdom’s food system, for healthy people and a healthy environment, is described here.

A coordinated national approach

A newly launched, eight-year, £47.5 million strategic research programme, led by the Global Food Security programme (www.foodsecurity.ac.uk) and funded by UK Research and Innovation in partnership with government departments, is focusing on transformational change of the UK’s food system for healthy people and a healthy environment5. It brings together academia, government, business and civil society organizations within interdisciplinary consortia to provide evidence for multi-pronged and simultaneous action across the food system. 

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