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Publication | 8 July 2021

How to Transform Food Systems - 7 Calls to Action

Global Food and Nutrition Security

This publication lists 7 calls for action for a transition towards more sustainable food systems:

CALL TO ACTION #1: ENSURE INCLUSIVE, PARTICIPATORY GOVERNANCE

Ensure participatory, integrated, rights-based approaches to governance at all levels in order to address the structural inequities in food systems. Build processes and policy platforms on principles of transparency, inclusive participation, and shared power. This will ensure policies are driven not only by evidence, but ethics and public interest.

CALL TO ACTION #2: INCREASE RESEARCH FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD

Increase research in systems-based approaches, with an emphasis on indivisible ecological, health, social, and economic goals. Recognize and learn from diverse knowledge systems and ways of knowing, including Indigenous Peoples and farmers who have long recognized the interconnectedness between our food systems, health, and the planet. This holistic, transdisciplinary, and inclusive understanding of food systems impact is essential for the public good.

CALL TO ACTION #3: ACCOUNT FOR EXTERNALITIES

Recognize the environmental, social, and health impacts of food systems policies and practices, and use this understanding to inform decision-making. Mainstream and strengthen True Cost Accounting and other impact assessment tools and methodologies to mitigate risk and increase accountability. These approaches will provide transparent, consistent guidance for governments, investors, farmers, corporations, and other stakeholders.

CALL TO ACTION #4: DIRECT PUBLIC FINANCE & POLICY

Direct public sector finance and fiscal policy toward regenerative and ecologically beneficial forms of farming, healthy food, and resilient livelihoods and communities. Break from harmful subsidy and incentive programs, initiating well-designed and durable reforms through collaborations between governments, farmers, banks and corporations, researchers, and other stakeholders.

CALL TO ACTION #5: UNLOCK PRIVATE & MULTILATERAL INVESTMENT

Unlock investment opportunities in sustainable food systems and align private, philanthropic, and multilateral funders with national actors for greater impact. Redirect financial flows of philanthropy, investors, banks, and donor agencies away from harmful practices and toward initiatives that are incentivizing, accelerating, and amplifying food systems transformations.

CALL TO ACTION #6: ENABLE AGROECOLOGY & REGENERATIVE APPROACHES

Create enabling environments for agroecology and regenerative approaches to flourish. Ensure a systems approach centering on a strong role for local institutions, communities, smallholder farmers, Indigenous Peoples, and women; the protection and expansion of rights; policy coherence and coordinated governance; research mobilization; plus investment and funding for infrastructure (such as roads, schools, markets).

CALL TO ACTION #7: PROMOTE NUTRITIOUS, SUSTAINABLE, WHOLE-FOOD DIETS

Promote nutritious, whole-food diets underpinned by sustainable, diversified food production adapted to local ecosystems and sociocultural contexts. Create positive food environments that provide equitable access, dietary guidance, and controls on ultra-processed foods. These approaches will support dietary shifts toward whole foods and sustainable, minimally processed plant-based, animal and aquatic proteins, particularly where meat and saturated fat consumption is high or growing at levels that risk human and/or planetary health.