Briefing for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Office for Africa
’Future Food Systems – for people, planet and prosperity’, a briefing for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Office for Africa.
On April 26, 2022, the FAO Regional Office for Africa (RAF) hosted a briefing to discuss the findings from the Global Panel’s Foresight report, Future Food Systems – for people, planet and prosperity, and how the Panel could support FAO-RAF in aiding the transition towards improving African food systems so they better provide universal access to sustainable, healthy diets. A recording of the briefing can be viewed below.
At the briefing session, moderated by Mr Yurdi Yasmi (Deputy Regional Representative for Africa, FAO-RAF), the attendees were presented with data and evidence from the report by Foresight 2.0 Co-Chair Professor Tim Benton. He highlighted how the world “is facing interlocking planetary crises of astonishing proportions” that is being driven by a fundamental mismatch between the food we grow and the food we need. This mismatch is harming our natural environment as well as our health.
“On a global basis, mortality from poor diets per year is six times greater than 2020 COVID-19 mortality”– Professor Tim Benton, Co-Author of the Global Panel’s Foresight 2.0 report and Director of Environment and Society Programme, Chatham House
Professor Benton described how the “cheaper food paradigm”, at the heart of a market-led food system, creates vicious circles between diets and the environment. These are felt most by the poor and those living in fragile settings. This is a crucial issue given the cascading risks of de-globalisation, climate change and the conflict in Ukraine.
Professor Benton highlighted potential solutions for transforming the food system to benefit human and planetary health using the evidence-based recommendations from the Foresight report. These include:
- Repurposing subsidies to promote the affordability of nutrient-rich foods.
- Realigning food-based dietary guidelines, notably to include environmental outcomes.
- Leveraging public procurement to support access to healthy food choices.
- Rebalancing relative food prices through subsidies and taxes.
- Ensuring social protection policies protect the poor during food system transition.
- Revising trade policies to support rather than compete with other national agendas.
- Enhancing the role of science in government policy development.
“It is really important to push this change on the ground and you have provided scenarios, solutions and data”.– Yurdi Yasmi, Deputy Regional Representataive for Africa, FAO-RAF
At the meeting the Global Panel and FAO-RAF agreed on the need to develop the dialogue and utilise their long-standing and productive relationship to develop realistic solutions that could support FAO and to help transition food systems across Africa so that they provide universal access to sustainable, healthy diets.