The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of food systems, and the reliance that we all place on these to deliver the food we need. Even before the pandemic, around three billion people already had inadequate diets. How far that number will have risen due to income loss and reduced consumption is not yet known, but it is likely to be significant.
The Global Panel’s Policy Brief
The new Policy Brief: COVID-19: safeguarding food systems and promoting healthy diets, presents 10 priority actions to help policymakers mitigate the effects of the pandemic on food systems, with a focus on consumers and food supply.
The need for action
The brief focuses on the profound impacts the pandemic has already had on food systems and people’s diets during 2020. It sets out key decisions and actions which are needed to ensure that food systems can continue to function effectively, recover quickly from the present crisis, and build their resilience and effectiveness for the future.
The brief argues that a clear focus is needed on actions to protect the vulnerable today, using strategies that will increase the resilience of food systems for tomorrow.
Special Envoy to the UN Food Systems Summit and Global Panel Member, Dr Agnes Kalibata, said “We need to ‘rethink’ our food systems, so they better serve the purpose of feeding people and ensuring a safe planet for the future.” She added, “We must build back better food systems, that need to be more resilient and more inclusive.”
The new brief also presents a vision of food systems beyond the pandemic, one where there is greater equity in access to healthy diets embedded in food system strategies, which are in turn more resilient to shocks.
With the Global Panel’s upcoming Foresight 2.0 Report due to be published in September, this new policy brief on COVID-19 reminds us of the urgent need for practical policy solutions to transform food systems, in the wake of this global crisis
“This is the time to build more resilient food systems for all, that will not leave the vulnerable worse off.”
H.E. John Kufuor, former President of Ghana and co-chair of the Global Panel.