Agronomy for Sustainable Development Journal: Food systems for sustainable development: proposals for a profound four-part transformation
Review article, “Food systems for sustainable development: proposals for a profound four-part transformation,” featured in the Agronomy for Sustainable Development Journal. Authors: Patrick Caron, Gabriel Ferrero y de Loma-Osorio, David Nabarro, Etienne Hainzelin, Marion Guillou, Inger Andersen, Tom Arnold, Margarita Astralaga, Marcel Beukeboom, Sam Bickersteth, Martin Bwalya, Paula Caballero, Bruce M. Campbell, Ntiokam Divine, Shenggen Fan, Martin Frick, Anette Friis, Martin Gallagher, Jean-Pierre Halkin, Craig Hanson, Florence Lasbennes, Teresa Ribera, Johan Rockstrom, Marlen Schuepbach, Andrew Steer, Ann Tutwiler & Gerda Verburg.
Evidence shows the importance of food systems for sustainable development: they are at the nexus that links food security, nutrition, and human health, the viability of ecosystems, climate change, and social justice. However, agricultural policies tend to focus on food supply, and sometimes, on mechanisms to address negative externalities. We propose an alternative. Our starting point is that agriculture and food systems’ policies should be aligned to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This calls for deep changes in comparison with the paradigms that prevailed when steering the agricultural change in the XXth century. We identify the comprehensive food systems transformation that is needed. It has four parts: first, food systems should enable all people to benefit from nutritious and healthy food. Second, they should reflect sustainable agricultural production and food value chains. Third, they should mitigate climate change and build resilience. Fourth, they should encourage a renaissance of rural territories. The implementation of the transformation relies on (i) suitable metrics to aid decision-making, (ii) synergy of policies through convergence of local and global priorities, and (iii) enhancement of development approaches that focus on territories. We build on the work of the “Milano Group,” an informal group of experts convened by the UN Secretary General in Milan in 2015. Backed by a literature review, what emerges is a strategic narrative linking climate, agriculture and food, and calling for a deep transformation of food systems at scale. This is critical for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. The narrative highlights the needed consistency between global actions for sustainable development and numerous local-level innovations. It emphasizes the challenge of designing differentiated paths for food systems transformation responding to local and national expectations. Scientific and operational challenges are associated with the alignment and arbitration of local action within the context of global priorities.
Agronomy for Sustainable Development is a journal of the French National Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE). It is an international peer-reviewed scientific journal which publishes original experimental, empirical and theoretical research articles, review articles and meta-analyses leading to enhanced sustainability for agricultural and food systems. The journal’s objective is to interface agronomy, cropping and farming system researches with ecological, genetic, environmental, economic or social sciences.
Citation: Caron, P., Ferrero y de Loma-Osorio, G., Nabarro, D. et al. Food systems for sustainable development: proposals for a profound four-part transformation. Agron. Sustain. Dev. 38, 41 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-018-0519-1
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