World leaders urged to focus on food for progress on climate, COVID, health and poverty
World leaders gathered in Cornwall, UK for the G7 meeting this weekend had a busy schedule. The resumption of COVID-19, economic security, migration and health were all on the agenda, alongside what has been touted as ‘meaningful action’ on the climate as the groundwork is laid for the COP 26 climate conference in November, which will also be held on the British coast.
According to Ruth Richardson, executive director of the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, one factor connects all of these issues: the food system. “If you want to make progress on climate, pandemic recovery, health, poverty and, most importantly, tackling the risk of future pandemics, food systems are what connects all of these challenges,” she suggested. “Global solutions all begin with transforming food systems.“
The G7 took place a few months before the first-ever United Nations Food Systems Summit, which aims to set the stage for a “decade of action” to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. During the Summit , we can expect to see the launch of actions to advance the Sustainable Development Goals. This will be followed by COP 26, which will set the agenda for moving to a net zero level in line with science-based goals.
All of this hinges on healthier and more sustainable food systems, according to Richardson, who argued that global challenges must be addressed through “holistic” and “systemic” action.
“In this time of global recovery, the days of problem silos are over. “In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
COVID-19 Highlights Role of Food System in Public Health
Richardson told FoodNavigator that there “absolutely” needs to be more focus on transforming the food system. Current events have underscored the link between the food system, environmental sustainability and people’s health, she suggested.
“COVID-19 has shed light on the deep interconnections between food systems, public health, biodiversity and habitat loss. Coupled with the climate crisis… transforming food systems is a fundamental solution that can accelerate progress on multiple global challenges.In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
The instability of the food system is a “profound risk” to economic viability, public health and even national security, told us the director, who represents an alliance of philanthropic organizations.
“Food system transformation is urgent – and leaders know it. It is time for national governments to rise to the challenge of truly transforming our food systems with tangible and bold actions for long-term impact.In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
Accounting of actual costs for transformation
What action does Richardson think will bring about the magnitude of the change needed?
“There is an unprecedented opportunity for governments to show real leadership and address the challenges we face. For example: linking the transformation of food systems to the response and stimulus measures of COVID-19; move to the development and implementation of more integrated policies at ministerial level; and transparent ways to track the true costs of our food systems, to name a few.In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
“This includes breaking down harmful subsidy and incentive programs that allow unsustainable farming practices and expanding industrialized agricultural land use into supports that encourage agroecology and regenerative practices. “In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
These efforts will require policymakers to stop making decisions based on what Richardson calls “incomplete and, indeed, bad data.”
“This is where true cost accounting comes in”she thinks.
True Cost Accounting is a scalable method of valuing the cost of different production systems, based on the concept that we pay for the food we consume in more ways than at the checkout. It takes into account the different ways in which we pay for the environmental and public health consequences of poor food choices, from taxation used to cover the costs of cleaning up the environment or financing agricultural subsidies to the price of food-related illnesses. on health systems.
Richardson clarified: “TCA goes beyond the limited economic assessments used today and, instead, provides a broad and comprehensive systems-based framework that helps us take into account and understand the deep interconnections between agriculture, food, the environment and human well-being. It is a tool that helps us accurately account for costs such as soil erosion and toxic exposure to harmful chemical pesticides, or the benefits of healthy diets and biodiversity.In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
“Everyone has a role to play”
Richardson stressed that regulators need to reassess their approach to the food system, noting that governments have a “crucial role” in reforming the food system.
“Governments have a number of ‘levers of change’ they can use to shape our food systems. On the one hand, they can adopt an integrated and participatory approach to establishing a food policy; establish the rules, laws and standards that support human, animal and ecological health. They can also direct public sector finances and fiscal policy towards regenerative, resilient and environmentally beneficial forms of agriculture.In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
These measures should go hand in hand with a “bottom-up” approach, the food systems expert said. Richardson emphasized that “everyone has a role to play” in transforming the food system, from farmers to civil society, the private sector and citizens.
She said food industry stakeholders should “commit to real cost accounting or similar transparent and measurable systems with integrity,” as well as use the United Nations Food Systems Summit as ” a moment to communicate the urgency of making much needed and late transformative changes. “
Richardson also highlighted the central role that consumers can play in transforming the food system.
“The ongoing global emergency and the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed the fragility of our global food systems, showing us that they are not fit for purpose. As consumers, citizens can play an important role in creating space for systemic change. Where possible, by supporting brands that place cost accounting at the heart of their operations – like EOSTA in the Netherlands – they can send a clear signal to businesses and policy makers that change is desired, as much as it is. is necessary.In addition to this, you need to know more about it.