Think tank says global panel is needed to hit UN’s sustainability goals
“There is no alternative to sustainability,” says Barilla Foundation Chief Executive, Guido Barilla.
A think tank has proposed an intergovernmental panel for food systems to help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
The Barilla Foundation Advisory Board made the call as part of three recommendations following Resetting the Food System from Farm to Fork, a conference co-hosted by the Barilla Foundation and Food Tank. The three-hour event brought together more than 30 farmers, academics, policymakers, business leaders and other actors from across the food system.
The event organisers called for a shared global commitment to transform food systems and unlock better global health and nutrition in the pandemic recovery and beyond, as well as increasing the sustainability of the food industry.
In a message to the event organisers, Giuseppe Conte, Prime Minister of Italy, said: “Food is central to the well-being of society, as it affects the lives of citizens. Food is a key issue, that connects all domains of well-being: food is the environment, food is society, food is economy, food is landscape, food is culture.
“The food supply chain, quality of production and Mediterranean diet are the engines of recovery. Access to adequate nutrition shall not be an exception, it shall be a right for all.”
The Barilla Foundation said an international body could replicate the achievements of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which coordinates scientific research on global warming.
Three recommendations were made for the UN Food Systems Summit, which will culminate next year after months of preparatory work in five priority areas.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is the latest example of the increasing pressure and expectations being put on the world’s food system. The food system needs to keep us all fed, but it also must ensure we are well nourished and that it protects the environment, tackles the climate crisis, and ensures people’s livelihoods continue to be met,” said Danielle Nierenberg, President of Food Tank and member of the Barilla Foundation Advisory Board.
“Establishing an intergovernmental body with the mission to provide objective, science-based knowledge and risk assessments on the state of agri-food systems and its relationships with sustainability may have the potential to support the transition and inform policymaking.”
The three recommendations made to the UN Food Systems Summit by the Barilla Foundation Advisory Board included:
- Aligning around a shared sense of purpose, that can help stakeholders – from national to local – to craft their vision for a healthier, more inclusive, sustainable and resilient food system
- Connecting, mobilising and inviting all actors in the food system on a collective journey that leads to a transformed food system
- Raising awareness and empowering citizens, by fuelling a scientifically grounded and action-oriented public discussion that enables them to act as change makers for a true transformation of the food system.
Guido Barilla, chairman of the Barilla Group and the Barilla Foundation, stressed the need for upheaval within the food industry: “Faced with the urgency of global hunger, health and now the pandemic, we must have the courage to change – agri-food companies, retailers, institutions, chef, citizens – because there is no alternative to sustainability.
“Resetting the food system is one of the most effective ways to improve both human and planetary health, and to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.”