The world is producing more food than ever. Yet, a world where people have access to healthy and nutritious food produced in a manner that ensures food security now and in the future, is a fundamental challenge of our time. The current bias of existing food systems towards large-scale mono-cropping of maize, soy, wheat and rice is eroding ecosystems and crop diversity globally, reducing diversity on our plates. Moreover, resulting obesity and micronutrient deficiencies have risen as serious problems threatening public health.
To face this challenge we need radical rethinking. We must recognise that a diverse food system builds on the productivity and nutrition potential of agricultural biodiversity in food systems, rather than bringing diversity into the hands of a few corporations. As citizens play a vital role, putting them centre stage is crucial to build a new food system that enables women and men to use and develop their knowledge to further improve the diversity in production and consumption systems.
Hivos – together with IIED – has launched a 5-year strategic partnership with the Dutch Government to transform the food system and promote sustainable diets. Sustainable diets are healthy and diverse, respectful of ecosystems, culturally acceptable and economically fair and affordable for all. Together with civil society organisations, the programme aims to influence the policies and practices of governments and the private sector.
The programme also supports civil society organisations to work with frontrunner movements, companies, local governments and the media to generate change at both the producer and consumer level. It will engage with farmers, food vendors, governments, private sector and other civil society organisations to create coalitions of the willing for resilient and diverse regions and cities.
The programme will start in four countries in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa.
Hivos Co-lead in Sustainable Food System programme
One of the strategies to transform the food system and secure sustainable diets is to work together in coalitions of the willing. One of these coalitions is the Sustainable Food Systems (SFS) Programme, initiated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The SFS Programme is a multi-stakeholder initiative aimed at accelerating the shift towards more sustainable food systems. The programme contributes directly towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in relation to food and agriculture.
Hivos is Co-lead of this initiative together with WWF, South Africa (Department for Trade and Industry) and Switzerland (Federal Office for Agriculture).
You can read more about this programme by downloading the Sustainable Food Systems brochure from the right sidebar.