To build sustainable, resilient, healthy, and just agri-food systems, we need to urgently rethink the way we produce, distribute, and consume food. The multiple crises of climate change, Covid-19, armed conflicts, and soaring costs linked to social and environmental externalities (the "4 Cs") have reinforced existing weaknesses within the global food system. In particular, the functioning of agri-food system for the most vulnerable regions and people has been severely disrupted. Moreover, the dynamics unleashed by these four interlinked crises pose profound additional challenges for food system transformation process as they introduce variables that have not previously been considered within existing global governance frameworks.
Hence, taking the 4 Cs as a starting point offers us both an opportunity and an impetus (a "perfect storm") to rethink possible pathways for agri-food system transformation. It enables us to look beyond short-term solutions that not only consistently fail to make our agri-food systems more resilient to multiple crises, but to preventing these crises in the first place.
Since the 4 Cs are global crises, proposed solutions require concerted and coherent efforts at both national and global levels. Given their shared focus on sustainability, we believe that the three "Rio Conventions" focusing, respectively on climate change (UNFCCC
), biodiversity protection (CBD
) and land restoration (UNCCD
), could provide the basis for a coherent international policy framework to guide the design, implementation, financing and monitoring of transformative agri-food systems.
Following the introduction of “Food Days” at all three sessions of the Rio Conventions' Conferences of the Parties in 2022, we propose further exploring integrated entry points and transition pathways that can be spearheaded by the three Conventions. Such a coordinated approach must go beyond agreeing on the urgent need to transform our food systems, towards offering specific proposals on what needs to be done, and who should take responsibility for initiating action.
This new series of reports set out the possible scope and approach for such a collaborative, and long-term agenda for agri-food system transformation.