Conference

Improving Food Systems for Better Lives

Jun 2, 2015 - 01:00 pm to 08:00 pm UTC

Conference organized by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the European Commission (EC), and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on June 2, 2015.

Making our food systems more nutritious, resilient, and inclusive can significantly improve the lives of millions of people living in poverty around the world. On 2 June 2015, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the European Commission (EC), and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) joined hands to bring together in Brussels stakeholders and leading experts to discuss the latest thinking on how to sustainably improve livelihoods and wellbeing by addressing food systems. About 80 participants from civil society organizations, public sector, private sector, donor community, and academia, among others, shared experiences and engaged in discussions focusing on three critical themes: Enhancing Nutrition in Food Systems, Building More Resilient and Sustainable Food Systems, and Prioritizing Gender for More Inclusive Food Systems. Central to all themes was the issue of translating research into action. This was given particular prominence in the concluding panel discussion on Moving from Research to Action, which drew on a wide range of expertise for a lively exchange of insights, recommendations, and priorities for improving food systems with the goal of ending hunger and undernutrition in the coming decade.

The dialogue highlighted that greater convergence among diverse actors, sectors and stakeholders is needed for the development and implementation of innovative solutions for improved food systems and enhanced food and nutrition security worldwide. Well-coordinated efforts to advance progress in the elimination of hunger and undernutrition by 2025 and the achievement the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 will necessitate doing more to close the gaps between research-based evidence, policies and programs, and impact on the ground. Recommendations for improvements in current practices include (i) increasing the diversity of research by strengthening local and national level research systems; (ii) engaging more strategically and systematically with stakeholders; (iii) learning from both policy successes and failures; and (iv) effectively communicating research to all members of society. These ambitious but necessary recommendations address some of the most pressing challenges to effectively translating research into improved nutrition-, people- and planet-sensitive food systems.