How can the world's population be fed safely, fairly and sustainably in the future? This question will be addressed at a Food Systems Summit announced by the UN Secretary General for 2021. The IOER is providing scientific support on the way to the summit. The objective is to derive possible paths and dynamics of change from the perspectives of different groups of actors and from the negotiation processes.
In order to ensure that all people have access to healthy, affordable and sustainably produced food in the future, and to safeguard the production and distribution of food against crises such as pandemics, the world's food systems will have to undergo a fundamental transition. But in which direction will this transformation take place? Various paths and dynamics of change are conceivable. The international Food Systems Summit will address fundamental questions around food as well as the contributions that the development of food systems can make to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The road to the summit is marked by global exchanges and negotiations among various stakeholders at a variety of dialogue events. These are taking place at local, national and international levels. The Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER) is devoting its research to one of these strands. In the project TransFOODmation (Prospects for Future Food: A Paradigm Shift towards Sustainable, Resilient and Fair Food Systems), the IOER is conducting a single-case study. It focuses on the multilateral decision-making process of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). The researchers at the IOER are investigating which ideas concerning future food systems are presented and discussed by various actors. In doing so, they take a look at conceptual narratives, which underlie these ideas. They examine which trade-offs arise when different conceptual narratives are juxtaposed. Furthermore, they want to analyse which political, socio-economic and ecological implications and which consequences for possible power differentials in the negotiation process may result from that.
"Our aim is not only to shed light on the complex negotiation processes for the development of future food systems on the basis of our research. We also want to derive possible paths of this development and also make statements about different dynamics of these transition processes," says project manager Dr Markus Egermann.
The scientists want to make the new knowledge available to various key players - national and local governments as well as actors from the private sector and civil society. "We hope that in this way we can convey where it is worthwhile to start in order to develop the food of the future as sustainably as possible and not only to initiate these transition processes, but also to accelerate them,” says Markus Egermann.
The research work in the TransFOODmation project (Prospects for Future Food: A Paradigm Shift towards Sustainable, Resilient and Fair Food Systems) is co-financed by the Permanent Representation of Switzerland to FAO, IFAD and WFP, Rome, Italy. Switzerland has been cooperating with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) for many years.
Contact at the IOER
Dr Markus Egermann