Food Systems Governance

Food Systems need to be intentionally governed for sustainable transformation (Herens et al., 2022). A 'whole of society' approach guided by good governance principles, evidence, best practices and the promotion of agency is essential for accelerated, locally owned, contextual, coherent and sustained food systems transformation (Trevenen-Jones et al., in publication, 2024).

Food systems transformation requires multiple food systems actors - across levels of government, sectors, and communities - are heard and participate as change agents. This enables the necessary conditions in which livelihoods and access to a diversity of safe and nutritious foods for all can be advanced.

In an increasingly urban world, cities with their mandates and governance tools are active sites of food systems transformation. City government administrations and the multiple actors that routinely engage with food systems have the capacity to pull and push change, influence national and global agenda, and implement context specific food system and nutrition policies and pathways alongside localised sustainable development goals.

Beyond city boundaries, the surrounding peri-urban areas, along with their connections to secondary cities, both formal and informal food sectors, infrastructure, rural communities, and broader regions, are acknowledged as cornerstones for rapid, significant, and sustainable transformations in food systems. (HLPE-CFS., V0 UPU report in review, 2024). This space for change has the potential for multiple co-benefits including access to affordable and healthy diets, biodiverse ecosystems, climate change, land and freshwater use (FAO et al., 2023; Rockstrom et al., 2023).

GAIN works together with multiple local, national and global actors to re-shape food systems with attention to context, inclusion, equitability, innovation and scaling. Design thinking and 'whole of society' participation are key principles with particular emphasis on evidence, local agency, gender transformation and engagement of those most vulnerable to malnutrition e.g. low income communities and those who live, lead and shop in informal (traditional) food markets.

Examples of our work and resources: Food Action Cities platform; Markets and Local Government Policy Option Toolkits; Transforming Urban and Rural Food Systems (TURFS); Nourishing Food Pathways (workstream 2. governance, markets and women).

  • Bangladesh
  • Indonesia
  • Kenya
  • Mozambique
  • Pakistan
  • Tanzania

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