GAIN Discussion Paper Series 15 - Food System Pathways: Improving the Effectiveness of Support to Governments

As part of the 2021 United Nations Food System Summit, many countries crafted strategic pathways for the transformation of their national food systems. A range of organisations have since taken on roles to support governments in the implementation of these pathways. Collectively referred to as the Ecosystem of Support (EoS), these organisations can play an instrumental role in helping to progress the food systems transformation agenda.
This paper analyses how transformation is progressing in different countries and the means through which it is being both led and supported. It explores how the support for transformation could be made more effective by reviewing the ways in which national EoS function. It also proposes guiding principles for EoS members to adopt wide-angle approaches to food systems while fostering respectful interactions, coordination, and inclusivity. 

These principles advocate for respecting the leadership role of national governments as expressed through the office of the national convenors, with all relevant stakeholders included in the membership of the EoS and with working practices that are transparent and accountable.

It also recommends establishing communities of practice to facilitate learning, collaboration, and reflection on ways in which entities can respond to the full range of national needs and stakeholders’ interests, offer support at subnational and national levels, link technical assistance to investment opportunities, assist with acquiring the data needed to monitor progress, and support transparent decision-making. However, there is no suggestion that the structure and function of each EoS should be standardised. Instead, flexibility is encouraged, allowing for adaptation to specific contexts.