In this evidence-based report, the authors articulate why food systems are no longer working to support people and planet. There is a ton of data and evidence throughout the report, as well as graphs and tables - but if you are short on time the executive summary provides a great snapshot of the challenges, opportunities and solutions discussed throughout the report.
The report sets out policy actions that are necessary to effect transformational change to promote healthy and sustainable diets diets. These actions fall into four categories: availability, accessibility, affordability, desirability (See Figure 1, page 20). While this report calls on policymakers to take the lead, they make clear that government cannot do this alone, and call on development partners, civil society organisations and businesses to work together and be part of the solution. The authors conclude with "Ten priorities for transitioning food systems to protect human and planetary health" that are generally applicable to all actors:
- Policy makers must build on existing global development targets (such as the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change) so they embody the goal of sustainable, healthy diets for everyone as a shared objective.
- Policy makers in relevant government departments must address planetary and dietary challenges simultaneously, since they are so fundamentally interlinked.
- Donor agencies must support LMICs to ensure that the transition of food systems is socially and ethically just.
- Governments in countries at all stages of development must resolve policy distortions which could fundamentally impede change – or even drive food systems in the wrong direction.
- Relevant ministries (e.g., agriculture, health, transport infrastructure, environment) need to work together to implement policies to realign production systems so that they support healthy diets in sustainable ways.
- Major trans-national businesses and local SMEs must work closely with the governments on more clearly articulated common agendas to deliver sustainable, healthy diets.
- Policy makers in relevant government departments need to prioritise building resilience of food systems – COVID-19 has highlighted their current deficiencies and vulnerabilities.
- Civil society advocacy groups and citizens need to play their part. The former have a major role in leveraging change in businesses operating across food systems and holding policy makers to account, and the latter have considerable influence to drive change through their purchasing power.
- Policy makers in relevant ministries in LMICs should creatively target actions which can create multiple ‘wins’ across health and sustainability.
- Leaders and decision makers should capitalise upon upcoming global fora to agree to new commitments for making food systems more resilient and diets that are healthy and sustainable.