Making better policies for food systems will require reducing evidence gaps

Koen Deconinck, Céline Giner, Lee Ann Jackson, Lucinda Toyama
Global Food Security
Resource type:
Peer review

There is broad consensus on the need for bold action to improve the performance of food systems. But as recent work by the OECD has shown, on many important food systems issues progress is hampered by evidence gaps. These concern not just the extent, characteristics and drivers of policy issues, but also importantly the effectiveness of different policy instruments and their synergies and trade-offs, as well as how a policy intervention would affect stakeholders, and what citizens’ policy preferences are. Across these topics, different types of evidence gaps exist. Evidence is incomplete on many important issues, but even where evidence exists, it is often not detailed enough to be useful. Inconsistent methodologies may prevent comparison of available evidence. In other cases, evidence may be fragmented across different public and private actors. At the same time, evidence is never perfect. A pragmatic way forward is to focus on where better evidence can make the biggest difference, for example through the use of evidence gap maps. New technologies and institutional innovations may also help.


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This resource has been peer reviewed