National and Sub-National Food Systems Multi-Stakeholder Mechanisms: An Assessment of Experiences

Alliance of Bioversity & CIAT, UNEP and WWF
Resource type:
Reports and discussion papers

Multi-stakeholder mechanisms (MSMs) constitute an important element for embedding collaborative and coordinated food systems approaches in policies. In this report, the term “sustainable food systems multi-stakeholder mechanism” (SFS MSM) refers to a formal or informal participatory governance mechanism or collaborative arrangement that brings together diverse food systems actors (e.g. government, private sector, NGOs, farmers) with different food-related agendas (e.g. environment, health, trade, agriculture), from all stages of the value chain (from production to consumption), in an inclusive way to collaborate in pursuit of sustainable food systems.

In practice, SFS MSMs vary in their forms (e.g. food policy councils, food security committees, sustainable food labs), their durability (permanent or ad hoc), legal status (whether or not they are created by a governmental decree) and representativeness (level of government and stakeholder participation). They can also operate at different scales (e.g. municipality/ county, department/province, multiple departments/ provinces, national), and their roles and mandates remain diverse. These groups usually convene stakeholders to share perspectives on food systems challenges, develop innovative solutions and infuence food-related policy-making and planning. They are also increasingly involved in policy implementation.

This report on SFS MSMs intends to:

  •  Fill the aforementioned knowledge gaps to contribute to the aim of the One Planet network’s SFS Programme to support the shift toward sustainable food systems through a holistic approach;
  • Contribute to the efforts made by the Community of Practice on Food Systems Approach on the Ground (CoP-FSAG) to translate food systems approach theory into practice;
  • Contribute to the UN Food Systems Summit 2021 and other relevant multilateral forums, at the subnational, national and international level, by providing important insights on how multi-stakeholder governance can support the five defined action tracks;
  • Provide a knowledge product and a technical tool with important lessons learned from the 10 SFS MSMs studied, which can be used to inform and encourage countries and cities to advance MSMs as an element of sustainable food systems;
  • Provide an increased knowledge base regarding SFS MSMs and the broader governance structures and arrangements in which they operate

Ten outstanding cases were selected and studied, three at national level: France, Denmark and India; and seven at sub-national level: Ghent, London, Montreal, Los Angeles, Quito, La Paz and Antananarivo. The individual summaries of the case studies can be found in Chapter 3.


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