The production and consumption of sufficient, affordable and nutritious food, while conserving the natural resources and ecosystems on which food systems depend, is vital. Food systems play a central role in all societies and are fundamental to ensuring sustainable development. Sustainable food systems are critical to resolving issues of food security, poverty alleviation and adequate nutrition, and they play an important role in building resilience in communities responding to a rapidly changing global environment.
However, our food systems are under increasing pressure to respond to numerous and complex challenges. These include:
‘A sustainable food system (SFS) is a food system that delivers food security and nutrition for all in such a way that the economic, social and environmental bases to generate food security and nutrition for (current and) future generations are not compromised.’
‘A food system gathers all the elements (environment, people, inputs, processes, infrastructures, institutions, etc.) and activities that relate to the production, processing, distribution, preparation and consumption of food, and the outputs of these activities, including socio-economic and environmental outcomes.’
Moving towards more sustainable food systems is critical. Urgent attention is required to address existing challenges, as well as new and evolving demands on our food systems. UNEP is committed to accelerating action through its Sustainable Food Systems programme of activities which aim to raise awareness as well as catalyse action at local, regional and international level.
We are doing this through 4 main focus areas:
- National Round-Tables on Sustainable Food Systems
- Climate Change, Urbanisation and Food Systems
Watch this short and fact-filled movie that explains why action is needed now to ensure urban populations can access sufficient, sustainably produced, affordable, safe and nutritious food in a changing climate. You can also watch it in French here.
Download the Policy Perspectives Paper that presents the challenges associated with feeding cities in a changing climate and how urban areas can take a leadership role in driving more sustainable food systems. You can also download it in French here.
- Food Waste: Visit our work at THINK.EAT.SAVE
- Sustainable Diets
We are always looking for good opportunities to collaborate and partner with interested stakeholders to help accelerate the shift to more sustainable food systems.
Our main focus in this area is through the 10YFP Sustainable Food Systems Programme in which UNEP with FAO has played an instrumental role in it is development. UNEP and FAO now serve in the Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Committee (MAC).
For more information and background go to the website at 10YFP Sustainable Food Systems Programme
Programme Officer (food systems and agriculture)