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New report about sustainability dimensions for a better food system

Published: 08 February 2021

What are the importance of food systems in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? The Swedish FAO Committee, together with, among others, researchers at SLU, discuss about this in the report “Applying three dimensions of sustainability for a better food system and better nutrition. Knowledge, cooperation and innovation”

The importance of the food system for the possibilities of achieving the SDGs has increasingly come into focus in the global debate. Several reports show that world hunger has increased for several years in a row, biodiversity is in acute crisis, desertification continues as does the depletion of the world's soils, and the world's natural resources are being consumed to an unsustainable extent.

Global food production and consumption not only affects the climate and the environment negatively but also contributes to malnutrition and poor health. It is thus necessary to transform the food systems so that the food we eat is produced and consumed in a sustainable way from all three sustainability dimensions. At the same time, this is not an easy task - what exactly is a food system and how should such a systematic change be achieved? This report highlights some key elements that in various ways can contribute to a transformation and a sustainable food system. The publication presents reasoning about this and gives examples from Sweden and Swedish initiatives and collaborations in other countries. Although the conditions are different in the world, many of the challenges are the same. One hopes that the examples given can be inspiring outside Sweden's borders and that they can contribute to a mutual dialogue for improvement. If the change takes place with all three dimensions of sustainability in mind, that change will benefit the climate, the environment, food security, health and the economy at both global and local levels.

SLU’s contribution to the report

- SLU Future Food and SLU Global has written the introduction.

- The International training programme Healthy livestock - safe food, in chapter one, is a contribution by SLU and Sweden’s National Veterinary Institute and Swedish Board of Agriculture.

- The women, the children and access to food in the city: the case of Addis Ababa, in chapter two, is written by researcher Beatrix Alsanius.

- In chapter three on research there is a section about SLU Future Food.

- The AgriFoSe2030 programme has contributed with a section in chapter four: Science contributes towards new business models for nutritious food in low-income countries.

Read the entire publication here.