Fellows to Create Shared Action Framework to Transform Global Food Systems

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May 28, 2020
by Oscar Tollast
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Fellows to Create Shared Action Framework to Transform Global Food Systems

Inaugural Salzburg Process brings together more than 300 change-makers online Photo by AK¥N Cakiner on Unsplash

A diverse group of food and climate stakeholders, including researchers, policymakers, civil society, private sector and philanthropic organisations, have agreed to work on a plan to create more sustainable food systems.

Between April 21 and May 6, 2020, more than 300 diverse change-makers took part online in the inaugural Salzburg Process on the Climate Emergency and the Future of Food.

Participants have signed up to co-create a shared action framework identifying shared priorities and opportunities for transformation across sectors, scales, and processes.

The framework will accelerate actions, investments, and policies to transform food systems holistically and systemically.

The Global Alliance for the Future of Food and Salzburg Global Seminar organized the Salzburg Process. The meeting created a space to bridge divides between sectors, geographies, and generations, helping to make connections and forge alliances for transformation.

Participants were due to attend a two-day meeting at the Salzburg Congress in Salzburg, Austria. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, both partners agreed to move the conference online.

In a matter of weeks, the Global Alliance and Salzburg Global arranged webinars, small group discussions, and informal gatherings to replace the in-person convening. Organizers also created an online platform for participants to network, share ideas, and find relevant program information.

A Call to Action

The Salzburg Process formally began on April 21 with a webinar titled, “The Transformation Imperative: A Call to Action.” Clare Shine, vice president and chief program officer at Salzburg Global, was joined by speakers from around the world to discuss the urgent need for food systems transformation.

Speakers included Cynthia Rosenzweig, a senior research scientist at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies; Francesco Branca, director of the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development at the World Health Organization; Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli, founder of LEAP Africa; and Pavan Sukhdev, president of WWF International.

During the webinar, Branca said, “The future of food means that food systems enhance food and nutrition security for all, are economically sustainable, are inclusive and have a positive impact on climate and environment.”

On a related note, Nwuneli said, “The future of food is a flourishing, sustainable, and just food ecosystem which leverages agtech and digital innovations, and ensures the availability, and affordability of nutritious food for all people, especially the most vulnerable.”

Rosenzweig, meanwhile, said, “The major lesson to be learned from the coronavirus pandemic is that we must prepare ahead of time for future global systemic risks. We failed to do that with the coronavirus – we still have a chance to do that for climate change.”

Climate-resilient food and agriculture systems can contribute to a 1.5˚C world by 2050.  Sukhdev said, “Food’s carbon footprint can be reduced at all three levels – below ground, at ground, and in the air. Capture soil carbon, avoid food waste, avoid flying food.”

On May 4 and 5, participants took part in hot-topic discussions on five themes: Nature-based Solutions, Just Transitions, Sustainable and Healthy Diets, Industrial Livestock Production, and Food Loss and Waste.

Participants identified and coalesced around priority levers of change while focusing their attention milestone events set to take place in the next 18 months. These events include the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the UN Food Systems Summit.

Looking Ahead

Bringing the event to a close, participants attended a final session to bring everything together and outline plans for the next steps. The shared action framework participants will create will frame the roles and responsibilities of food system actors, key allies, stakeholders, and coalitions. The Global Alliance and Salzburg Global will share the shared action framework, and participants of the Salzburg Process are encouraged to do the same.