Measuring progress of healthy diets from sustainable food systems: 2017 EAT-Stockholm Food Forum

To sustainably feed a growing population with safe, nutritious foods, all relevant stakeholders must work together. The 2017 EAT-Stockholm Food Forum was an important convening of many key actors to support a healthy, sustainable food system. I especially applaud Dr. Gunhild Stordalen and her team at the EAT Initiative for successfully putting on such an impressive and innovative event.

Food systems contribute to many of the challenges to people and the planet. For example, rising rates of obesity coexist with persistent undernutrition in many places, and food systems contribute a huge share of global greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, food systems can provide solutions—a message the Food Forum emphasized with their mantra, “Food Can Fix It”.

I had the pleasure of participating in a panel on Measuring progress towards sustainable food systems. I emphasized the need for complementary tools and indexes to assess food systems across all its dimensions—including nutrition, sustainability, productivity, climate resilience, social inclusion, market and trade dynamics, and enabling environments.

To that end, IFPRI and partners hosted a breakfast side-event with close to 30 participants. We discussed how our proposed Global Food System Index (GFSI) can serve as a multidimensional tool to track progress of food systems. We received great input on indicator and data selection that we will use to further refine the concept.

The EAT-Stockholm Food Forum was an inspiring event that brought out voices from many communities—including government, the private sector, research, civil society, and beyond. I hope at future Food Forums, even more voices are included, especially from developing countries and from young people. By working together, we can help eliminate hunger and malnutrition while supporting a healthy planet.