SHiFT research partner meeting: Highlights from WP5 on catalyzing food systems transformation

Share this to :

In November 2023, the CGIAR Research Initiative on Sustainable Healthy Diets through Food Systems Transformation (SHiFT) held its first research partner meeting to share research findings, evaluate progress, and set goals for the future. Researchers Marion Herens and Brenda Shenute Namugumya from SHiFT’s Work Package 5 on Catalyzing Food Systems Transformation (WP5) kicked off the meeting with a presentation of the Work Package’s activities and key accomplishments in 2023.

Work Package 5 recognizes that there is no single solution to deliver sustainable healthy diets for all—instead, context-specific pathways for transformation need to be identified, co-designed, and supported at the national level to transform food systems toward sustainable healthy diets.

WP5 has three major objectives: (1) Engage in national multistakeholder consultative processes to develop and support food systems transformation; (2) monitor and document food systems transformation in the target countries; and (3) develop capacity to engage in, support, and monitor food systems transformation toward sustainable healthy diets.

Highlights from Work Package 5

In 2023, researchers from WP5 made progress on their first objective by drafting a country engagement strategy (CES) with support from SHiFT’s leadership and conducting stakeholder identification and analysis. They also worked closely with the country coordination units (CCUs) in Ethiopia and Viet Nam to better understand their food systems transformation policy processes and priorities. As part of the follow-up from the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), researchers focused on identifying multistakeholder partnerships in these target countries that could play a key role in food systems transformation.

To advance the second objective, SHiFT’s country coordinators played a key role in documenting and reporting on country-level networks and meetings related to food systems transformation. Meetings with CCUs, which are led by the country coordinators, helped to support understanding about ongoing developments and the type of evidence needed for the food systems transformation process. Researchers also worked on developing a learning framework and identifying key questions to build more understanding of this process in target countries.

For the third objective, researchers conducted an assessment to better understand current capacities at the organizational level and capacity needs, especially for Strategic Partners. Progress was also made on expanding an e-course on food systems governance to better serve the needs identified by Strategic Partners. First launched in 2022, this e-course was relaunched in 2023 with updated content. WP5 researchers also conducted an evaluation to understand questions and needs that arose from the course. They are currently in the process of developing a training-of-trainers program to support food systems transformation for sustainable healthy diets.

Next steps

Looking forward to 2024 and beyond, researchers from WP5 plan to expand their work on stakeholder analysis and capacity building. Building on their 2023 achievements, SHiFT plans to conduct a network analysis to identify potential networks and champions for food systems transformation. Researchers will explore power dynamics that affect food system stakeholders and continue to monitor shifts toward more inclusive stakeholder coalitions that support sustainable healthy diets.

To advance their work on capacity building, WP5 researchers plan to tailor their capacity-strengthening approaches for their Strategic Partners, based on the capabilities prioritized by each partner. They will also provide one-on-one coaching to strengthen the Strategic Partners’ capabilities to support transformative change and extend their capacity assessment to relevant platforms.

Watch the video below to learn more about SHiFT’s Work Package 5 from Marion Herens.

The International Food Policy Research Institute and the Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT lead SHiFT in close collaboration with Wageningen University and Research and with contributions from the International Potato Center. SHiFT combines high-quality nutritional and social science research capacity with development partnerships to generate innovative, robust solutions that contribute to healthier, more sustainable dietary choices and consumption of sustainable healthy diets. It builds on CGIAR’s unparalleled track record of agricultural research for development, including ten years of work on food systems and nutrition under the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH).

Header image: Local fish retail market in Satkhira, Bangladesh. Photo by Noor Alam/WorldFish from Flickr.

Share this to :