Food System Country Profiles Website

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Food systems are complex, multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral. Better understanding their dynamics and assessing their performances is critical if we want to strengthen their contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.

A flurry of initiatives has emerged in the last few years, that propose multi-indicator “compendiums” intended to describe more holistically national food systems. Many of those compendiums, however, are made of 100 or more indicators. As such, they are often overwhelming the policy-makers who they were initially intended to guide, thus defeating their own purpose.

There is a need to find a “middle ground” whereby the complexity, dynamic, and multi-sectoral nature of those food systems is still captured, but boiled down to a more manageable combination of key indicators that help prioritizing entry points for interventions.

The process of identifying those key indicators also needs to follow a clear, transparent and reproducible protocol/methodology so that comparison between countries (and over time) remains possible, yet accounts for the specificity of each country’s food systems and its large socio-cultural and political context.

Finally, the process needs to remain participative, involving the main stakeholders of the country’s food system and not just experts.

The objective of the Food System Country Profile project is to demonstrate the feasibility of such an approach, initially by developing and field-testing a protocol in three pilot countries: Bangladesh in Asia, Ethiopia in Africa and Honduras in Latin America, with the ambition to expand the approach to other low and middle-income countries in the near future.

The final product, which is in the form of Food System Country Profiles, offers a tool to facilitate more informed and evidence-supported decisions by key stakeholders around food systems.

Bene, C.; Lundy, M.M.; Achicanoy Estrella, H.A.; Chege, C.G.K.; Hernandez Barco, R.A.; Wiegel, J.R.

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