With preparations for the United Nations’ upcoming Food Systems Summit in full swing, current proposals for a brand new science-policy platform have attracted consideration and controversy. The summit’s scientific group, headed by one of many proponents of the thought, has suggested the creation of a brand new science-policy physique for meals safety and diet — akin to the Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change — as a possible “recreation changer.” The European Commission can be studying the idea.
Whereas the summit is a chance to strengthen meals programs governance buildings, and it might sound like an excellent concept to create a high-profile, IPCC-like group, such proposals overlook the truth that there already is a robust physique enjoying that very function: the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition, or HLPE. This panel serves because the scientific advisory physique to the Committee on World Food Security, or CFS, the United Nations’ distinctive policy-coordinating physique for addressing meals safety and diet.
On behalf of CFS and HLPE, we consider that extra could be gained by strengthening the present science-policy interface than attempting to reinvent the wheel.
The origins of HLPE date again to 2009, when CFS underwent reform that made it the foremost legit and inclusive physique for coordinating meals safety and diet insurance policies. This reform addressed the dearth of an efficient international institutional structure to cope with a world meals disaster and to attain objectives on eliminating starvation and malnutrition. HLPE was established to contribute to this effort by offering evidence-based scientific analysis to tell the committee’s improvement of coverage steering.
Creating a brand new science-policy interface within the context of the Meals Techniques Summit would imply additional fragmentation and duplication of worldwide meals coverage governance.
HLPE has the key attributes wanted by any science-policy interface physique to realize the belief of policymakers and the broader public. It supplies high-quality, impartial, and neutral scientific experience that serves policymakers’ wants. It holds a excessive diploma of legitimacy with its constituents — together with governments, civil society, the personal sector, and U.N. businesses — primarily based on its inclusive procedures, comparable to searching for inputs from totally different disciplines, data bases, experiences, and views to tell its work.
Its stories and points papers function the premise for high-profile policy recommendations, that are adopted by CFS after which carried out by governments and different CFS stakeholders. And HLPE members, in addition to mission groups, are chosen in an open nomination course of that’s rigorous and primarily based on scientific excellence.
Given HLPE’s strengths and potential, it’s puzzling that some advocates of making a brand new scientific physique for meals safety say there is no institution presently serving within the function of interface between science and coverage with respect to meals programs. Such claims are deceptive.
Whereas it’s appreciated that Meals Techniques Summit organizers have brazenly said that the U.N. secretary-general envisions no new establishments being created because of the summit, this raises the query of why a separate scientific group was created for it within the first place — a gaggle that has largely ignored HLPE in its deliberations.
We acknowledge that HLPE should additionally innovate to stay nimble and proceed to offer high-quality scientific recommendation to cope with the continually evolving problem of meals safety and diet.
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To allow the panel to supply up-to-date and science-based coverage recommendation, we encourage CFS to grant extra latitude to HLPE to provoke its personal stories in response to quickly altering international circumstances, because it did with a current issues paper about COVID-19’s influence on meals safety and diet, in addition to a report on the pressing transformative modifications wanted in meals programs to finish starvation and malnutrition and to advertise sustainable agriculture.
HLPE additionally seeks to develop concepts for higher knowledge assortment and evaluation for monitoring, forecasting, and modeling to allow itself and its companions to trace evolving meals system traits with extra precision, which would be the focus of an upcoming report on data systems.
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Learn how we are able to make meals honest and wholesome for all. Be part of the dialog utilizing the hashtag #FoodSystems and go to our The Future of Food Systems web page for extra protection.
In its first decade, HLPE delivered excessive influence at low price, with a price range restricted by the truth that only some CFS member governments dedicated funds to its work. Now could be the time for extra governments to step up and supply extra dependable funding to assist enhance the panel and its work, enabling HLPE to increase its actions and areas of experience.
The upcoming Meals Techniques Summit comes at a vital time when starvation is rising, a pandemic is raging, and a altering local weather is threatening meals programs. On this context, there’s a robust argument for constructing on and strengthening CFS and HLPE as its scientific advisory physique to take up the summit’s suggestions and to observe progress on meals safety and diet coverage going ahead.
Creating a brand new science-policy interface within the context of the Meals Techniques Summit would imply additional fragmentation and duplication of worldwide meals coverage governance — precisely what will not be wanted at this crucial juncture.
Go to the Future of Food Systems collection for extra protection on meals and diet — and importantly, how we are able to make meals honest and wholesome for all. You may be a part of the dialog utilizing the hashtag #FoodSystems.
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