Solution Cluster 1.4.1
Develop a Country-Driven Support Facility for Food Systems Pathways
Note: The convening partners are also engaged with UN FSS Action Area 6.1 on Governance on exploring next steps in collaboration on post-summit country support facilities (which might have a particular focus on a thematic component) to ensure a well-coordinated approach on this topic across all action tracks.
The work of the UN FSS, particularly its National Dialogues, has sparked an increasing awareness about the potential of food systems to simultaneously address multiple SDG-related outcomes such as hunger, malnutrition, climate change, biodiversity, livelihoods, and resilience, due to their interconnectedness.
Just as awareness of the potential of transforming food systems has risen, so has awareness of the challenges of realising that potential. The interests of multiple stakeholders at all levels – from local to global – sometimes fail to align in ways that support achieving specific outcomes, e.g., overcoming malnutrition. They also sometimes fall short in addressing broader thematic outcomes, e.g., in health, environment, and livelihoods.
This solution proposes the establishment of a globally networked, country-driven support facility for food systems pathways – a means to achieve the goal of transforming food systems.
About this Solution Cluster
The misalignment in the interests of stakeholders – from local to global levels – mostly due to asymmetries, requires deliberate focus and coordination to ensure that every nation develops the means to scale up or down, or modify, the game-changing solutions emerging from the UNFSS process to meet their aspirations for food systems transformation, while also maintaining the necessary global links to accelerate the pace of the diffusion of know-how. This is especially necessary in light of the interdependent nature of multiple SDG-related outcomes within the context of food systems transformation, for which the collaboration of multiple sectors will be needed to achieve success.
Achieving the high-level objectives of the UNFSS process will require a chaperoning mechanism that allows for the contextual implementation of ideas and strategies from local to global levels. Participants of the ongoing Food Systems Summit Dialogues have expressed demand for a mechanism to support each of them on their unique but aligned journey to food systems transformation. AT 1 has recognised this in its engagement with 26 member states.
There is evidence to support the benefit of having a country-driven, globally networked mechanism designed to achieve success across multiple themes and involving the participation of multiple stakeholders at all levels. Organising and chaperoning multiple economic sectors towards achieving an aligned vision across multiple themes is fraught with challenges, but examples exist to show that with the right mechanism, success is possible. For example, in Nigeria, the Agriculture Transformation Agenda, ATA (2012-2015), achieved multiple objectives of scaling up the numbers of active value-chain entrepreneurs, increasing access to affordable finance, increasing yield and productivity, and reducing malnutrition through a public sector-enabled, private sector-led process. The Nigeria ATA provides an example of how the facility may be structured, where a team of consultants supported the government to align the activities of multiple ministries to achieve national goals. The probability of success is enhanced because we propose an inclusive mechanism to achieve clear objectives.
Deploying a similar mechanism to the ATA, but more broad-based, the facility will chaperone and align the efforts of multiple stakeholders at the national and sub-national levels to promote, among other things, the mapping, diagnostics, learning, knowledge-sharing, organisational strengthening, and multi-sectoral objective-setting outputs necessary for aligning multiple interests, in light of capabilities, to achieve the objectives of food systems transformation. By ensuring that all sectoral interests are involved in the process, the mechanism will reduce significantly or eliminate the asymmetries that have previously hampered progress. Through engagement and participation in the facility, each country will generate the necessary context-specific know-how on transforming food systems and be able to acquire and share knowledge locally and globally about transformation pathways.
This will hopefully create realistic and measurable pathways and empower each nation, at all levels of public administration – including states, counties, and or cities – with the agency to achieve food systems transformation, sensitive to their specific context.
The facility will operate as a global network of national-level platforms coordinated by national government-designated individuals. This would ensure that the political will and enabling environment are provided to accommodate the input of all stakeholders.
Through this process, all existing local, state, county, and or national-level food systems-related plans and strategies will be reviewed. Then, through further stakeholder engagement, recommendations on policy, strategy, monitoring and evaluation will be provided to the respective public administration (local, regional, national, etc). The facility will also provide a conduit for connecting countries (at the national, regional, and local levels) to share experiences and exchange know-how.
At the national level, a central coordinator will aggregate a nimble team focused on convening all stakeholders, teasing out nuanced information, and aggregate these to produce policy recommendations and strategies that leverage current global know-how, including the game-changing solutions from the UNFSS process, and apply these into country-context specific forms. The facility would engage in the robust gathering, testing, and codifying of ideas, to identify appropriate courses of action to achieve the clear objectives of the SDGs and additional national and regional goals (e.g., CAADP in Africa). Each country would also serve as a node within a global network for sharing know-how and exchange of experiences.
There will be no need to create a new institution for the global coordination of the support facility. It will be embedded in an existing institutional structure, to be determined. This will improve the operational efficiency and ensure that the global coordination will require minimal permanent human resources, and technical support can be deployed quickly where it is needed.
The facility will support member states (and their local administrative units of government) wishing to develop strategies, systems, and policies to transform food systems, based on global know-how. To achieve the SDGs, especially in the context of the outcomes of the FSS, each member state will require a multi-sectoral mechanism to coordinate multiple stakeholders. The proposed facility will support the FSS, and possibly help to align other global and regional mechanisms that have a clear co-benefit with the aims of food systems transformation. Key experiences and feedback from other global processes will be taken into account as the facility is designed.