Global Cafés

GC1. Addressing vulnerability of food systems facing violent shocks: what role for cities?

Chairs: Gianluca Brunori and Ana Moragues Faus

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that society, even in wealthiest countries, is not prepared to face external shocks. As resource scarcity, climate change, political instability and increasing socio-technical complexity let us foresee an intensification of external shocks, more attention is needed to the issue of system vulnerability. Food is at the core of urban vulnerabilities as it linked to health, security, social justice, ecosystem services and economic prosperity. Indeed, food is a key component of urban metabolisms not least given its associated generation of important daily flows of organic matter. If in ‘normal times’ there is evidence that existing food system generate inequalities, malnutrition and environmental degradation, in times of crisis disruption of urban food systems may put large shares of population, if not  whole urban communities, at risk. In this pandemic, urban areas, and particularly the urban poor are foreseen to be one of the most affected groups (IFPRI, 2020). Consequently, there is a growing demand to strengthen the role of urban food policies in the broader policy agenda. This world café will focus on how to adapt urban food strategies to make urban food systems more resilient to violent shocks. Participants will discuss around the following questions: What is the relationship between sustainability and resilience in urban food strategies? What tools and governance mechanisms support emergency reaction but also build long term resilience? What types of assessment tools and processes are needed to increase effectiveness? How can research support the development of urban food strategies for more sustainable futures?   

GC2. Food and nutrition security

Chairs: John Ingram and Yves Martin-Prevel

There are a number of concepts and words in common usage as well as in policy and science literature around the ‘food security’ agenda. Definitions to support given concepts and communities have proliferated and there is now a wide range to choose from (e.g. “food (in)security”, “nutrition security”, “food and nutrition security”, etc.). Clarity in what we want to convey is key and helps to avoid using given words in the incorrect way. This café will therefore discuss the often-conflated concepts of food security and nutrition security, aiming to highlight overlaps and differences.

GC3. Family/smallholder farms and world food security

Chair: Marta Rivera Ferre

In 2014, the FAO launched the International Year of Family Farming, recognising the fundamental role they play in hunger reduction and sustainable development. Small farms in developing countries (<5Ha), while using 30% of agricultural lands, produce more than 70% of the food calories in these regions and are responsible for more than half of the food calories produced globally (Samberg et al. 2016). In Europe, small farms still use more than 50% of the agricultural land. Yet, they are still perceived as inefficient and are the target of intensification programs worldwide to increase their productivity. On the other hand, small-scale farming is perceived by some as an opportunity to increase the participation of women and youth in agriculture. The two questions addressed in this global cafe are:

  • If family/smallholder farms are efficient to achieve food and nutrition security?
    • Why isn’t then more support to family/smallholder farms?
    • Is the global pressure for further intensification needed? Why?
  • Are family/smallholder farms an option to increase the participation of women and youth to enhance food and nutrition security?
    • If yes, how?
    • If not, what options for women and youth to enhance FNS?

GC4. Global challenges for livestock production

Chairs: Tessa Avermaete, Marta Rivera Ferre, and Mariana Rufino

Livestock production impacts air and water quality, ocean health, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on regional to global scales. There is an abundant literature quantifying the environmental impacts of the various livestock categories. Research data thereby indicate large differences across regions, production methods and livestock categories. However, policy implications of these studies are less straight forward and several questions arise for both policy makers and scientists. How can technology be transferred and hence production gaps be closed? How can land use for livestock production, including for feed production, be reduced? How can policy contribute to limit livestock production, and simultaneously increase the production of alternative proteins needed to cover the global protein demand?

GC5. Long or short distance?

Chairs: Patrick Caron and Sergio Schneider

The world is changing, as a consequence of the systemic crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Change is not taking place since we wisely decided to do so, but under an unexpected mobility constraint. The lock-in of frontiers, supply disruptions and global trade dysregulation will contradict the governance doctrine that has prevailed for the last decades to ensure food supply. Local processes will undoubtedly gain traction, in particular the organization of circular supply chains at territorial level. While we should celebrate the value of alternative experiences that have taken place to mitigate the undesirable effects of globalization, a priority challenge will lie in organizing the right balance between local and national sovereignty and the regulation of international supply and trade. This is needed to ensure access to healthy food everywhere, at all moments, at an affordable price, while limiting loss and waste and preventing global overproduction and related impact on the environment. Which are the relevant articulation between short and long distance value chains within the perspective of sustainable development? What are the implications for sovereignty and governance and at which scale? What are the consequences for generating circular food systems?

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