‘Alliance of those who are willing’ to ensure healthy diets from sustainable food systems – Global issues

Alliance for Action for Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems for All (HDSFS), bringing together governments, United Nations agencies, civil society organizations, academic institutions and social movements.

It was one of the results of United Nations Food System Summit to be held in September 2021, as part of Decade of action to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

The summit called for progress towards achieving the sustainable development goals by examining the link between the food system and global challenges such as malnutrition, climate change and poverty.

Disease and inequality

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one of its members, because “Our food system is making us sick”.

Each year, Unhealthy diet causes 11 million deathswhile an additional 420,000 people died from unsafe food consumption.

Unhealthy diets are also linked to six of the top 10 risk factors for the global burden of disease, yet around three billion people worldwide cannot afford healthy food.

“The burden of malnutrition rrepresents a violation of human rights to food and continue to promote health and social inequalityWHO said.

The picture got worse, as the United Nations agency said unsustainable practice which define food systems today is also leading to deforestation, loss of biodiversity, depletion of oceans, antibiotic resistance and the emergence of zoonotic diseases.

A woman buys fresh vegetables at an organic farm store in Rome, Italy.

© FAO / Victor Sokolowicz

A woman buys fresh vegetables at an organic farm store in Rome, Italy.

More than food

For WHO, “a healthy diet from sustainable food systems” is more than just access to affordable health-promoting and disease-preventing foods.

It also means having food produced and distributed in ways that ensure efficient work and help sustain the planet, land, water and biodiversity.

WHO has outlined the broader impacts this will have on achieving the sustainable development goals, such as ending hunger and malnutrition, promoting healthy and happy lives, improve maternal and child health, encourage responsible consumption and production, and promote urgent action to combat climate change.

Cooperative action

The HDSFS will act as an “Coalition of the Ready”, serving as a platform to coordinate action on healthy diets from sustainable food systems, through which countries can Share experiences, implement policies, and get support, information, and inspiration.

As urgent action is needed on policy, practice, data delivery and resource allocation, the Coalition’s work will focus on three key areas: mobilizing stakeholders to align action on food systems; facilitate peer-to-peer learning across countries and manage special projects on integrating nutrition, health and sustainability through food.

To date, 16 countries and the European Commission are “leader countries” in the HDSFS.

The Coalition’s “core group members” include WHO and four other UN agencies: the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)FAO), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Food Program (WFP).

Other members from civil society and academia include the World Wildlife Fund, the humanitarian organization CARE, the Movement for Scaling Nutrition (SUN) and the Center for Food Policy in the City, University of London.

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