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The Case for a Food Systems Stability Board

The absence of a Food Systems Stability Board is a notable gap in the global governance architecture needed to bolster sustainability and resilience. By agreeing to launch consultations regarding the creation of such a body, governments could contribute to a better future for hundreds of millions of highly vulnerable people.

LONDON – The COVID-19 pandemic, rising rates of global poverty and inequality, persistent conflict, and the escalating climate and biodiversity crises are shocks and stresses that together contribute to increasing hunger, as well as growing food and nutrition insecurity. To help tackle this urgent problem more effectively, and make the global food system more stable and resilient, governments should consider establishing a new, multilateral, United Nations-led Food Systems Stability Board (FSSB).

Today, between 720 million and 811 million people – about 10% of the world’s population – go to bed hungry every night, and at least 2.4 billion lack access to a healthy and nutritious diet. Absent major international action, these trends are likely to persist. The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change demonstrates that global warming’s effects have left no region untouched, with significant implications for the food system over the coming decades.

Food systems underpin the security of the global economy, as well as national security in many countries: hunger and lack of access to food have historically driven civil unrest. These systems are also among the principal drivers of ecosystem loss and climate change, with agriculture and land-use change responsible for a quarter of global greenhouse-gas emissions. At the same time, ecosystems such as forests, mangroves, and the ocean are central to humanity’s efforts to adapt to the climatic changes already underway.

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