Photographs: Karlo Morales / Hivos
In front of an audience of specialists from all over the world the Executive Director of Ethos shared the importance of working together to promote public policies that guarantee the sustainability of global food systems.
On February 5-7, José Luis Chicoma, Executive Director of Ethos, participated in the 2nd Global Conference of the Sustainable Food Systems Programme, a multi-stakeholder partnership that is part of the UN One Planet network and whose aim is to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production patterns in all areas related to food (Objective 12 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals).
More than 150 specialists from around the world participated in the 2nd Global Conference of the Sustainable Food Systems Programme. Participants came together to analyze the challenges of food system transformation in an effort to comprehensively address problems such as malnutrition and environmental degradation using a systemic approach.
Attendees highlighted the importance of designing public policies to ensure the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals related to food issues. According to the FAO, 39 million people suffer from hunger in Latin America alone, while 105 million people in the region suffer from obesity, data that clearly shows the dysfunction of current food systems.
At the conference, hosted in San José, Costa Rica, Mr. Chicoma participated in the breakout session “Sustainable and healthy gastronomy as a key driver for sustainable food systems,” where he shared some of the challenges and opportunities that Ethos has encountered working with collectives and alliances to encourage sustainable food systems in Mexico and Latin America.
As an example, he highlighted the work of the members of the Alianza por Nuestra Tortilla, which includes activists, academics, nutritionists, researchers, tortilla makers, chefs, and more. Mr. Chicoma affirmed that the collaborative efforts of the Alianza have “created an extremely diverse network of people and organizations with an extremely in-depth knowledge of maize and tortillas, which has led to the creation of a shared agenda for effective nutrition, social development, and environmental sustainability around the tortilla.”
Mr. Chicoma also noted that it is important to create alliances with national and international media outlets interested in the topic of sustainable food systems, as well as create large-scale national campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of eating well–e.g., in Mexico, the importance of eating the ideal tortilla.
Representatives from the following organizations participated in a workshop organized by the Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries (HIVOS): the Nordic Food Policy Lab, the Movimiento de Integración Gastronómica de Bolivia, Alternativas, Slow Food, the International Institute for Environment and Development, the IDB Innovation Lab, WWF, Smaackmakers, Fundecooperación, the Fundación Costarricense de Gastronomía, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). These organizations came together to exchange experiences and work together to create a global health proposal that includes inclusive and sustainable gastronomy.
The event also addressed the importance of sharing international best practices to generate sustainable food systems; promoting the sustainable supply of nutritious, local, and diverse ingredients; supporting food businesses that provide local, nutritious, and low-cost food; and creating distribution systems that respect agro-ecological approaches.
Mr. Chicoma also participated in a workshop on food system challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean titled “At the Crossroads of Natural Resources, Livelihoods, and Nutrition.” During the workshop, Mr. Chicoma highlighted the need to encourage regional projects that work to change the environment in Latin America and generate conditions that facilitate the creation and consolidation of sustainable food systems.
The 2nd Global Conference of the Sustainable Food Systems Programme was organized by the Costa Rican Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Switzerland (Federal Office for Agriculture), HIVOS, WWF, and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, in close collaboration with UN Environment, FAO and the German Government.