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FSCI data pinpoints urgency for agriculture and food systems transformation

Data published by the Food Systems Countdown to 2023 Initiative (FSCI) provides the first science-based monitoring to guide decision-makers as they seek wholesale transformation of the global agriculture and food systems

This transformation is needed urgently both to reduce the environmental impact of these systems and to mitigate the impact of climate change on them. The objective is for all people – particularly the most vulnerable – to have equitable access to healthy diets through sustainable and resilient agriculture and food systems. The FSCI has identified an indicator framework composed of 50 indicators that monitor agriculture and food systems at a global level, thus bridging the gap with data that policymakers require to drive critical decisions. Rather than carrying out time-consuming new research, existing data is often repurposed, thus enabling policymakers to have quick access to relevant information.

The FSCI will track agriculture and food systems annually until 2030, updating the framework as needed where new indicators or better data emerge. While agriculture and food systems only played a small part in climate negotiations at COP27, they did however feature more strongly at the recent COP28, where more than 150 countries signed the Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action and committed to incorporate agriculture and food systems into their climate plans by 2025.

'The state of food systems worldwide in the countdown to 2030' published by the FSCI organises agriculture and food systems monitoring into five themes: diets, nutrition, and health; environment, natural resources, and production; livelihoods, poverty, and equity; governance; and resilience. Each theme contains three-to-five indicator domains that together provide a comprehensive picture of agriculture and food systems. 

Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) Director of Statistics Division, José Rosero Moncayo mentioned that they were at the beginning of the process and there were still gaps in the data that needed to be filled to ensure that they were effectively monitoring progress across all dimensions of agriculture and food systems.

“There is a growing urgency to transform agriculture and food systems to support healthy diets in sustainable and equitable ways, and to protect the environment. Our research sets the stage for a data-driven approach to address the challenges and seize the opportunities to create a healthier, more equitable and sustainable future for all,” concluded Columbia Climate School's professor of Climate and director of Food for Humanity Initiative, Jessica Fanzo

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