Sustainable Food Systems Programme

Sustainable Food Systems Programme

Current Stage: Step 3

The Sustainable Food Systems Programme (SFSP) is jointly developed by UNEP and FAO, building on previous work under the Agri-food Taskforce, and planned for launch in 2015. 

Given the central role of food in society, the proposed 10YFP Sustainable Food Systems Programme is foreseen as a significant opportunity to contribute to accelerating the shift to sustainable consumption and production in both developing and developed countries. Sustainable food systems are key to ensuring sustainable development. They have to ensure food security and nutrition and satisfy a growing demand, for quantity, quality and diversity. At the same time current food production and consumption already exerts a considerable impact on the environment and plays a significant socio-economic role. By leveraging international collaboration, networks and research, stimulating innovation, new project implementation and scaling up current initiatives, a global programme on sustainable food systems is an opportunity to improve the sustainable consumption and production of food.

Online 10YFP Public Consultation on the proposed Sustainable Food Systems Programme, including stock taking exercise, open until 30 April 2015

The Secretariat of the 10YFP invites all interested governments and stakeholders to provide feedback on the proposed 10YFP Sustainable Food Systems Programme, as developed in the Concept Note, as well as to contribute to the stock-taking exercise, during the public consultation period from 17 March 2015 to 30 April 2015.

This public consultation is conducted by the 10YFP Secretariat as well as through the Food Security and Nutrition Network of FAO. The consultation is an excellent opportunity for interested governments and stakeholders to assist and engage in the development of the 10YFP Sustainable Food Systems Programme, facilitate synergies and partnerships.

In addition to the public consultation, governments and stakeholders can submit a preliminary expression of interest in participating in the 10YFP Sustainable Food Systems Programme, by serving as a Programme Lead or co-lead, as members of the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee (MAC) or as a partner.  The roles and responsibilities of each are defined in the Guidance Document on the 10YFP Programmes.

All consultation documents are available here, in English, French and Spanish

  • 10YFP Sustainable Food Systems Programme concept note with description of work areas, open for public consultation: EN / SP / FR

  • Feedback form for comments on the concept note: EN / SP / FR

  • Stocktaking exercise form: EN / SP / FR

  • Advisory note for preliminary expressions of interest in taking an active role in the programme: EN / SP / FR

A letter jointly signed by FAO and UNEP, who have been supporting the development of the Sustainable Food Systems Programme under the 10YFP, is also available here: EN / SP / FR


Global survey on Sustainable Food Systems

UNEP together with FAO conducted a global survey on the Sustainable Food Systems Programme (SFSP) during June-July 2014. This was a public consultation widely disseminated among stakeholders and open to all. It included general questions regarding the proposed goal for the SFSP, challenges, opportunities and key issues for making food systems more sustainable as well as an invitation to express interest to participate in the programme.

A total of 212 respondents from 70 countries (approx. 56% from developed countries and 44% from developing countries) participated in the electronic survey. The survey was distributed in three languages, English, French & Spanish. A mix of 22 closed and open questions were included, with respondents having the chance to provide any additional comments on what they thought were important, to be taken into account in the development of the future programme.

The preliminary findings were presented at an expert session of the Agri-Food Taskforce at the FAO Headquarters (11-12 September 2014, Rome, Italy). In the initial results of the survey, the main barriers to sustainable food systems cited as “underlying challenges” were identified as the following: 
  • Lack of joined-up policymaking
  • Lack of tools, information, knowledge and best practice
  • Lack of adequate incentives
  • Limited understanding of what constitutes a sustainable food system
  • Lack of available data, methodology and standards

A Report of the Online Survey Results can be found here: Results of the First Online Consultation on the 10YFP Sustainable Food Systems Programme (SFSP)

Results from the following opened-ended questions have been collated and are also included here for your information, in the three languages as received:

Stocktaking exercise

A stock-taking exercise of existing initiatives and trends in the area of sustainable food systems will soon be conducted.

Agri-Food Taskforce Meeting

A consultative meeting on the new programme taking into account the results of the online survey was held with the members of the Agri-Food Taskforce on SCP (11-12 September 2014, FAO headquarters, Rome). The following outline of the SFSP gained general consensus among Taskforce members:

Vision: All food systems are sustainable, delivering food security and nutrition for all in such a way that the economic, social and environmental bases to generate food security and nutrition for future generations are not compromised.

Goal: To promote, enhance and facilitate the shift towards more sustainable food systems.

Work streams:

WS1: Increasing the availability, accessibility and sharing of actionable knowledge, information and tools for sustainable consumption and production.

WS2: Encourage, facilitate and support integrated multi-stakeholder dialogue to help inform interconnected policymaking towards sustainable food systems at local, national, regional and international levels.

WS3: Facilitating the use and enhance opportunities for market-based and/or voluntary approaches throughout supply chain towards sustainable food systems.

A call for expression of interest to be a lead actor or a member of the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee (MAC) will be launched in the upcoming months.

Food waste prevention, as one of the key issues identified in the public consultation, is likely to be a prominent theme among the SFSP’s activities. UNEP’s existing activities on the topic, via the Think Eat Save initiative, are elaborated upon below.

Food waste prevention and the Think.Eat.Save Guidance Document

UNEP together with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), FAO and the SAVE FOOD Initiative, have recently launched Guidance on the Prevention and Reduction of Food and Drink Waste. This first of its kind document shows governments, local authorities, and businesses ways they can act to reduce food waste and save natural resources.

The Guidance provides a basis for targeted action. A full journey is presented for users, beginning with the mapping and measuring food waste and the development national or regional policies and measures. In-depth modules then focus on programmes for food waste prevention in households and in the food supply chain. Version 1.0 is published today, to be enriched progressively as many more countries around the world begin to take on the challenge and reap the benefits of food waste reduction.

To this end, UNEP is recruiting pilot countries and cities without existing frameworks for food waste prevention to test the Guidance over the coming years. Technical and strategic support will be provided to in-country teams of the pilot countries and cities, as they initiate, define, deliver and monitor food waste prevention programmes. 

Visit the Think.Eat.Save website.

Get involved today!

The 10YFP Sustainable Food Systems Programme (SFSP) is open to organizations and individual experts interested in joining a collaborative platform to support activities that relate to sustainable food systems and the objectives of the programme. 

Contact us: If you are interested in further information or being involved in development of the Programme, please email the Secretariat at

Register your sustainable food systems (SFS) activities and get the latest news on SFS at the Global SCP Clearinghouse: