SAM Scientific Opinion “Towards a sustainable food system”


The Scientific Advice Mechanism of the European Commission (SAM) has recently published its Scientific Opinion ‘Towards a sustainable food system’. The advice focusses on what science tells us about how to transform the food system and how to move from food as a commodity to food as more of a common good. JPI HDHL welcomes the scientific opinion and is pleased to report that JPI HDHL has ongoing research projects and activities that are in line with this advice, thereby supporting the ambitioned food system transition.

The scientific opinion was prepared to inform the Farm to Fork Strategy (expected spring 2020) of the European Commission and could be used in the broader frame of all actions related to the sustainable food system. The scientific opinion is based among others on a Scoping Paper, workshops and the report of the Science Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA) 'A sustainable food system for the European Union', which provides “an overview of the available science on how that transition can happen in an “inclusive, just and timely way”.

The SAM scientific opinion states that “Rather than thinking of a singular change to fix the complex food system, we should focus on a range of potential leverage points with many diverse changes including in rules, tools and skills and understandings related to how information on impacts is collated and evaluated and how conflicts resulting from changes are handled”. The advice calls for a well-balanced policy mix of interventions. One of the key recommendations is the need to support a food environment that helps citizens to make healthy and sustainable food choices and to strengthen the more vulnerable actors in the food system.

JPI HDHL has several ongoing research projects and activities that are in line with the scientific opinion, thereby supporting the ambitioned food system transition. In particular, the JPI HDHL Policy Evaluation Network (PEN) builds on and connects with the INFORMAS initiative highlighted in the SAPEA report. PEN aims to advance our knowledge on the effective implementation of policies and their impact in supporting a food environment that encourages healthy and sustainable food choices. One of the ways in which it does so is by “adapting and implementing a Food Environment Policy Index (Food EPI) and developing a Physical Activity Environment Policy Index (PA EPI) to provide benchmarks of best practice from which policy practice can be rated” and “Mapping health-related indicators needed to assess the impact of policy interventions and to further develop surveillance systems to monitor these indicators”. Click here for the signature paper of PEN.

JPI HDHL also participates in Fit4Food2030 where we support 11 policy labs in carrying out pilot activities to improve the impact of their R&I policies and programmes on Food System transition.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s
H2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement n.696300

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