At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, decision makers from various food system sectors came together at the High Level Dialogue “Investing in Food Systems Transformation.”
24 January 2020
  • Sustainable Food System
Graphic summary of the event on food systems and investment at Davos WEF 2020

During the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting this week in Davos, Switzerland, over 80 decision makers from sectors of the food system came together for a High Level Dialogue “Investing in Food Systems Transformation.” The event on 22 January co-​organized by the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) and the Food Systems Dialogues (FSD) started with a keynote by Swiss Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin and led into a panel discussion with several food system experts:

  • Qu Dongyou, Director-​General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
  • Suni Harford, Member of the Group Executive Board, President Asset Management, UBS
  • Theo de Jager, President of the World Farmers’ Organization (WFO)
  • Maness Nkhata, Owner of the Lakeshore Agro-​processors Enterprise
  • Marta Antonelli, Research Director, Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation

(Credit: WFSC)

The panel discussion was followed by a session of Food Systems Dialogues; these dialogues were launched in 2018 to allow diverse actors from a range of food production and consumption sub-​sectors to meet, discuss, and explore options for transforming food systems.

ETH Zurich was represented at the event by Michelle Grant, Education Director of the World Food System Center, and Detlef Günter, Vice President of Research and Corporate Relations. Michelle moderated the panel discussion and took part in the Food System Dialogues.

During the panel, the urgent need to do things differently was made clear, as less than ten years are left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN Agenda 2020. The group identified that large scale change at the system level is needed, but engagement must also take place with individuals who can take small steps every day. The panelists shared what they are doing personally and in their organization – eating less meat, wasting less food, eating a diverse diet, investing in organizations that support farmers, and getting food to people who need it.

After the event, Michelle explained that despite the wide range of sectors represented, there was consensus that action on transforming food systems lies at the center of building a more sustainable world, and taking action is urgent. She commented that a holistic view that appreciates the role of many diverse actors; building partnerships between public and private sector; investing in infrastructure, capacity building, education, research; and innovation is needed.


This article was originally published on ETH Zurich World Food System Center

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  • Sustainable Food System
Agriculture and Fishery, Finance, Food, Systems change