(Webinar recording below) A discussion with key experts and policymakers on key measures to both combat the pandemic’s impact and to build sustainable food systems.
25 May 2020
  • Sustainable Food System
WEBINAR: COVID-19 and Sustainable Food Systems
COVID-19 and Sustainable Food Systems - Responses and innovations to tackle vulnerabilities and build back better

What critical measures are required to both combat the #COVID19 crisis and to build sustainable food systems? Can responses to the #COVID19 crisis catalyse transformation toward sustainable food systems?

Watch the webinar recording below to learn more

The COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented challenges for food systems worldwide - but also enormous opportunities. It is a wakeup call that has highlighted the need for holistic approaches to both address the shock brought by the pandemic, but also to address the vulnerabilities of our unsustainable food systems. To build sustainable food systems we will need more coordinated, more integrated measures – a food systems approach.

In this webinar, experts and policymakers provided insights on respoinses, innovations and key measures to both combat the pandemic’s impact and to build sustainable food systems.

The webinar inlcuded:

A keynote speech by the WHO Special Envoy for COVID-19, Dr. David Nabarropreceded by the presentation of findings from two pieces of research from INRAe and UNSCN. Following, two government response examples from Costa Rica and Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul state.

First, Vice-minister Ana Cristina Quirós Soto of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of Costa Rica explains how the country has implemented a battery of measures in coordination with a range of food systems actors to guarantee workplace safety, access and availability to healthy food and financial support to livelihoods all while emphasizing the need for urgent progress on climate and environmental targets.

Then, the Council of Food Security and Nutrition (CONSEA) of Rio Grande do Sul state has been responding to the food and nutrition security crisis brought on by COVID-19 through four areas of action. With closed schools, children’s access to food has been compromised. We will learn how CONSEA’s structure has facilitated a coordinated, agile response. In Brazil, the main advisory bodies at national and state level on food related matters, are the Councils of Food Security and Nutrition (CONSEAs). They were created in the 2000s with an innovative multi-stakeholder architecture, as a means to provide for more participatory decisio-making.

To close, practitioners from FAO, IFAD, UNEP and WWF kicked off a discussion highlighting why a systems-based, collaborative response is essential to both counter the vulnerabilities highlighted by COVID-19 as well as to build sustainable food systems.


  • Vice-minister Ana Cristina Quirós Soto, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Costa Rica
  • Dr. David Nabarro, WHO Director-General's Special Envoy on COVID-19
  • Potira V. Preiss, counselor of the Council of Food Security and Nutrition (CONSEA) of Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil
  • Dr. Yuna Chiffoleau, Research Director, INRAe
  • Dr. Stieneke Oenema, Coordinator, UNSCN
  • Margarita Astrálaga, Director of the Environment, Climate, Gender and Social Inclusion Division (ECG), IFAD
  • Fatima Hachem, Senior Nutrition Officer, FAO
  • Martina Otto, Head of Cities Unit, UNEP

Moderator: Brent Loken, Food Science Lead, WWF

Aimed primarily at regional and national decision-makers focusing on food or elements of the food system, the webinar is open to anyone with an interest in building sustainable food systems as a response to COVID-19 through a systems approach, and the role of inter-sectoral coordination and collaboration.

The webinar took place on 3rd June at 2:30 PM CEST and was part of a Series of webinars on the Food Systems Approach in Practice promoted by members of the One Planet Network Sustainable Food Systems Programme (SFS Programme).

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  • Sustainable Food System
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