The Food Systems Countdown Initiative (FSCI) is working to build a science-based observational system to monitor food systems globally. No rigorous mechanism currently exists to measure and track all aspects of global food systems, their interactions, and their changes over time. Deliberately changing complex systems that cut across sectors, jurisdictions, and national borders calls for a comprehensive, ongoing program of scientific measurement and assessment of all aspects of the system and their interactions to guide decisionmakers and hold those in power to account for transformation. Tracking food systems facilitates performance assessment relative to established targets and goals and incentivizes action. Doing so for food systems complements other global and regional monitoring and tracking initiatives focused on related outcomes, such as sustainable agriculture, nutrition, and health. Such monitoring can further offer food system actors and stakeholders (e.g., civil society, governments, and international organizations) actionable evidence to hold governments, consumers (specifically, those with the privilege to choose), and the private sector accountable for food system transformation.
The Food Systems Countdown Initiative is led by Dr. Jessica Fanzo of Johns Hopkins, Dr. Lawrence Haddad of GAIN, and Dr. Jose Rosero Moncayo of the FAO. Dr. Kate Schneider leads the data team and overall coordination for this project together with several Johns Hopkins graduate students. The Initiative involves more than 55 collaborators from over 30 institutions; all their names and biographies can be found here. This project has been funded to date by BMZ and the Government of the Netherlands.
Fanzo, J.C., Haddad, L., Schneider, K.R., Béné, C., Covic, N.M., Guarin, A., Herforth, A.W., Herrero, M., Sumaila, U.R., Aburto, N.J., Amuyunzu-Nyamongo, M., Barquera, S., Battersby, J., Beal, T., Bizzotto Molina, P., Brusset, E., Cafiero, C., Campeau, C., Caron, P., Cattaneo, A., Conforti, P., Davis, C., DeClerck, F.A.J., Elouafi, I., Fabi, C., Gephart, J.A., Golden, C.D., Hendriks, S.L., Huang, J., Laar, A., Lal, R., Lidder, P., Loken, B., Marshall, Q., Masuda, Y.J., McLaren, R., Neufeld, L.M., Nordhagen, S., Remans, R., Resnick, D., Silverberg, M., Torero Cullen, M., Tubiello, F.N., Vivero-Pol, J.-L., Wei, S., Rosero Moncayo, J., 2021. Viewpoint: Rigorous monitoring is necessary to guide food system transformation in the countdown to the 2030 global goals. Food Policy 104, 102163. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2021.102163