Bouncing Forward Sustainably: Pathways to a post-COVID World. Resilient Food Systems

Sperling, F., Havlik, P. ORCID:, Denis, M., Gaupp, F., Krisztin, T. ORCID:, Palazzo, A. ORCID:, Valin, H. ORCID:, & Visconti, P. (2020). Bouncing Forward Sustainably: Pathways to a post-COVID World. Resilient Food Systems. IIASA-ISC

[thumbnail of Background Paper -  Resilient Food Systems.pdf]
Background Paper - Resilient Food Systems.pdf - Published Version
Available under License All Rights Reserved.

Download (234kB) | Preview
Project: IIASA-ISC Consultative Science Platform, Bouncing Forward Sustainably: Pathways to a post-COVID World


COVID-19 and the global lockdown have triggered a humanitarian and socioeconomic crisis, which threatens to undermine the progress towards eradicating poverty and hunger. We are confronted with a new reality for sustainable development. How food systems will be transformed during the socioeconomic recovery will play an important role in determining whether the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement are still within our reach.

COVID-19 exerts supply and demand-based shocks on food systems. The global lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The economic impact on developing countries is further compounded by depreciation of local currencies, loss of income from remittances and declining prices for export commodities.

The impact on supply chains has been heterogeneous, but COVID-19 revealed vulnerabilities in some complex and specialized supply chains, where the link between producer and consumer has been broken. While the outlook for global food supply is strong and the prices for most agricultural commodities have remained stable or even declined, the global lockdown and other containment measures may lead to local constraints in food supply and price spikes. Rising levels of poverty and unemployment have further exacerbated food insecurity in developing and developed countries, particularly in urban areas. Without rapid mitigative action, the pandemic may double the number of people at risk of dying from acute hunger, threatening severe famines in vulnerable countries.

Recovery from global lockdown requires an emphasis on building more resilient food systems. COVID-19 reinforces the need to rebalance the focus on economic efficiency of our global food system with a greater emphasis on resilience and social and environmental sustainability. Strategic decisions taken during the economic recovery phase, signals sent by policies and fiscal policy packages have the potential to lock-in development pathways for the coming years. The following considerations should be taken into account when structuring the recovery process:
i) expanding social safety nets to ensure food and nutritional security;
ii) assessing systemic risks in food systems and the role of trade and self-sufficiency;
iii) advancing innovation and the adoption of sustainable technologies and practices; and
iv) strengthening the accounting and management of natural capital.

A comprehensive approach to COVID-19 recovery and sustainable development demands further emphasis on interdisciplinary cooperation and systems thinking. It requires also a strengthening of the science policy interface, so that feed-back loops between impacts and scenario analysis, fact-based policy design, and implementation are improved. Coupled with an emphasis on open data and information access, important scientific contributions to decision making processes include:
i) strengthening near real time monitoring capabilities across the development and environmental dimensions of food systems; and
ii) providing integrated assessments of the implications of strategic choices for sustainable development pathways in a post COVID-19 world.

Item Type: Other
Uncontrolled Keywords: COVID-19
Research Programs: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Risk & Resilience (RISK)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2020 08:08
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:33

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item