Climate Change and Food Systems Principles

In order to support stakeholders in using a system approach for making choices about mitigation and adaptations interventions, we propose a set of Climate Change and Food Systems Principles. These Principles, which can be used by stakeholders to explore the systems-level implications of specific opportunities, should be tested and improved through stakeholder engagement. Decisions can also be improved and supported through additional research both on specific food systems activities, but – more importantly – deeper systems-level analysis of how mitigation and adaptation affect the overall food system potentially using analytical frameworks, such as the Framework for Assessing Effects of the Food System in the US (2015). 

Climate Change Food Systems Principles 

  • Interconnectedness: Examine overall systems-level impacts (including impacts on health, ecosystems, equity) from specific mitigation and adaptation interventions.
  • Equity: Pursue mitigation and adaptation interventions that respect human rights and ethical considerations, support sustainable livelihoods, access to healthy and nutritious food, gender equality and environmental justice.
  • Resilience: Support interventions that enhance the adaptive ability of diverse biophysical, economic, socio-cultural, and other systems to a changing climate.
  • Renewability: Advance interventions that support the restorative capacity of diverse natural and social resources that are the foundation of a healthy planet and future generations.
  • Responsiveness: Design interventions that are able to respond to unanticipated rapid or significant changes in an uncertain future.
  • Transparency: Be transparent about the effects of mitigation and adaptation interventions throughout the system, including impacts on health, equity, diversity, and sustainability.
  • Scale:  Evaluate the scale of impact from interventions – positive, negative, and neutral – in food systems.
  • Evaluation: Assess systems-level changes within a systems change evaluation framework using appropriate systemic measures of mitigation and adaptation interventions and their interactions.  

The Principles above include, but are not limited to, those adopted and adapted from the Global Alliance for the Future of Food. Examples of how these principles could be applied are provided in Section 5 of the Report.