An 'IPCC for Food'? How the UN Food Systems Summit is being used to advance a problematic new science-policy agenda


This brief demonstrates that:

The calls for a new 'IPCC for Food' originated from a small group of actors whose views
have been amplified by a powerful network of organizations, many of which are closely
aligned with business and industry. These groups are using the UN Food Systems
Summit to promote their 'game-changing' proposal.

Many of the functions of the proposed science-policy interface for food systems are
already fulfilled by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition in its
role vis-à-vis the UN Committee on World Food Security.

Several of the roles envisaged for an 'IPCC for Food' such as conducting new research
with the goal of resolving controversies could actually undermine a serious and fair
consideration of complex issues that must be seen from multiple perspectives.

Unlike the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition, plans for a new
science-policy interface do not appear to involve broad stakeholder consultation and
incorporation of different forms of knowledge elements that should be a fundamental
part of good food systems science and are important for legitimacy.

It is unclear to which intergovernmental body the new panel would provide policy
advice. This raises important questions about the underlying political ambition of this
proposal and its implications for food systems governance.

The Scientific Group of the UN Food Systems Summit, which serves as an 'early
experiment' for the new science-policy interface, falls short in several respects: it is non-
transparent; is imbalanced in its composition and biased in its perspectives and sources
of knowledge; is unreflexive about the relationships between food systems and society;
and is pursuing a business-oriented 'technology and innovation' agenda.


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