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2018

Food systems approaches to a sustainable future

This policy brief conveys five key messages for this year’s Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate change (COP24), based on the outputs of the Global Food Security programme’s Paris-compliant healthy food systems workshop. This document outlines why a food systems approach is required to meet the Paris Agreement and the wider Sustainable Development Goals, as well as to ensure future food security for a rapidly growing global population in the face of ongoing climate change.

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A food systems approach to policy for health and sustainability

This report highlights the significant benefits for policymaking from a food systems approach. Thinking systemically and at an interdisciplinary level can help ensure that challenges are tackled from multiple perspectives and in a holistic way. Such an approach provides a way of identifying win-wins, managing trade-offs and mitigating less desirable outcomes, enabling stronger policy coherence across agriculture, nutrition, health, trade, climate and the environment, in both businesses and governments around the world.

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Resilience of the UK food system in a global context third call: Equality impact assessment

This document provides guidance when completing an Equality Impact Assessment (EIA). The EIA template can be found at the end of this document.

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Resilience of the UK food system in a global context third call: Call text

We are inviting expressions of interest from early career researchers at lecturer level or equivalent to take part in a Sandpit (2.5 days on 4-6 July 2018 followed by 2 days on 19-20 July 2018) to address the following question: How can we transform our food system so it is based on healthy and sustainable diets and how would this impact on sustainable and resilient food production and supply?

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2017

Game changing developments in the context of food security and future research priorities

This report details a priority questions exercise conducted by GFS’ Science Advisory Group. Findings highlight the latest contextual developments and research advances relevant to the food system, before drawing out a list of the top ten priority research questions for food security that could be addressed through interdisciplinary research.

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Insight, issue six: Paris-compliant healthy food systems

GFS Insight aims to offer a balanced and interdisciplinary representation of the current state of knowledge in a particular area relating to food security. This issue outlines the need for a food system that supports both health and the Paris climate agreement, exploring impacts of food production and consumption as well as potential interventions to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions across the system.

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Alternatives to conventional pesticides: understanding the efficacy and unintended consequences of a change in practice

Pesticides provide numerous benefits, yet pressures on their use has led to industry exploring other viable options for pest, weed and disease management. This report examines the challenges of using alternatives to conventional pesticides, and highlights future research priorities for biopesticides and Integrated Pest Management strategies.

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UN Sustainable Development Goals and the UK food retail and manufacturing business

The 17 SDGs were adopted by the UN in 2015 with the aim of driving the implementation of global sustainable development. This report details discussion at an industry focused workshop exploring how far UK food retail and manufacturing businesses are prepared for and engaged with the SDGs, and how research might help them play their part in meeting the goals.

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The carbon footprint of high-protein foods

This report explores how UK stakeholders and consumers perceive consumer-facing information that shows the carbon footprint of high-protein food products. The study was funded by the Global Food Security programme as part of the Policy Lab, in which post-doctoral researchers compete to write a report for the programme.

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Environmental tipping points and food system dynamics: Main Report

This report details outcomes and recommendations from an inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral working group considering tipping points in the food system. Their work provides evidence for the existence of environmental tipping point as well as an exploration of their potential consequences for global food security and options for risk mitigation.

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Environmental tipping points and food system dynamics: Executive Summary

Environmental tipping points occur when a biophysical system shifts from one stable state to another, potentially bringing about changes in the provision of environmental goods and services. This report provides a summary of outcomes and recommendations from an inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral working group considering potential impacts of tipping points within the food system.

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2016

Paris-compliant healthy food systems

With the global food system as a whole currently responsible for around 30% of total anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions, the agri-food sector must adapt if we are to meet the terms of the Paris climate agreement. This report details discussions at an interdisciplinary workshop considering what a Paris-compliant healthy food system might look like in practice, and mechanisms by which this kind of food system might be realised.

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Insight, issue five: Overconsumption and influences on diet

GFS Insight aims to offer a balanced and interdisciplinary representation of the current state of knowledge in a particular area relating to food security. This issue outlines the global impacts of overconsumption, exploring the varied range of dietary influences that lead to overconsuming and potential interventions for prevention.

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UK-China Workshop: Extreme weather and global food system resilience

GFS collaborated with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to hold the UK-China Workshop on extreme weather and global food system resilience. This workshop report provides an overview of how extreme weather might impact food production in China, how Chinese food policy and trade might affect the global market, and a number of shared future research priorities.

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Game-changing technologies in agriculture

This think-piece showcases new technologies with strong disruptive potential in the next decade. New technologies will play an important role in food security, given that in just a 35 year period the earth is being tasked with producing more food than it has in the last 2000 years combined.

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2015

Global Food Security Workshop: Insects as Animal Feed

It is clear that a range of different approaches and sustainable sources will be needed to meet growing demands for protein-based animal feed, one option being use of insects. This workshop report examines the potential of insects as animal feed, exploring possible issues associated with rearing insects on an industrial scale, consumer acceptability and economic viability.

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Global Food Security Workshop: Insects as Animal Feed – Annex A: Breakdown of key priorities

This annex to the Insects as Animal Feed workshop report breaks down ideas developed by the five multi-disciplinary groups around the five research priorities voted most important.

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Extreme weather and resilience of the global food system

This synthesis report presents evidence that the global food system is vulnerable to production shocks caused by extreme weather, and that this risk is growing. Preliminary analysis suggests that the risk of multi-breadbasket failure from extreme weather will triple, going from a 1-in-100 year event to a 1-in-30 year event by 2040. A number of recommendations are made to improve resilience of the food system.

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Resilience taskforce sub report – Annex A: Climate and global crop production shocks

This report presents a set of scenarios for weather-driven production shocks that are plausible in the present or near future climate. This work highlights the risks extreme weather poses to global food production, recommending further investigation into the meteorological teleconnections between major food production regions and the probability of coincident shocks in multiple breadbaskets.

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Resilience taskforce sub report – Annex B: Review of the responses to food production shocks

Impacts of extreme weather-related food production shocks can be heightened by protective policy responses that further amplify price volatility and market shocks. Through data analysis, literature reviews and expert interviews this report puts forward potential government and market responses to food production shocks in major crops that might create a more resilient food system.

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Resilience taskforce sub report – Annex C: Country Level Impacts of Global Grain Production Shocks

This report examines the impacts of potential extreme weather-related shocks to global grain production at a country level. Key recommendations include encouraging countries to take measures to reduce their exposure to grain production shocks, and more public-private partnerships to play a role in lessening the impact.

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Impacts from the Global Food Security programme

The GFS programme brings together funding agencies, government and business both domestically and internationally to address the food security challenge. We deliver impact and add value through agenda setting, focusing research priorities, coordination and collaboration, and through public engagement activities, examples of which are provided in this report.

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The principles of healthy and sustainable eating patterns

This report details outcomes and recommendations from three interdisciplinary and cross-sector working groups, considering principles of healthy and sustainable eating patterns, consumer behaviour, and sustainable consumption and growth. These working groups met as follow-on to the Green Food Project, 2012, that examined the challenges of simultaneously increasing food production and improving the environment.

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Facing the future together

Water is a critical resource under threat, so recognising the risks will be vital to understanding how water use will change in the upcoming years. This synthesis report is an amalgamation of key findings from the three water sub-reports, produced by GFS and the UK Water Partnership.

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Agriculture’s impacts on water availability

This sub-report details discussions of an interdisciplinary working group, coordinated by GFS and the UK Water Partnership. Their work explored the tensions between water availability and food production in the UK, identifying future challenges, knowledge gaps and potential methods for easing the pressure on water resources.

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Agriculture’s impacts on water quality

This sub-report details outcomes of an interdisciplinary working group, coordinated by GFS and the UK Water Partnership. Discussions focused on the routes by which high aspirations for environmental water quality could be balanced with significant growth in agricultural production, meeting food security and environmental objectives while providing viable livelihoods for farmers.

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Water use in our food imports

This sub-report details discussions of an interdisciplinary working group, coordinated by GFS and the UK Water Partnership. This report focuses on the issues presented by water availability in food trade, considering risks for different food system stakeholders when obtaining food from overseas in times of increasing global demand for fresh water.

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Nexus thinking for food security research

This workshop report identifies interdisciplinary research priorities and areas for cross-sector collaboration, in order to deliver efficient use of natural resources. It conceptualises the linkages between food, water, energy and land for future resource security and the interactions of these four areas, referred to as the ‘nexus’.

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