KU Leuven is responsible for the overall management of the project. Wageningen University will, as leader of the Management Support Team, assist the General Assembly and the Project Coordinator. Joost Vervoort (University of Oxford), Gianluca Brunori (FIRAB), Tessa Avermaete (KU Leuven) and Erik Mathijs (KU Leuven) are also members of the MST and therefore partner in WP1.
At present, the concept of food vulnerabilities is variously defined and understood, depending very often on the perspective of those involved and the geographical national context. In order to establish a more consolidated understanding of the multiple dimensions of food system vulnerabilities, it is necessary to acknowledge and understand how vulnerability is understood and discussed among a range of stakeholders and disciplines involved. Goal of WP2 is to align the multiple meanings that are attributed to food system vulnerabilities. This will contribute to developing a common understanding of FNS.
The work package results in a vulnerability matrix, i.e. an N x M table that crosses the dimensions of food system vulnerabilities (e.g. farming, ecological, health, social, economic, nutrition,…) and its sub-dimensions with drivers that may affect these dimensions. The research will go beyond the production-oriented approach on vulnerabilities and takes into account drivers related to food prices, yields, droughts, productivity changes, climate change, demographic change, shifts in food preferences, etc.
The vulnerability matrix will be accompanied by a conceptual framework identifying the most relevant concepts in the field of FNS and their connections.
The work package will be coordinated by UNIPI
The uncertainty associated with food systems and their changing contexts makes forecasting future conditions problematic and potentially dangerous. Instead, a shift is needed in policy guidance away from considering the “most probable” future to multiple plausible futures. This is particularly relevant when considering structural changes in food systems that current forecasting methods cannot capture. WP3 will develop a combination of futures methods to scope future contextual change beyond forecasting and transition pathways toward more desirable future food system configurations which will be applied together with the quantitative modelling in WP4 and in the case studies in WP5 and WP6 and synthesized in WP3 and WP4.
This work package will engage in a two-way interaction with WP2 and WP3 and the European and local case studies in WP5 and WP6. It will aid in the quantification of global drivers of European FNS through the GLOBIOM agricultural economic model which will inform and be informed by stakeholder-driven modelling of explorative scenarios. Similarly, it will quantify normative transition pathways developed by stakeholders. Furthermore, it will use the system mapping in the stakeholder-driven modelling to review the suitability and limitations of current modelling approaches used to quantify FNS and will use the GLOBIOM model as a case study to develop features of the model that have been identified as key through the stakeholder modelling but that may be underrepresented in the model.
Addressing FNS at the EU level entails actions and policies at a different (i.e., supranational) governance level that need to be taken into account as part of the global challenge for FNS. In this global context, on-going analyses and solutions identified always depend on the perspectives of stakeholders who tend to work in a silo, often neglecting the multidimensional and plural character of food insecurity. WP5 builds on WP2 and applies the methodology developed in WP3 and WP4. The aim is to take into account the different perspectives utilized by key actors in conceptualizing the EU food system dynamics and vulnerabilities and to identify a number of scenarios based on different perspectives. One implication of this would be to interview key actors and policy leaders both inside (Brussels e.g. EFSA, BRC) and outside the EU (UN, FAO, WTO,). This would give us a valuable external perspective on EU vulnerabilities.
The objectives of WP6 are:
- Downscal abstract notions of vulnerabilities and FNS concerns to the level of social action.
- Selection of FNS pathways from a broad variety of contextual settings
- In-depth analyse of FNS pathway-specific potentials and vulnerabilities
- Further exploration of FNS pathway potentials through novel participatory modelling
- Comparative analysis of FNS pathway-specific drivers, potentials and vulnerabilities
FNS has entered the political agenda in the EU. One of the key goals of this project is to identify policy responses that address currently dysfunctional food systems – the dysfunction being reflected in the wide range of associated negative health and environmental externalities and the prevalence of food poverty and food insecurity both in the developing world as well as in high income countries (including EU Member States). The challenges for coherent policy formulation are compounded by the fact the FNS is an issue that criss-crosses several policy domains including agriculture and rural development, food, (curative and preventive) health care, environment and social affairs and necessitates interventions at different levels of policy-making from supranational agreements to local governance. The focus of WP7 is the formulation of policy recommendations, informed by the findings and insights from the preceding WPs.
The aim of WP8 is to create awareness and understanding between scientists and practitioners on the outcomes of the project, and to ensure the communication of the results obtained in WP7 to policy makers, stakeholders in the European food chain, researchers, and consumer groups.