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Ep29: Joachim von Braun on an 'IP for Food'

Episode summary

Joachim von Braun, former Chair of the Scientific Group for the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit, lays out the importance of an inclusive process and multi-disciplinary scientific collaboration to meet the calls for food system transformation. Dr von Braun joins us to talk about his experience as Chair, what he sees as the successes of the summit, and what work remains to be done. We also discuss who should be involved in knowledge production and how, and we hear his thoughts on whether we should create an Intergovernmental Panel for Food (not unlike the IPCC) that would have the power to work towards scientific consensus on food system issues.

[ Transcript available ]

About Joachim von Braun and the Scientific Group

Joachim von Braun wears many hats. He is the Director at the Center for Development Research (Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung, ZEF) and Professor of Economic and Technological Change at the University of Bonn. He was appointed for a second four-year term as president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 2021. From 2002-2009, he served as the director of IFPRI (International Food Policy Research Institute).

From 2019-2021, he served as Chair of the Scientific Group for the the UN Food Systems Summit. The ScGroup:

  • served as an independent and diverse group of leading researchers and scientists from around the world, and
  • was responsible for ensuring the robustness, breadth and independence of the science that underpinned the Summit and its outcomes.

You can read the ScGroup's publications here. In a letter to the UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed, Joachim von Braun wrote, "Never before has science had the opportunity through an independent role to contribute in such ways to the agenda of a food summit." In a response back, Amina J. Mohammed wrote, "The Group is leaving a powerful legacy of knowledge and I welcome that this will remain the public domain."


Background reading and resources

Publications by the Scientific Group

Healthy diet – A definition for the United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021 (Neufeld, Hendriks and Hugas, 2021)

Food Systems – Definition, Concept and Application for the UN Food Systems Summit (von Braun et al. 2021)

Support for an IP for Food

Nature editorial: Does the fight against hunger need its own IPCC? (2021)

News article: The world urgently needs an intergovernmental panel for food systems (Dunphy, 2021)

Critiques of IP for Food

Do we need a new science-policy interface for food systems? (Turnhout et al., 2021)

An 'IPCC for Food'? How the UN Food Systems Summit is being used to advance a problematic new science-policy agenda (Clapp et al., 2021)

TABLE resources and efforts to facilitate constructive debates

What is food security? (Fraanje and Lee-Gammage, 2018), and other TABLE Explainers

TABLE hosted event on whose evidence counts? (2021), and more Events


Related Feed podcast episodes

Busiso Moyo on the Right to Food

Sophia Murphy on Getting the Global Rules Right

Jessica Duncan on "We eat, drink and breathe food policy"

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