The World Food Prize Foundation

Perspectives on Food Systems Resilience

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Perspectives on Food Systems Resilience in COVID-19

April 16, 2020 | Time: 10:00AM Eastern Time / 16:00PM European Standard Time / 22:00PM China Standard Time

The World Food Prize Foundation’s Digital Dialogue addressed the pressing issue of COVID-19 and its impacts on the global food system. Speakers shared the importance of international collaboration to ensure that efforts are impactful. They emphasized the vital role of capacity building at the local level for immediate and effective community response to disruptions. All three speakers highlighted the untapped potential of mobilizing innovations from the private sector to address the food system shock from this pandemic. 

Audience Questions

  1. What would some of the immediate actions to build resilient food systems for all, and ensure that future food systems are inclusive for the most vulnerable? What are the social safety nets that are necessary? 
  2. What is the state of food security data currently available putting into consideration the recent Locust invasion in Eastern Africa?
  3. Lockdown and social distancing measures have disproportionate impacts on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and people working in the informal sector. What are longer-term sustainable solutions to protect these groups that are most vulnerable?
  4. Are there currently research efforts being undertaken to understand dimensions of resilience to food insecurity in slum settlements?
  5. How can we protect farmers and countries' whose income are dependent on agricultural exports?
  6. How can we capitalize on farmer organizations and digital technology to mitigate the short and medium-term impacts of COVID-19?
  7. When do you think the "peak" of global food supply chain disruption will occur?
  8. COVID-19 has surged to the top of everyone's priorities. How does this impact other priorities such as environmentally responsible farming or mitigating climate change? How will we reprioritize after COVID-19?
  9. What level of external financial assistance will be required to address major food system issues - and what is the gap relative to what has already been pledged?
  10. What gives you hope about global food systems in the time of COVID-19?


Catherine Bertini - Distinguished Fellow, Chicago Council on Global Affairs; 2003 World Food Prize Laureate

Catherine Bertini is a distinguished fellow of global food and agriculture at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. For ten years, she was executive director of the United Nations World Food Program, the world’s largest international humanitarian agency. She was awarded the 2003 World Food Prize for her groundbreaking leadership there. Bertini was UN Under Secretary General for Management and the UN Security Coordinator.  She led the US domestic nutrition programs as USDA assistant secretary for food and consumer services and the nation’s assistance program for single mothers at HHS. She was on the Board of International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD). Bertini was senior fellow on the first agriculture team at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and served as a fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation. She is chair of the board of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). 

Shenggen Fan - Professor, China Agricultural University; World Food Prize Council of Advisors

Dr. Shenggen Fan (樊胜根) is Chair Professor at China Agricultural University. He served as Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) from 2009 through 2019. He is one of the Champions of Target 12.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals, dedicated to cutting global food loss and waste. He serves as a member of the Lead Group for the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. He serves as advisor to many national governments on agriculture, food security and nutrition. 

In 2017, Dr Fan received the Fudan Management Excellence Award, referred to in China as the “Nobel Prize for Management.” In 2014, Dr Fan received the Hunger Hero Award from the World Food Programme for his commitment to and leadership in fighting hunger worldwide. Dr. Fan received a PhD in applied economics from the University of Minnesota and bachelor’s & master’s degrees from Nanjing Agricultural University in China. 

David Nabarro - Special Envoy of WHO Director General on COVID-19; 2018 World Food Prize Laureate

From March 2020, David Naborro serves as Special Envoy of WHO Director General on COVID-19. David is currently Co-Director (since mid-2019) and Chair of Global Health at the Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College, London.  He is Strategic Director of the Swiss-based social enterprise 4SD (Skills Systems and Synergies for Sustainable Development), established in 2017, training and mentoring leaders for sustainable development. In 2017, he was awarded the World Food Prize for work in advancing nutrition. 

David is co-chair of the forum on Climate Change and Health which will complete its work at the World Innovation Summit for Health, November 2020.  Since June 2018 David has curated the Food Systems Dialogues as a contribution to the transformation of food systems: they have involved more than 1700 leaders in 29 locations within the last 18 months. From July 2018 David contributed to preparations for the UN’s September 2019 Climate Action Summit. David co-facilitated the coalition that advanced the Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) workstream (co-led by China and New Zealand). 

From 1999 to 2017, David was an official of the UN, serving in various positions: senior UN systems coordinator for avian and human influenza, Coordinator of the High-Level Task Force on Global Food Security, Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement, Chair of the Advisory Group on reform of the WHO’s work in outbreaks and emergencies, Head of the UN’s response to cholera in Haiti, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on Ebola, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for food security and nutrition, and Special adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

Moderator: Barbara Stinson - President, World Food Prize Foundation

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