Good food for the people and the planet

January 27, 2019

Costa Rica will host the Second Global Conference of the UN Sustainable Food Systems Programme


The event will bring together more than 150 participants from around the world, to discuss how to address the urgent challenge of transforming our currently unsustainable food systems through a more systemic approach, which can simultaneously address all forms of malnutrition, environmental degradation, and inclusive prosperity.

January 25, 2019, San José, Costa Rica. The second Global Conference of the Sustainable Food Systems Programme of the UN’s One Planet Network will be held between 5-7 February on Costa Rican soil. The aim of the second conference will be to further strengthen multi-stakeholder action, and to trigger increased political commitment to address the urgent need to transition to sustainable food systems.

Following the call by the UN’s High Level Political Forum 2018 Ministerial Declaration that encouraged “all stakeholders to adopt a sustainable food systems approach”, the 2nd global conference represents a concrete opportunity to start responding to this important challenge.

The SFS Programme is a global multi-stakeholder partnership with over 150 global members with the aim to accelerate the shift towards more sustainable consumption and production across all the elements that form our food systems. The SFS Programme defends that a more holistic approach is required in order to successfully address the multiple challenges present today in our unsustainable food systems.

Following this rationale, the theme of the conference is “Good Food for People and the Planet – Working together towards 2030”, which highlights the interaction between natural resources, livelihoods, and nutrition, and which underscores the need to apply a systemic approach that involves multiple stakeholders – including the most vulnerable or disadvantaged groups – for the identification and implementation of solutions. The conference also emphasizes the importance of taking action on food systems as a means to ensure the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, given the cross-cutting nature of food.

The event is hosted by the Government of Costa Rica, under the leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG); the Government of Switzerland; UN Environment; Hivos; the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), with the support of the Government of Germany (Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety); and the technical support of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The conference will be held at IICA’s headquarters, in Coronado.

Welcoming more than 150 participants from across governmental entities, private sector companies, civil society organizations, research institutions and UN agencies, the conference will feature various speakers, including the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Renato Alvarado Rivera; the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Hilal Elver; Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic to FAO, IFAD & WFP and Chair of the FAO Committee on World Food Security (CFS), H.E. Mario Arvelo and the Director of Hivos and Latin America and the Caribbean, Myrtille Danse.

Also participating in the meeting will be the Lawrence Haddad, winner of the World Food Prize (2018) and Executive Director of the Global Alliance to Improve Nutrition (GAIN); the Secretary of State and General Director of the Federal Office of Agriculture of Switzerland; Bernard Lehmann, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Mesoamerica and Non-Resident Representative of Costa Rica, Adoniram Sanches; and the Deputy Director General of IICA, Lloyd Day, and Myrtille Danse, among other high-level international experts representing different sectors.

In addition, the conference has been registered to opt for the Ecological Blue Flag-category of Special Events, which will feature for the first time a parameter on the management of food waste, promoted by the event’s Organizing Committee and the Costa Rican Network for Loss Reduction and waste of food with its members. This is a free and voluntary badge that will recognize if during the event, there was evidence of agreement with the protection of natural resources, the implementation of actions to face climate change, the prevention of food waste, the search for better hygienic sanitary conditions and the improvement of public health.

Parallel activities: Learning, seeing, tasting


Prior to the main event, we will host two exciting activities: A learning workshop and a photo exhibition.

Learning workshop:

Sustainable, healthy and inclusive gastronomy as a key driver for sustainable food systems


On Friday, February 1st, we will hold a workshop on healthy, inclusive and sustainable gastronomy. We have organized this activity along the Costa Rican Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Smaackmaker and IFOAM. On this workshop, we will showcase our joint experiences based on nine case studies from different regions, presented by Slow Food (Ecuador and Kenya), Ethos (Mexico), CACORE (Costa Rica), FUCOGA (Costa Rica), Smaackmakers (Netherlands), The Nordic Council (Nordic countries), MIGA (Bolivia) and Cook & Chef Institute (Peru).

The workshop aims to generate discussions around best practices and lessons learned from diverse gastronomic experiences as well as recommend actions to formulate a global proposal on healthy, inclusive and sustainable gastronomy.

  • Where? Bougainvillea Hotel, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica‎
  • When? Friday, February 1st

Photo exhibition:

The Bolivian Diet: Women’s Voices and Choices


This exhibition explores Bolivian people’s diets and how they are shaped by the local food system in and around La Paz. Ten women who feed their families, or make a living from the food economy, including farmers, vendors, cooks and consumers describe what they eat on a daily basis. They discuss the importance of food emotionally and physically, and identify changes they would like to see in the promotion of food from farm to plate. Their testimonies show a food system that has the potential to embrace the countries agricultural bio-diversity, but is instead largely dominated by highly processed fast food.

This exhibition is presented in the context of IIED’s and Hivos’ Sustainable Diets for All program.

  • Where? IICA, San Isidro de Coronado, San José, Costa Rica
  • When? Monday February 4th through Thursday 7th

Learn more about all the Conference’s activities at the official Conference Website.