Hivos International

Sustainable Diets for All

The world is producing more food than ever, yet the current food system is unequal. A world where people have access to healthy and nutritious food produced in a manner that ensures food security now and in the future, is a fundamental challenge of our time.

This is due to the current bias of existing food systems towards large-scale mono-cropping of maize, soy, wheat and palm oil is eroding ecosystems and crop diversity globally, reducing diversity on our plates. Moreover, resulting obesity and micronutrient deficiencies have become serious problems threatening public health. This is further worsened by a food industry that promotes a ‘global diet’ of ultra-processed foods high in meat, fats, sugar and salt.

Radical thinking for climate-smart food systems and sustainable diets

We need a radical, system-wide, rethink of food production and consumption, recognising the health of both people and ecosystems as the basic foundations for human wellbeing. Food systems need to shift from just producing food to providing sustainable and healthy diets for all. All parts of the food system need to be addressed, from production and processing, to trade, retailing and consumption.

Citizens play a vital role and putting them centre stage is crucial to building a new food system that enables women and men, young and old, to use and develop their knowledge to further improve the diversity in production and consumption systems.

About the Sustainable Diets for All programme

Sustainable Diets for All (SD4ALL) is an advocacy programme that uses evidence, including evidence generated by citizens, to help low- income communities in Zambia, Uganda, Indonesia and Bolivia improve their access to sustainable, diverse and nutritious food. The 5-year (2016-2020) programme is coordinated by Hivos, the International Institute for the Environment and Development (IIED), and partners in the focal countries. Sustainable Diets for All is funded by the 'Dialogue and Dissent' Strategic Partnership with the Dutch Foreign Ministry.

The goal of Sustainable Diets for All is to work with citizens and partner organisations to influence policies, market practices, government actors and international institutions to promote diets which are diverse, healthy, fair and green.  Our programme aims to build the lobbying and advocacy capacity of CSOs in selected countries to jointly challenge unsustainable practices and incentives in food production and consumption, while fostering changes in policies and practices that help make sustainable diets attainable for all.

From citizen action to multi-stakeholder coalitions

Our programme empowers citizens, and civil society at large, to amplify their voices in local and (inter)national food policy debates. Evidence generated by citizens, especially women, will allow them to communicate their ideas, concerns and aspirations directly to policymakers, compelling them to act and to be accountable. Greater involvement by low-income consumers and producers will give them greater influence and control over the food they grow, sell, buy and eat. The private sector will be encouraged to provide more diverse, healthy and sustainable choices for consumers and producers.

A key element of the programme is building multi-stakeholder coalitions and using innovative facilitation methodologies like Food Change Labs, in which multiple actors share knowledge, evidence and ideas, and together develop local, national and international examples of how food systems can be transformed.

Our track record

Over the past 40 years, Hivos has supported cooperatives and smallholder farmer organisations in food commodities to improve livelihoods by developing sustainable entrepreneurship, accessing green (micro-) financing and exchanging knowledge. Additionally, Hivos has a track record of supporting social innovation and a large network of civil society organisations (CSOs) and progressive food enterprises that foster positive pathways and programmes.This provides us with a broad platform where people can come together to create positive and innovative solutions and contribute to more diverse and climate-smart food systems.

IIED builds bridges: between local and global, policy and practice, rich and poor, government and private sector, and across diverse interest groups. IIED’s strength lies in its combination of research and action—generating robust evidence and know-how that is informed by a practical perspective acquired through hands-on research with grassroots partners and has a track record of 35 years of policy influence through environment and development research in partnership with local organisations.