INFORMAS 2.0 - Harmonised indicators for measuring progress toward more sustainable, healthier food systems

Last updated on 15-5-2024 by Stefanie Vandevijvere
Project duration:
December 1, 2020
October 31, 2024

In short

Changing food systems is one of the most impactful ways to address nutrition and health climate change and environmental degradation. 

Current food systems contribute to:

  • about one fifth of the world’s ill-health
  • major nutritional inequities for undernutrition and obesity
  • 25-30% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • most of biodiversity loss

The Lancet Global Syndemic Commission identified common, underlying drivers of obesity, undernutrition and climate change and proposed triple duty actions to address all three. Civil society (NGOs, academia) can provide independent accountability for implementing such triple duty actions, with the right tools, training and networks. The monitoring platform of INFORMAS (International Network for Food and Obesity/NCDs Research Monitoring and Action Support), founded in 2013, engages with local researchers and actors in measuring a set of upstream indicators and determining key priorities for policy implementation. INFORMAS has a wide network (>50 countries), but currently focuses only on obesity/chronic diseases policies and food environments at the national level. 

INFORMAS plans to expand to:

  1. incorporate sustainability indicators of food and nutrition policy implementation for both public and private sector actors and for measuring food environments
  2. include municipal/city in addition to national governments. 

Project description

An INFORMAS working group on Food Sustainability is created to support the module teams to include sustainability indicators into existing protocols and tools. These will measure:

  • the health and sustainability credentials of food-related actions of governments (both national and municipal/city governments)
  • food companies and the consequent healthiness and sustainability of several aspects of food environments (e.g. cost, supply, labelling, food in schools, food retail). 

This project tests the developed sustainability indicators for 3 monitoring modules: 

  • public sector policy implementation (Food-EPI tool – national and local governments)
  • private sector action (BIA-obesity tool), and cost of diets (Dietcost tool) in African and 
  • Latin American countries and update protocols, training and networks for further implementation. 

Project General Objective:
To strengthen the participatory monitoring and accountability INFORMAS platform for measuring and supporting policy progress towards healthy and sustainable food systems.

Project Specific Objectives:

  • Define and track priority actions for public (at municipal and national level) and private actors for healthy and sustainable food systems
  • Adapt and strengthen protocols for three modules (public sector, private sector and diet cost) with respect to food system sustainability, through pilot testing in a range of national and municipal jurisdictions, in low and middle income countries in Africa and Latin America.
  • Strengthen support systems (leadership, protocol management, training, networking, communications, data systems) and consultative and advisory mechanisms to inform the integration of sustainability indicators into the existing INFORMAS framework.

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