Prioritising Action in Food Systems

Workstream two - Prioritising Action in Food Systems - aims to improve the enabling environment for business to advance nutrition, and where in the food system action is needed.

GAIN is developing two tools for use by governments and other stakeholders to understand where in the food system action is needed, and how the enabling environment for businesses in nutrition can be improved.

  • The Food Systems Dashboard brings together extant data from public and private sources to help decision makers understand their food systems, identify their levers of change and decide which ones need to be pulled
  • The Enabling Business to Advance Nutrition Index (EBANI) seeks to identify through an appropriate set of metrics, the presence of policy and legislative enablers for private sector investment in safe nutritious food in SUN countries

Starting in 2018, GAIN and Johns Hopkins University (JHU) assembled a team and utilized seed funds from a multi-donor programme managed by GAIN (Making Markets Work) and the Presidents Fund at JHU to develop the aims of the Dashboard, clarify audiences, and identify a conceptual framework to organise data. The team then identified data sources and specific indicators that could describe different elements of food systems, using large databases published online, academic publications, and in some cases reaching out directly to researchers or organizations, including Euromonitor, with whom an MoU was negotiated to enable multiyear access to private-sector food sales and retailing data. In early 2019, GAIN and JHU began work with iTech Mission to develop an appealing, functional and easy-to-use online interface for the Dashboard. This was launched on an open-access platform in June of 2020.

In addition to maintaining, curating, and updating the Dashboard, the team has begun working on important new features: diagnosing food systems and deciding on actions, and engaging with countries to help facilitate the use and scale-up of the Dashboard for improved decision making to advance human and planetary health. Much of this work will be analytical, identifying action priorities at the national level; it will also involve extensive capacity development - of individuals from the public and private sectors and of units within governments and other public agencies to use the Dashboard and other data to construct better National Food System Action Plans (as called for by the 2020 Japan N4G draft Commitments).

EBANI primarily serves as a national diagnostic and visualization tool that can identify opportunities and gaps, thereby facilitating discussion, advocacy and the provision of key recommendation to governments on how they can make their policy and legislative environments more enabling for businesses to contribute to advancing positive nutrition outcomes. EBANI has identified a set of 20 indicators to measure the presence of policy enablers which incentive business to act and invest responsibly in nutrition. Research has been conducted across 30 low and middle countries within the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. Country reports and regional analysis will be produced by EBANI by October 2020 to spur discussions with policymakers at country and regional level on how to prioritise further actions to implement policies to advance responsible investment by business in nutrition. 

Key message

Ultimately, the goal is for the Dashboard to be the first place decision-makers from government, business, donors, the UN, NGOs, and researchers go to find curated, high-quality data and analytics on their country’s food system. In 5 years, we want tangible evidence that the Dashboard is leading to better quality decision making, which in turn is equitably advancing nutrition, mitigating climate change, promoting the sustainability of natural resource use, and creating jobs and livelihoods.

EBANI will support policymakers to identify gaps in the enabling environment, which if addresses, can spur responsible investment by the private sector in nutrition.

Facts & Figures

  • The Dashboard houses snapshots of food systems of more than 230 countries and territories by bringing together data for over 170 indicators from 35 sources.
  • EBANI will support 30 Countries with assessments of their enabling environment for business and nutrition.




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