A global food systems framework for pandemic prevention, response, and recovery
COVID-19 has highlighted the dynamic relationship between pandemic threats and global food systems. Despite important connections, research and policy-making on food systems and pandemics largely operate in silos. We propose a framework that integrates food systems and pandemic planning and response, exploring the role of the food system in shaping pandemics and, consequently, the role of pandemics in disrupting a now global food system. This framework highlights important connections between food production, distribution, and consumption at each stage of the pandemic cycle: prevention, response, and recovery. We use recent experiences with COVID-19 to illustrate vulnerabilities in systems interaction during the prevention and response phases. Over the long term, in the recovery phase, food systems must transform, adopting an enhanced level of functioning to improve resilience. To reduce population health risks and promote sustainable food systems, we call for implementation of surveillance systems for both emerging infections and food systems functioning in order to strengthen global food supply chains, create stakeholder resource coordination mechanisms, and address underlying socioeconomic vulnerabilities. Multidisciplinary global actors should draw on lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent the inevitable next one.
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