The ongoing COVID-19 health crisis continues to expose vulnerabilities in food systems, highlighting the insecurity of rural livelihoods, the tragedy of food loss and waste, and the stark inequities in access to healthy food. The upcoming, first-ever UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), presents a unique opportunity to bring together stakeholders from across the food value chain to address these challenges and unlock barriers to sustainable food systems transformation.
Absurd quantities of food are lost and wasted every year in a world where 700 million people go hungry each day and where planetary boundaries are being exceeded by unsustainable food production. Drastic reduction of food loss and waste is therefore imperative and will be an essential part of the UNFSS agenda.
This policy seminar will serve as a platform to discuss actionably, “game-changing” solutions to reduce food loss and waste on a global scale (SDG 12.3) and provide inputs to the UNFSS agenda. Built around the Champions 12.3 Initiative and the Technical Platform for the Measurement and Reduction of Food Loss and Waste, the seminar will be held, fittingly, on March 12 (12.3).
Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Johan Swinnen became director general of IFPRI in January 2020. Prior to joining IFPRI, Dr. Swinnen was professor of economics and director of the LICOS Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance at KU Leuven (Belgium) and senior research fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels.
Dr. Swinnen was a lead economist at the World Bank from 2003 to 2004 and economic adviser to the European Commission from 1998 to 2001. Over the course of his career, Dr. Swinnen has been a visiting professor at various universities, including at Stanford University’s Center on Food Security and the Environment, and a frequent adviser to institutions such as the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Dr. Swinnen earned his PhD from Cornell University (USA) and holds honorary doctorates from the University of Göttingen (Germany) and the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra (Slovakia). He is a fellow of the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association and the European Association of Agricultural Economists, and he served as president of the International Association of Agricultural Economists from 2012 to 2015.
Dr. Swinnen has published extensively on agricultural and food policies, international development, political economy, institutional reforms, trade, and global value chains, and his body of work has been widely cited. His books include The Political Economy of Agricultural and Food Policies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018); Quality Standards, Value Chains and International Development (Cambridge University Press, 2015); Political Power and Economic Policy: Theory and Empirical Applications (Cambridge University Press, 2011); and From Marx and Mao to the Market: The Economics and Politics of Agricultural Transition (Oxford University Press, 2006).
Dr Richard Swannell, Development Director at WRAP, has spent his career working on ways of reducing our impact on the
environment. Richard’s first degree was in Biochemistry and he has a Doctorate in Environmental Engineering.
During his career at WRAP, his teams have focused on delivering a more sustainable, resource efficient and more circular economy, particularly in food and drink.
Richard has worked on environmental issues for more than 25 years, covering a broad range of topics from resource efficiency to sustainability. For example he has developed biotechnology solutions to treat air pollution and investigated novel approaches to cleaning soil and groundwater. His previous roles include leading an international team developing novel ways of treating oil pollution, heading product development for an environmental consultancy business and Deputy Director of Envirowise, driving resource efficiency in business. More recently, he has led teams that build successful business partnerships that reduce waste, particularly food and packaging, recycle more and deliver more sustainable supply chains. Richard joined WRAP in 2004 and became a Director in 2006.
As Development Director, Richard leads on developing and delivering WRAP’s international and new product development strategies. This includes WRAP’s new work on helping people eat more healthily and sustainably and on seeking new partnerships to achieve impact internationally. A particular focus is on delivering the relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals e.g. 12.3 on halving food waste reduction. Richard also leads WRAP’s Research, Evaluation and Economics teams.
Craig Hanson guides programmatic strategy, catalyzes projects, and ensures a focus on results, financial development, and strong staff capacity. Craig has co-developed a number of leading initiatives, including Global Forest Watch, the Global Restoration Initiative, the Forest Legality Alliance, the Food Loss and Waste Protocol, Champions 12.3, the Better Buying Lab, Resource Watch, the Food and Land Use Coalition, Cities4Forests and the Ocean initiative. He is a co-author of the current World Resources Report, Creating a Sustainable Food Future, and lead author on publications such as The Restoration Diagnostic and the Corporate Ecosystem Services Review.
Previously at WRI, Craig managed the Green Power Market Development Group, a coalition of a dozen Fortune 500 companies that helped pioneer corporate energy markets in the United States. This initiative won a U.S. EPA Innovation Award in 2004.
Craig spent five years as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company. Craig holds a Master’s in Environmental Change & Management from Oxford University. While at Oxford, he also earned a Master’s degree in Philosophy, Politics, & Economics with an emphasis on environmental economics while on a Rhodes Scholarship.
Rob Vos, a national of the Netherlands, holds a Ph.D. and an M.Sc. with honors in Economics from the Free University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. He is Director of the Markets, Trade, and Institutions Division (MTID) at IFPRI since September 2017. Previously, he was Director of Agricultural Development Economics at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), responsible for economic analysis and policy support for sustainable agricultural development and food security. In that capacity, he was responsible for FAO’s flagship publications the ‘State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI)’ and the ‘State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA).’ Since joining FAO in 2013, he has also served as director for social protection, rural employment, and gender equality and as coordinator of FAO’s strategic program for rural poverty reduction.
Prior to his appointment to FAO, Rob was the Director of Development Policy and Analysis in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), New York. In that capacity he was responsible for the UN flagship publications “World Economic Situation and Prospects” and the “World Economic and Social Survey”. He also served as Secretary of the UN Committee for Development Policy and coordinated the Secretary-General’s Millennium Development Goals’ Gap Task Force as well as the UN Task Team for the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda.
Rob was also Professor of Finance and Development at the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University, where he still holds an honorary professorship.
In addition, Rob has extensive academic and advisory work experience covering a broad range of development issues, including trade policy, inequality and poverty; financing for development; poverty and social policy analysis; and macroeconomic and general equilibrium modeling for development policy. His most recent book publications include Climate Protection and Development (with Frank Ackerman and Richard Kozul-Wright; Bloomsbury Academic, 2012), Retooling Global Economic Governance (with Manuel F. Montes, Bloomsbury Academic 2013), Financing Human Development (with Marco Sánchez, Bloomsbury Academic 2014), and Development Strategies for the Post-2015 Era (with J.A. Alonso and G. A. Cornia, Bloomsbury Academic 2014) and Technology Change for Sustainable Development (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016).