International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) (IPES-Food)

Identity card

The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) was founded in 2014 in order to fill a gap in global debates on food and farming systems. By combining knowledge across multiple scientific disciplines with insights from civil society and social movements, IPES-Food brings together expert voices to provide independent, authoritative analysis on what reforms are required to build sustainable food systems, and how these changes might occur in a context of major power imbalances. The panel is co-chaired by Olivier De Schutter, former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, and Olivia Yambi, nutritionist and former UNICEF representative to Kenya.

IPES-Food’s first thematic report, From Uniformity to Diversity (2016), made the case for a paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems and identified 8 ‘lock-ins’ holding back transition. The panel’s report, ‘Too Big to Feed’ (2017), zoomed in one of these lock-ins – concentration of power – in considering the impacts of the recent spate of mega-mergers in the agri-food sector. A further report, ‘Unravelling the Food-Health Nexus’ (2017), provided a comprehensive overview of the health impacts of industrial food systems and underlined the case for wholesale reform on the grounds of protecting human health. A case studies report on urban food policies (2017) drew lessons from five cities around the world to understand how to overcome barriers to put sustainable food policies in place. Since 2016, IPES-Food has also been convening multi-stakeholder processes in Europe and West Africa to co-develop food policy blueprints with civil society groups, scientists, policymakers and food and farming organizations.


The panel’s objectives are to:

  • Conduct transdisciplinary research on sustainable food systems, identifying gaps in knowledge;

  • Shape the understanding of all actors in the food systems, including governments, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations (including civil society bodies) and the scientific community, concerning the challenges food systems face and the pathways towards transition to sustainable food systems, taking into account the power imbalances that may be an obstacle to reform;

  • Encourage, promote and support policies at all levels that can accelerate the transition to sustainable food systems;

  • Convene diverse groups of stakeholders to inform the work of the panel and to develop a shared understanding of obstacles to and opportunities for reform.

Related programmes

Modes of action

  • networking of actors
  • advocacy, lobbying, influence strategy
  • media actions: pamphlet, opinion paper, campaign
  • legal action
  • meetings, exchanges, assemblies
  • diffusion of best pratices creation of labels
  • case studies, models and simulations
  • development of participatory tools and methods
  • non-governmental, citizen democracy
  • research, analysis

Target audience

  • policy-makers
  • European institutions
  • European civil society
  • researchers, scientists
  • organised civil society

Thematic areas

  • governance
  • economy
  • agriculture and food
  • environment
  • local territory management
  • research and technological innovation
  • Climate energy
  • democracy
  • culture