13 October 2020
Side event of the International Borlaug Dialogue 2020
Virtual meeting 10:00 – 11:30 CDT (17:00- 18:30 CEST)

Transformations within reach: Resilient food systems

How do we ensure that disruptions to food supply caused by crises like COVID-19 do not disproportionately impact the poor and marginalized? This virtual meeting will focus on how the post-COVID recovery process could catalyze paths towards more resilient and sustainable food systems.

© Amonsak | Dreamstime

© Amonsak | Dreamstime

The humanitarian and socioeconomic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the conditions for development. The coronavirus pandemic is a shock to the system that has led to food crises in many parts of the world. Global food supplies have been disrupted, both nationally and globally, due to measures put in place to control the spread of COVID-19. The number of people suffering from chronic hunger – estimated at well over 800 million before the crisis – could jump dramatically. The World Food Program has warned that by the end of 2020, an additional 130 million people could face famine.


As part of an initiative to explore how the world can recover from the coronavirus crisis sustainably, IIASA and the International Science Council (ISC) have partnered to create a Consultative Science Platform – for consultation, deliberation, and collaboration among scientists, policymakers, and representatives from civil society. As part of this initiative an interactive discussion on Transformations within reach: Resilient food systems has been organized as part of the side event of the International Borlaug Dialogue 2020.

This virtual meeting will present key insights and areas for transformative action that have emerged from extensive consultations with the scientific community and complementary applied research initiatives. Leaders from academia and governments will discuss observed and expected near-term impacts of the pandemic on the food system and highlight key entry points for action to ensure that the post-COVID recovery process aids the transformation of food systems towards greater resilience and sustainability.


  • Albert van Jaarsveld, Director General and CEO of IIASA
  • Flavia Schlegel, Special Envoy for Science in Global Policy of ISC
  • Barbara Stinson, President, World Food Prize Foundation
  • Ismail Serageldin, Emeritus Librarian of Alexandria; Patron of ISC; Chair of IIASA- Consultative Science Platform meetings for Resilient Food Systems
  • HE Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Former President of Mauritius 
  • Eric K. Ogunleye, Advisor to the Vice President & Chief Economist, African Development Bank
  • Petr Havlik, Acting Program Director of Ecosystems Services and Management Program– IIASA, Lead of Resilient Food Systems theme of the IIASA-ISC Consultative Science Platform
  • Ismahane A. Elouafi, Director General, International Center for Biosaline Agriculture 
  • Taher Kahil, Research Scholar with the Water Program – IIASA
  • Moderator: Frank Sperling, Alt. Lead of Resilient Food Systems theme of the IIASA-ISC Consultative Science Platform, ESM, IIASA

Please find the agenda here.

This event will take place virtually, please register to attend the zoom webinar, a link will be sent to you after registration.


Starting in May 2020, IIASA and the International Science Council (ISC) launched the IIASA – ISC Consultative Science Platform: Bouncing Forward Sustainably – Pathways to a post COVID World. The two organizations have drawn on their combined strengths, expertise, and large scientific communities, to come up with a set of insights and key areas for transformative action based on a series of online consultations that have brought together over 200 experts from all regions of the world.

These online consultations have focused on four themes: strengthening science systems, responsive governance, resilient food systems, and sustainable energy, co-led by scientists from IIASA and the ISC.

The platform is informed and supported by an advisory board under the patronage of the former UN Secretary General, H.E. Ban Ki-moon and the Chair of the Elders H.E. Mary Robinson. Currently, the initiative has the following partners: Ban Ki-moon Center, Future Earth, the Earth League, and the Vienna Energy Forum.

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Last edited: 15 October 2020


Petr Havlik

Research Group Leader and Principal Research Scholar Integrated Biosphere Futures Research Group - Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 511

Frank Sperling

Senior Project Manager Integrated Biosphere Futures Research Group - Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 527


Mathieu Denis

Science Director

More information

IIASA-ISC Consultative Science Platform

Bouncing Forward Sustainably: Pathways to a post-COVID World

Side event at the margins of the UN General Assembly 2020

Transformations within reach virtual meeting


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