08 February 2021
Virtual meeting – 21:00-21:45 CET - 15:00-15:45 EST

IIASA discusses resilient food systems post COVID at the AAAS Annual Meeting

IIASA is organizing a panel discussion at the 2021 virtual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting. Drawing on the outcomes of the IIASA-ISC Consultative Science Platform, international experts will discuss the impact of the pandemic on food systems, the recovery process from the 2020 crisis and how to better respond to disasters in the future.

© Steven Hatton|Dreamstime.com

© Steven Hatton|Dreamstime.com

The humanitarian and socioeconomic crisis triggered by COVID-19 reveals vulnerabilities and inter-dependencies embedded in our current food systems. Despite globally robust food supply, rising levels of poverty, food and nutritional insecurity have been observed in developed and developing countries due to loss of income, unemployment, inadequate social safety nets, and local disruptions in food supply associated with disruptions of movement of goods and people.

The pandemic also underlines the importance of addressing the nexus between food systems, human health and the environment. Part of a growing list of zoonotic diseases, which includes HIV, SARS, MERS, Ebola among others, COVID-19 should not be seen as a singular event but recognized as disaster that has become more likely due altered human environment interactions.

The transformation of food systems has been recognized as essential to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Drawing on the outcomes of the IIASA-ISC Consultative Science Platform, the expert panel will discuss how the recovery process should be harnessed to build more resilient and sustainable food systems.

The event will take place virtually:  

This panel follows the new AAAS online format. It was organized by Nicole Arbour (External Relations manager, IIASA), the respondent will be Frank Sperling (Senior Project Manager, Ecosystems Services and Management program, IIASA) and the discussion will be moderated by Pedro Sanchez (Research Professor, University of Florida).

Panelists include:

• Fernando Chaparro, Senior Researcher at the Centro de Investigaciones para el Desarrollo, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia

• Ismahane A. Elouafi, Director General, International Center for Biosaline Agriculture, United Arab Emirates

• Franziska Gaupp, Research Scholar Ecosystems Services and Management Risk and Resilience, IIASA, Austria

This year's theme: Understanding Dynamic Ecosystems

AAAS, the world's largest general scientific society, aims to promote cooperation among scientists, defend scientific freedom, encourage scientific responsibility, and support science outreach for the betterment of all humanity.

We are embedded in a variety of ecosystems, including the environments that we inhabit and the many social systems in which we live and work. Finding ways of maintaining the stable balance of these ecosystems in the face of rapidly changing circumstances is critical for our advancement. Drawing on a multitude of scientific perspectives, this Annual Meeting seeks to feature diverse ways of understanding the complexities and dynamics of biological, physical, social, and economic systems across scales, as well as strengthening and activating new connections to address underlying problems in various spheres. These challenges facing contemporary society will provide the opportunity to creatively harness science, engineering, technology, and policy to promote sustainable change.

Print this page

Last edited: 20 November 2020


Nicole Arbour

External Relations Manager

Communications and External Relations

T +43(0) 2236 807 629

Frank Sperling

Senior Project Manager

Ecosystems Services and Management

T +43(0) 2236 807 527

Franziska Gaupp

Research Scholar

Risk and Resilience

Ecosystems Services and Management

T +43(0) 2236 807 628

Full AAAS 2021 Program

IIASA and the USA

IIASA-ISC Consultative Science Platform


Mikovits C, Wetterlund E, Wehrle S, Baumgartner J, & Schmidt J (2021). Stronger together: Multi-annual variability of hydrogen production supported by wind power in Sweden. Applied Energy 282: e116082. DOI:10.1016/j.apenergy.2020.116082.

Tian Z, Ji Y, Xu H, Qiu H, Sun L, Zhong H, & Liu J (2021). The potential contribution of growing rapeseed in winter fallow fields across Yangtze River Basin to energy and food security in China. Resources, Conservation and Recycling 164: e105159. DOI:10.1016/j.resconrec.2020.105159.

Fox N, August T, Mancini F, Parks KE, Eigenbrod F, Bullock JM, Sutter L, & Graham L (2020). “photosearcher” package in R: An accessible and reproducible method for harvesting large datasets from Flickr. SoftwareX 12: e100624. DOI:10.1016/j.softx.2020.100624.

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313