IFIAD Annual Conference 2023

Sustainability and Agency in Transforming Food Systems

The Irish Forum for International Agricultural Development (IFIAD) is delighted to present its Annual Conference on the theme of Sustainability and Agency in Transforming Food Systems. The IFIAD Conference is part of a long tradition of marking World Food Day in Ireland and convenes high-profile speakers with the support of Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs.

Date: 8th November 2023

Venue: Department of Foreign Affairs, Iveagh House, St Stephens Green, Dublin

Format: 9.30am – 2.30pm

The Food Systems Summit + 2 Stocktaking Moment 2023 re-affirmed the need for healthy, sustainable, equitable and resilient food systems. Sustainability and agency are key components in transforming food systems. Securing sustainability in food systems will safeguard the environment and alleviate levels of hunger and malnutrition while prioritising agency can support equality and inclusion in decision making across the value chain.

The themes of sustainability and agency have grown in prominence in recent years and have been proposed as additional components in assessing food security, alongside, access, availability, utilisation and stability. It is against this backdrop that we are excited to bring together leading experts and organisations representing a broad spectrum of experiences and perspectives.

Conference Session 1: Sustainability                                           

Sustainability regarding food system ensures the long–term regeneration of natural, social, and economic systems which meets the food needs of both present and future generations. Sustainability embeds connections between ecosystems, livelihoods, society, and political economies which maintains resilient food systems today and in years to come. Initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have promoted the international prominence of sustainability. For example, SDG 2 aims to “end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”.

This session will consider how we can accelerate a shift towards more sustainable policy and practice?

Conference Session 2: Agency               

Themes of in-equity and unequal power relationships are especially influential in shaping the final outcomes of food systems. Ensuring a level of agency, which ‘leaves no one behind’ in development interventions is vital. Agency can be defined as the ability of individuals and groups to exercise a degree of control over their own circumstances and constructively input into governance processes. Agency plays a role in addressing widening inequities within food systems, including imbalances of power among actors within those systems. Moreover, agency refers to the capacity of individuals or communities to make their own decisions regarding what food they, produce and consume, and the ways in which food is produced, processed, and distributed. Agency is crucial at both individual and community levels to move from passive food consumers towards being food citizens.

This session will consider how can we improve the capacity of individuals and groups to exercise their voice and make decisions about their food systems and leave no one behind.

Register here.                    


IFIAD is a multistakeholder forum which aims to develop partnerships of excellence through the generation, sharing and application of experience, knowledge and innovation in sustainable agriculture, food and nutrition security for development. IFIAD is funded by Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs and comprises international development NGO’s, universities, researchers, government and state agencies, private sector, and farmers organisations.