Sustainable diets for all and COVID-19

Recommendations for a green and inclusive recovery to ensure sustainable and healthy diets for all.

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Since the start of 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic has beenwreaking havoc worldwide. Low- and middle-incomecountries have been especially hard hit by the economicimpact of the pandemic, in addition to the direct publichealth effects of COVID-19. Not only are their healthcare and food (production and distribution) systems less robust,disrupted markets and travel restrictions have resulted in volatile food prices and rapidly rising food insecurity numbers. Smallholder farmers, informal food vendors, low-income consumers, ethnic minorities, women and other marginalised groups are particularly at risk. Withoutadequate immediate and long-term responses, the health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19 could trigger and lapse into a global food security emergency. As the international community and LMIC governments prepare further recovery and economic stimulus responses, it is vital that these response measures are truly green and inclusive,and that they are focused on building greater resilience inthe food system against external shocks.

This brief highlights examples of how civil society actors from within the Sustainable Diets for All (SD4All) programme have successfully mitigated the impact of the pandemic on low-income groups in the countries in which the programme operates. Examples include both CSO partners’ direct crisis mitigation activities and strategies at a grassroots level, as well as direct policy engagement efforts. Based on the programme’s experiences, the document formulates recommendations for policy and action for key actors.

These recommendations focus on how green and inclusive economic recovery packages can support low-income groups in the food system in the short and medium term, as well as on how they can make the system itself more resilient to external shocks like future pandemics and climate change.


  1. Promoting sustainable and diverse food production
  2. Promoting healthy and diverse food consumption
  3. Promoting the role of informal markets and informal market actors

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