Food Systems Summit

Evaluation and the Food Systems Summit

As part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has convened a Food Systems Summit, which will take place in September 2021.
The Summit aims to bring together existing knowledge into action-oriented game changing and systemic solutions to foster healthier, more sustainable and equitable food systems.

Evaluation has a key role to play in the Summit. With longstanding experience in agriculture, food and nutrition security and rural development, the evaluation offices of FAO, IFAD, WFP and the CGIAR are able to deliver knowledge and evidence to inform the inputs, actions and outcomes of the Summit, as well as its follow-up and review process that will drive food systems transformation.

This page displays major contributions and initiatives that the evaluation offices of FAO, IFAD, WFP and the CGIAR are making towards the Summit, as well as related resources and references.

Find out more about the evaluation work of FAO, IFAD, WFP and CGIAR

  • FAO
  • IFAD
  • World Food Programme


The UN Food Systems Pre-Summit 2021: Evidence pathways to gender equality and food systems transformation

WFP Badre Bahaji

FSS Pre-SummitGender equality and women’s empowerment are high on the international political agenda, but progress has often faltered on the evidence needed to deliver viable solutions.

To address that gap, this event features the launch of a new paper, presenting 9 critical lessons from 47 independent evaluations as the basis for food systems solutions, actions and transformation.

 Independent evaluations present credible evidence on what works, what doesn’t and why. The findings and lessons learned from evaluations cut across multiple SDGs; they are crucial for decision-making, and critical to informing the final outcome of the Food Systems Summit. 

Presented evidence and discussions will underscore the importance of addressing the root causes of gender inequality and women’s powerlessness, in particular their exclusion from access to resources and their limited social capital in food systems. In this context discussions will also highlight the need for greater policy engagement on gender equality – a critical element to support transformative change in food systems.

The session will make the case for development interventions aiming to break traditional gender roles and stereotypes, alongside strategies for social mobilization and leadership on those issues at the policy level.

27 July from 7:30 to 8:20pm Rome time. 


Welcome and introduction by Mr Indran Naidoo, Director of Evaluation, IFAD

Presentation of the paper: Evidence pathways to gender equality and food systems transformation by Ms Julia Betts, Independent evaluation specialist

Facilitated discussion by Ms Allison Smith, Director of CGIAR Advisory Services

Including featured speakers: 

  • H.E. Ms Alexandra Bugailiskis, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to FAO, WFP and IFAD 
  • Ms Jette Michelsen, Deputy Permanent Representative of Denmark to FAO, WFP and IFAD 
  • H.E Ms. Céline Jurgensen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations in Rome 
  • Ms María de los Ángeles Gomez Aguilar, Alternate Representative of Mexico to FAO, WFP and IFAD 
  • Ms Saadya Hamdani, Director of Gender and inclusion at Plan international, Canada
  • Ms Maureen Munjua, Country Representative, Tanager, Kenya
  • Mr Béla Teeken, Associate Gender Scientist at IITA, CGIAR, Nigeria 

Concluding remarks by Ms Andrea Cook, Director of Evaluation, WFP


  • Andrea Cook

  • Indran Naidoo

  • Allison Grove Smith

  • Julia Betts

FSS Independent Dialogue: The role of evaluation in moving towards zero hunger and sustainable food systems: challenges and solutions

FSS DialoguesThis Food Systems Summit Independent Dialogue involved involve representatives from the evaluation community to discuss the role of evaluative evidence in delivering on the outcomes of the Food Systems Summit, highlighting challenges, opportunities and ways forward for evaluation to contribute to sustainable food systems. 

Around 100 participants joined the Dialogue

The aim of the Dialogue is twofold: i) Bring to the fore of the Summit the contribution of evaluation to learning and accountability for sustainable food systems and for the FSS commitments & follow up. ii) Engage evaluators and other stakeholders in reflecting on how evaluation needs to change and evolve.

The Dialogue was set around 4 discussion topics: 

1) The role of evaluation for Sustainable Food Systems

2) Evaluation methods and approaches for food systems transformation

3) Evaluation practice: what do we need to change or improve?

4)  Evidence towards the UN Food Systems Summit objectives

More information on the discussion topics can be found here

Outcomes of the discussions and issues raised by participants will feed back to the Summit and will highlight how evaluation and evaluative evidence can contribute towards sustainable food systems.



  • Welcome by Andrea Cook, Director, Office of Evaluation, WFP
  • Introduction on the Food Systems Dialogue by Philippe Ellul, UNFSS Secretariat
  • Key note by Michael Quinn Patton, Founder and Director of Utilization-Focused Evaluation
  • Highlights by Marie Gaarder, executive director of 3ie
  • Group discussions facilitated by senior evaluation officers from CGIAR, FAO, IFAD, WFP (see topics here)
  • Concluding remarks by Masahiro Igarashi, Director, Office of Evaluation, FAO