Leveraging technology to drive a multi-stakeholder coalition towards sustainable food systems

By Jerome Kusters 

Next year, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will convene the first UN Food Systems Summit to raise awareness and strengthen global commitments and actions that transform food systems to resolve not only hunger, but to reduce diet-related diseases, boost nature-positive production, strengthen livelihoods and heal the planet. 

The Summit has the potential to create a blueprint for a resilient future of food systems, defined by a true multi-stakeholder coalition. To start mobilizing such a coalition towards impactful action, it will be essential to (1) break down ‘echo chambers’ and align on the key topics and debates that are driving the public spheres, and (2) understand, dissect and leverage the complex stakeholder ecosystem that pushes the current effort.

AI and machine learning are technologies that can assist in building a coalition and to achieve such alignment around food systems. To illustrate the potential of AI and machine learning, this article identifies a few ways in which the models and methodologies developed by TSC.ai can be utilised. The Stakeholder Company (TSC.ai), is a global software company specialized in issue & stakeholder management platforms. 


Staying informed and aligned with real-time issue horizon-scanning

The Summit’s objectives will be driven by the five Action Tracks, each of which is designed to identify the challenges and game changers to deliver sustainable food systems. 

The below dynamic topic taxonomy or Issue Radar links the five Action Tracks to their relevant issue and sub-issue. Good food for all, for example, can be broken down into three issues: nutrition, food security and food safety. Each of these issue can then be seen in greater detail as sub-issues such as breastfeeding and biofortification. 

Using these identified topics and sub-topics, AI technologies then comb through global media coverage and social media, to map ongoing debates and key stakeholders as well as to identify topical and geographical trends, patterns and sentiment across these topics. 

issue radar



Execute in-depth stakeholder mapping to drive global networks to impactful outcomes

Identifying the key players in the complex and ever-evolving food systems debate can be a daunting task. AI and machine learning allows us to rapidly identify the trending and emerging voices in important debates across the globe. The same technology also allows us to map relationships and engagement pathways between said stakeholders, revealing synergies and gaps across stakeholder networks to accelerate joint action.

For example, as mapped in the graphic below, the networks of the Summit's Action Track Leads are highly connected and serve as a gateway to an even larger network of interconnected experts with diverse backgrounds and strong ties to government, research and NGOs. This illustrates an ideal blueprint for a multi-stakeholder coalition to drive the transition to sustainable food systems.


The SDG2 Hub is collaborating with TSC to develop tools to better understand the Sustainable Development Goals and food systems space in terms of their complex multitude of issues, key stakeholder voices and engagement pathways. We will be able to share more information on this shared work in 2021.  


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