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The UNESCO Chair on Food, Biodiversity and Sustainability Studies aims to achieve five main objectives through its work:

  • Share knowledge grounded in sustainable food systems initiatives at the community level to create multi-scalar change;
  • Use scale-appropriate technology and innovation to enable sustainable food systems transformation, preserve biodiversity, and build community resilience in the face of climate change and other hazards;
  • Build opportunities for marginalized groups, including BIPOC communities, women, youth, elders, and persons with disabilities to contribute to increased resilience, biodiversity conservation, and enhanced food security and community well-being;
  • Foster education through new programs and community-based intergenerational learning and cultivate the interface between science and traditional knowledge; and,
  • Cooperate closely with UNESCO and existing UNESCO Chairs on relevant programmes and activities.

Our Strengths

The UNESCO Chair on Food, Biodiversity and Sustainability Studies draws on four main strengths:

  • Excellence in sustainable food systems research,
  • Community-based research and learning focused on support for Indigenous and traditional communities,
  • Robust food networks and partnerships, and
  • Interdisciplinarity

Our strengths facilitate, direct, and inform the breadth of our work and permeate the Chair’s research, knowledge sharing, and educational initiatives. They reflect how we do our work and enable us to use the Chair as a platform for change.

Our Action Plan

Building on our identified strengths and areas of expertise will allow us to meet our program objectives and effectively leverage the UNESCO Chair on Food, Biodiversity and Sustainability Studies as a platform for sustainable food systems change.

While the specific actions of the Chair will be determined in ongoing consultation with our research and advisory networks and in response to community partner needs and changing global contexts, we have identified five high level strategies to guide our work to 2024:

  • Grow networks and facilitate meaningful connections
  • Support research and community partners
  • Create meaningful knowledge sharing opportunities
  • Create new educational programming
  • Develop new partnerships across the UNESCO network

Strategic Plan 2020-2024

In the spring of 2020, over 30 advisors, researchers, community partners, and students participated in a collaborative strategic planning consultation process. One of the results of that process was the UNESCO Chair FBSS Strategic Plan for 2020-2024.

The Strategic Plan provides more in-depth information about the Chair’s Areas of Expertise, Strengths, and its Action Plan moving forward:

Sustainable Food for a Resilient Future: UNESCO Chair on Food, Biodiversity and Sustainability Studies Strategic Plan, 2020-2024 (PDF)

Contact Us:

Alison Blay-Palmer, Chairholder


Andrew Spring, Executive Director of Research


Jane Clause, Director of Programming, Education, and Communications