Food systems have the challenge to achieve nutrition security, food safety and healthy diets for an increasing global population while minimizing the impact on the limited natural resources available and protecting human well-being and social equity


5 reasons to attend this course

Have an overview of the interaction between food systems and sustainability in the international policy context.
Be aware of the importance of good governance in food system transformation.
Understand key aspects and steps to design a food system sustainability assessment.
Know updated and upgraded social, economic, nutritional and environmental assessment methodologies and acquire criteria to apply them in different contexts.
Be conscious of the potential conflicts among indicators and know how to face them.
Have practical skills in implementing specific assessment methodologies.
Network with professionals and engage key actors to exchange experiences on different aspects of the sustainability of food systems.


Maite M. Aldaya, ISFOOD-UPNA, Pamplona (Spain)
Laura Batlle-Bayer, Unesco Chair ESCI-UPF, Barcelona (Spain)
Marta Angela Bianchi, RISE, Göteborg (Sweden)
Anne Katrin Bogdanski, FAO, Roma (Italy)
Gianluca Brunori, Univ. Pisa (Italy)
Maite Cidad, AZTI, Derio (Spain)
Daniel Francisco EGAS, BETA Tech. Centre, UVic-UCC (Spain)
José María Gil, CREDA-UPC-IRTA, Barcelona (Spain)
Zein Kallas, CREDA-UPC-IRTA, Barcelona (Spain)
Jara Laso Cortabitarte, Univ. Cantabria, Santander (Spain)
Saioa Ramos, AZTI, Derio (Spain)
Maryam Rezaei, FAO, Roma (Italy)
Israel Ruiz Salmón, Univ. Cantabria, Santander (Spain)
Sonia Valdivia, WRF, St. Gallen (Switzerland)
José Valls, FAO, Roma (Italy)
Matteo Vittuari, Univ. Bologna (Italy)

Live sessions, practical exercises and discussions

14 Leading international experts

Course in English, with interpretation into Spanish and French


  • 0. Class 0 – Videos: welcome from IAMZ and programme presentation
  • 1. Introduction
    • 1.1. What is a food system? What are sustainability assessments?
    • 1.2. How we produce and consume food and why sustainability is important? Need of food system transformation
    • 1.3. Impacts of food production and consumption and food system resilience to shocks and threats. The importance of assessing sustainability
    • 1.4. How we assess sustainability? For what? For whom? Where are they applied – examples from practice
    • 1.5. International and national policy context
      • 1.5.1. The SDGS and The UN Food System Summit
      • 1.5.2. European framework: European Green Deal, Farm to Fork Strategy, New Circular Economy Strategy, Single Market for Green Products: Product Environmental Footprint
    • 1.6. Links between food systems in the wider context of a sustainable and circular bioeconomy. National and regional food and bioeconomy strategies
  • 2. Good governance
    • 2.1. Stakeholders’ mapping
    • 2.2. Coordination mechanisms and power relation
    • 2.3. Prioritization of outcomes and dimensions, and defining criteria
  • 3. Measuring sustainability
    • 3.1. State of the art about measuring sustainability
    • 3.2. Defining system boundaries
    • 3.3. Designing measurable sustainable objectives
    • 3.4. Quantitative and qualitative approaches
    • 3.5. Issues in data availability: simple vs complex indicators
    • 3.6. Creating and maintaining monitoring systems
  • 4. Assessment methodologies
    • 4.1. Global food systems sustainability indicators: type of indicators
    • 4.2. Environmental assessment
      • 4.2.1. Life Cycle Analysis
      • 4.2.2. Environmental footprint
      • 4.2.3. Water footprint
      • 4.2.4. Practical exercise: assessment of the environmental footprint of dairy and seafood products
    • 4.3. Social assessment: Social Life Cycle
    • 4.4. Economic assessment
      • 4.4.1. Life Cycle Cost
      • 4.4.2. Extended Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • 4.5. Food and nutrition composite indicators
  • 5. Synergies and trade-offs among environmental, social, economic and nutritional assessments. Resolution of conflicts
    • 5.1. Synthetic indicators
    • 5.2. Participatory tools
    • 5.3. Mathematical tools
    • 5.4. Practical exercise on resolution of conflicts
  • 6. The example of the nexus water-energy-food
    • 6.1. Why considering the nexus water-energy-food
    • 6.2. State of the art about indicators to measure the nexus water-energy-food in rural and urban areas
  • 7. Round table discussion: how to engage public and private actors in assessing sustainability of food systems?

Train at an outstanding international institution


If you wish to participate in the course, apply online at the following address:

The course is targeted to decision makers, administration officers, food producers, managers and marketers, technical advisors, researchers and NGO professionals working on or concerned with assessing the sustainability of food systems.

The course will be held from 15 to 24 February 2021. The 8-day course will be held from 15 to 19 and 22 to 24 February 2021, from 13:00 to 17:30 (Central European Time). The time slot could be reconsidered according to the countries of origin of participants finally selected.

  • Application deadline - 8 January 2021.

Registration fees for the course amount to 400 euro.
Candidates from CIHEAM member countries (Albania, Algeria, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Morocoo, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey) may apply for scholarships covering registration fees.
Candidates from other countries who require financial support should apply directly to other national or international institutions.

Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza

Av. Montañana 1005, 50059 Zaragoza, Spain

+34 976716000

How to get here

Contact us

Captcha image