Abstract for: System Dynamics Updates of FAO Methodological Guide to Understand the Food Supply and Distribution Systems (FSDS)

What should be the policy to meet urban food needs in developing countries and those in transition? is FAO’s main question before the current overwhelming increase of urban population. To answer, it is necessary to understand the problematic of FSDS and the structure causing it to be able of assessing any policy to reach the goal “meeting urban food needs”. The System Dynamics Italian Chapter has been assigned to lead the FAO’s methodological update for FSDS using complex system methodologies; part of this project is accounted in this paper. The objective of this work is to improve the FSDS understanding, as complex systems embedded in socio-ecological contexts, by addressing FAO’s framework limitations using System dynamics methodology. We have identified and categorized the main FSDS variables, conceptualized the FSDS and characterized and analyzed their dynamics, among them, the traditional and erroneous logic to build policies, which decreases the resilience and efficiency of the system, and further on the possibility of reaching the goal. A framework setting to understand the FSDS structure and its dynamics is presented and described as the first part of the SD updates to FAO’s methodological and operational guide. Recommendations based on FAO’s competence are made in the light of the insights of the dynamic analysis proposed.