Internationally-based indicators to measure Agri-food systems sustainability using food sovereignty as a conceptual framework

  • Adriana Ruiz-Almeida
  • Marta G. Rivera-FerreEmail author
Original Paper


Agri-food systems are essential not only in achieving food security but also in achieving both social and environmental sustainability. Despite different actors use different frameworks to define and assess food systems sustainability, there is growing consensus on the need to approach them from a complex socio-ecological systems perspective. However, existing frameworks often lack the political dimension in the analysis of food systems outcomes. Food sovereignty has emerged as a proposal that centers the discussion in the entire system putting emphasis on the political aspects of food. In this paper, using food sovereignty as a conceptual framework, we propose a quantitative methodology that allows analysis of the functioning of food systems at the international level. We present a database with 97 indicators distributed into six categories: 1) access to resources; 2) productive models; 3) commercialization; 4) food consumption and the right to food; 5) agrarian policies and civil society organization, and 6) gender. We also present the limitations found in developing the database as well as its potential applications for a wide variety of actors.


Agri-food system Food sovereignty Food security Sustainability Indicators database Political ecology 



This research project has its roots in the research project made in collaboration with Miquel Ortega-Cerdà, Neşat Çomak, and Mahmud Mohammed. The authors recognized their valuable participation in the early stages of the project and gratefully acknowledge their work and dedication. Dr. Rivera-Ferre is a Ramon y Cajal Research Fellow from the Spanish Ministry of Economy (MINECO). MS. Adriana Ruiz-Almeida held a grant of the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declared that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sustainability Measurement and Modeling Lab (SUMM Lab), Research Institute for Sustainability Science and TechnologyPolytechnic University of CataloniaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Research group Inclusive Societies, Policies and Communities (SoPCi), Chair of Agroecology and Food SystemsUniversity of Vic - Central University of CataloniaVicSpain

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