9. Glossary

Previous 8. COVID-19 and food systems in Timor-Leste

9.1 Terms

Adaptive capacity

The potential of a system to respond to changes (Prosperi et al 2014:6).

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

An intergovernmental arrangement formed in 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand to promote political, economic and social cooperation and regional stability. Brunei joined in 1984, Vietnam joined in 1995, Laos and Myanmar joined in 1997 and Cambodia became ASEAN’s tenth member in 1999. ASEAN’s activities are coordinated by the ASEAN Secretariat based in Jakarta (DFAT 2020).


The elements of a system that are susceptible to adverse effects from the external environmental or sociopolitical stress or shock (IPCC 2012).

Food and nutrition security

When all people at all times have physical, social and economic access to food, which is consumed in sufficient quantity and quality to meet their dietary needs and food preferences (Wüstefeld 2013).

Food insecurity

Moderate: When people face uncertainties about their ability to obtain food, and have been forced to compromise on the quality and/or quantity of the food they consume. Severe: When people have typically run out of food and, at worst, gone a day (or days) without eating (FAO et al 2019:5).

Food system

All the elements (environment, people, inputs, processes, infrastructures, institutions, etc.) and activities that relate to the production, processing, distribution, preparation and consumption of food, and the output of these activities, including socioeconomic and environmental outcomes (HLPE 2020:11).

Human security

Elements that extend beyond national security and military protection to engage threats to human dignity (Osisanya 2015):

  • economic: creation of employment and measures against poverty
  • food: measures against hunger and famine
  • health: measures against disease, unsafe food, malnutrition and lack of access to basic health care
  • environmental: measures against environmental degradation, resource depletion, natural disasters and pollution
  • personal: measures against physical violence, crime, terrorism, domestic violence and child labour
  • community: measures against inter-ethnic, religious and other identity tensions
  • political: measures against political repression and human rights abuses.

Indo-Pacific region

Ranges from the eastern Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean connected by South-East Asia, including India, north Asia and the United States (DFAT 2017).


Actions that may increase vulnerability to future change over time, creating path-dependency and foreclosing future options (Barnett & O’Neill 2010, Wise et al 2014).


An abnormal physiological condition caused by inadequate, unbalanced or excessive consumption of macronutrients and/or micronutrients; includes undernutrition (child stunting and wasting and vitamin and mineral deficiencies), overweight and obesity (FAO et al 2019:188).


Vitamins, minerals and other substances that are required by the body in small amounts; measured in milligrams or micrograms (FAO et al 2019:188).

Multiple burden of malnutrition

The coexistence of forms of undernutrition (child stunting and wasting and vitamin and mineral deficiencies) with overweight and obesity in the same country, community, household or individual (FAO et al 2019:188).

National security

The ability of a state to cater for the protection and defence of its citizenry (Osisanya 2015).

Net food importers

Countries or territories where the value of imports of basic foodstuffs outweighs the value of exports of basic foodstuffs; where food refers to the basic food category, excluding tea, coffee, cocoa and spices (FAO et al 2019:188).

Nutrition security

When secure access to an appropriately nutritious diet is coupled with a sanitary environment and adequate health services and care, in order to ensure a healthy and active life for all household members; differs from food security in that it also considers the aspects of adequate caregiving practices, health and hygiene, in addition to dietary adequacy (FAO et al 2019:188).

Nutrition-sensitive intervention

An action designed to address the underlying determinants of nutrition (which include household food security, care for mothers and children, and primary healthcare and sanitation); does not necessarily have nutrition as the predominant goal (FAO et al 2019:188).

One Health

An integrated transdisciplinary approach to achieving optimal health outcomes by recognising the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment, and fair trade (CDC 2020, FAO 2020). In its broader framing, it supports pragmatic and equitable approaches to global health security, food security and food production, and justice in human, animal and environmental health (Alders et al 2017, Cleaveland et al 2017, Lysaght et al 2017, Garcia et al 2020).

Recovery potential

The potential of a system to respond and absorb disturbances in order to continue to function (Allen & Prosperi 2016).


The ability of a system to cope with disturbance or change and retain its fundamental function and structure, and its capacity to self-organise, learn and adapt (Walker et al 2004, Doherty et al 2019).


The effect of uncertainty on objectives (Michael & Crossley 2012).


The potential magnitude of the consequences of exposure to shocks and drivers and their impact on a food system (Prosperi et al 2014).


Natural hazards, including climate change extreme events; food chain crises of transboundary or technological threats (including plant pests and diseases, animal diseases and food safety); protracted crises, including violent conflicts (FAO 2016:4).

Smallholder farmer

Definitions vary across countries and regions, as this categorisation can depend on a range of factors such as living standards, land ownership, agricultural activity and production scale, access to assets and resources, and share of family labour. Smallholdings may range from 0.5 to 500 ha in Australia; the Food and Agriculture Organization categorises farms under 2 ha as small (Andrade 2016:1).

Social protection

Policies and programs designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability by promoting efficient labour markets, diminishing people’s exposure to risks, and enhancing their capacity to manage economic and social risks, such as unemployment, exclusion, sickness, disability and old age (World Bank 2001).

Structural transformation

Both a cause and an effect of economic growth; involves a change in the composition of the economy away from a reliance on agriculture and/or fisheries and towards industry and services, rising involvement in international trade, growing rural–urban migration and urbanisation; leads to profound political, cultural, social and environmental stresses, which must be managed for long-term sustainability (FAO et al 2019:189).


A height that is more than two standard deviations below the World Health Organization Child Growth Standards median (WHO 2020).

Sustainable food value chain

The full range of farmers, fishers and firms and their successive coordinated value-adding activities that produce raw agricultural materials and transform them into food products that are sold to consumers and disposed of after use, in a manner that is profitable throughout, has broad-based benefits for society and does not permanently deplete natural resources (FAO 2014:6).


Generally irreversible and fundamentally changed structures and functions of a system, including norms, goals, values, rules and practices (Colloff et al, in press).


The outcome of poor nutritional intake in terms of quantity and/or quality, and/or poor absorption and/or poor biological use of nutrients consumed as a result of repeated instances of disease; includes being underweight for one’s age, too short for one’s age (stunted), dangerously thin for one’s height (suffering from wasting) and deficient in vitamins and minerals (micronutrient deficiency) (FAO et al 2019:189).

Value chain

The set of actors and activities that bring a basic agricultural product from production in the field to final consumption, where value is added to the product at each stage; a vertical linking or a network between various independent business organisations; can involve processing, packaging, storage, transport and distribution. The terms ‘value chain’ and ‘supply chain’ are often used interchangeably (FAO 2010).


The susceptibility of an individual, a community, assets or systems to the impacts of hazards. Vulnerability to food insecurity is the range of conditions that increases the susceptibility of a household to the impact on food security in case of a shock or hazard (FAO et al 2019:189).

Vulnerable groups

The characteristics of people and their social, political, economic and environmental context which renders them susceptible to hazards or shocks (Kelly & Adger 2000).

9.2 References

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Allen T & Prosperi P (2016). Modelling sustainable food systems. Environmental management 57: 956-975.

Andrade J (2016). Smallholder farmers and enabling their access to sustainable markets: commentary report. State of Sustainability Initiatives (SSI), a collaborative effort funded by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and led by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST), accessed 22 July 2020, www.iisd.org/ssi/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Smallholders_publication.pdf

Barnett J & O’Neill S (2010). Maladaptation. Global environmental change 20:211–213.

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) (2020). One Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accessed 20 July 2020, www.cdc.gov/onehealth/index.html

Cleaveland S, Sharp J, Abela-Ridder B, Allan KJ, Buza J, Crump JA, Davis A, Del Rio Vilas VJ, de Glanville WA, Kazwala RR, Kibona T, Lankester FJ, Lugelo A, Mmbaga BT, Rubach MP, Swai ES, Waldman L, Haydon DT, Hampson K & Halliday JEB (2017). One Health contributions towards more effective and equitable approaches to health in low- and middle-income countries. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 372: 20160168, doi:10.1098/rstb.2016.0168.

Colloff MJ, Abel N, Gorddard R, Lavorel S, Butler JRA, van Kerkhoff L, Meharg S, Munera C, Bruley E, Fedele G, Wise RM & Dunlop M (in press). Adapting transformation and transforming adaptation to climate change using a pathways approach. Environmental science and policy.

DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) (2017). 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, accessed 9 August 2020, www.dfat.gov.au/publications/minisite/2017-foreign-policy-white-paper

DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) (2020). Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), accessed 20 July 2020, www.dfat.gov.au/international-relations/regional-architecture/asean

Doherty B, Ensor J. Heron T & Prado P (2019). Food systems resilience: towards an interdisciplinary research agenda. Emerald Open Research 1:4 https://doi.org/10.12688/emeraldopenres.12850.1

FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) (2010). Agricultural value chain development: threat or opportunity for women’s employment? Gender and Rural Employment Policy Brief #4. FAO, Rome.

FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) (2014). Developing sustainable food value chains: guiding principles, accessed 20 July 2020, www.fao.org/sustainable-food-value-chains/library/details/en/c/265156/

FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) (2016). Increasing the resilience of agricultural livelihoods, accessed 20 July 2020

FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) (2020). One Health, accessed 23 July 2020, http://www.fao.org/one-health/en/

FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO (2019). The state of food security and nutrition in the world 2019. Safeguarding against economic slowdowns and downturns. FAO, Rome, accessed 20 July 2020.

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HLPE (High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security) (2020). Food security and nutrition: building a global narrative towards 2030. A report by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security, Rome.

IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) (2012). Summary for policymakers. In: Managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation. A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Kelly PM & Adger WN (2000). Theory and practice in assessing vulnerability to climate change and assessing adaptation. Climate change 47:325–352

Lysaght T, Capps B, Bailey M, Bickford D, Coker R, Lederman Z, Watson S & Tambyah PA (2017). Justice is the missing link in One Health: results of a mixed methods study in an urban city state. PLoS ONE 12(1): e0170967, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0170967.

Michael DT & Crossley RL (2012). Food security, risk management and climate change, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold Coast, 152.

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Prosperi P, Allen T, Padilla M, Peri I & Cogill B (2014). Sustainability and food and nutrition security: a vulnerability assessment framework for the Mediterranean region. Sage open 4:1–15.

Walker B, Holling CS, Carpenter SR & Kinzig AP (2004). Resilience, adaptability and transformability in social–ecological systems. Ecology and society 9(2):5, www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol9/iss2/art5/

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Wise RM, Fazey I, Stafford Smith M, Park SE, Eakin HC, Archer van Garderen ERM & Campbell B (2014). Reconceptualising adaptation to climate change as part of pathways of change and response. Global environmental change 28: 325–336.

World Bank (2001). Social protection sector strategy paper: from safety net to springboard. World Bank, Washington DC, accessed 22 July 2020, https://tinyurl.com/y64s63va

Wüstefeld M (2013). Food and Nutrition Security: UNSCN Meeting of the minds nutrition impact of food systems [slide presentation], 25–28 March 2013. United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition, accessed 20 July 2020, www.unscn.org/files/Annual_Sessions/UNSCN_Meetings_2013/Wustefeld_Final_MoM_FNS_concept.pdf