Programme / II. A Food and Nutrition - Security and Agriculture‹ back to Programme lister
Wednesday / 8 nov
11:30 - 13:00
Global and national food systems present increasing challenges for the science community in tackling issues of health, nutrition, agriculture, climate change, ecology and human behaviour. The Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UN in 2015 provide a critically important framework for meeting these challenges but require fresh engagement by the science community to address the complexities of evidence-based policies and programmes.
The current major global challenges in attaining food and nutrition security are compounded by pressures of growing populations, climate and other environmental change, and economic inequity and instability. Furthermore, lack of quality and safety of diets, risk-prone food distribution systems and adverse nutrition behaviour and lifestyles, resulting in obesity, are of increasing concern. No region is immune from concerns about food and nutrition security, and food systems have also to become better integrated as a pillar of the growing global bioeconomy.
Setting priorities for increasing agricultural production through sustainable intensification must additionally take account of pressures on other critical natural resources, particularly in the food-water-energy nexus, and the continuing imperative to avoid further loss in ecosystem biodiversity. Dealing with food and nutrition security must include both supply-side and demand-side issues: reducing food waste and changing to healthier consumption patterns will reduce pressure on land and other natural resources. Therefore, in addition to improving agricultural productivity, within an integrative food-systems approach there are interrelated issues for resource efficiency, environmental stability, resilience, the public health agenda and global justice
There is much still to be done to fill knowledge gaps. For example, what is a diverse, sustainable and nutritious diet? How can food waste and the concomitant waste of natural resources be reduced? How can changes in consumer demand be incentivised? How can climate resilience be fostered? How should land and marine resources be best utilised to avoid the negative effects of agriculture on the environment?
IAP (the InterAcademy Partnership), the global network of science academies, has initiated a project on “Food and Nutrition Security and Agriculture” that encompasses work by its regional academy networks in Africa, Americas, Asia and Europe. Among these, the affiliated European network, EASAC, has taken on a lead role. The IAP-EASAC initiative represents a novel approach to explore how science can inform global policy development, connected to regional and national policy development. Regional goals are now being assessed and compared according to societal priority needs, by drawing on the academy traditions of scientific excellence. Regional evaluations will be examined and combined in 2017 to create strong consensus messages for policy-makers and other stakeholders at the global level, with clarification of the scientific basis of current disparities in policy expectations, objectives and future options in the different regions.