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How do we ensure that all people, everywhere, have access to an adequate diet that fulfils all their nutrition requirements? How do we, at the same time, promote sustainable agriculture and minimise impacts on the environment? To answer these questions, IAP, the InterAcademy Partnership, has initiated a major project on ‘Food and Nutrition Security and Agriculture’. Experts from more than 20 countries met at the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina this week to discuss their findings.
The project was launched in 2016 and proceeded through a series of regional working group meetings in Europe, Africa, the Americas and the Asia/Pacific region. Each working group has now developed a draft region-specific report. The experts representing the working groups at the meeting have begun to extract common themes as well as region-specific issues.
The scienctists agreed on the need for a more circular and bio-based economy, especially by reducing post-harvest losses and food waste in the supply chain and people’s homes. Science should play a role in developing a holistic food system, for example by utilising new technologies to improve agricultural production. Likewise, there is a need for innovation and entrepreneurship to develop new food preservation and processing technologies. Other topics discussed included healthy eating and the opportunities for monitoring and evaluation provided by ‘big data’.
“There have been a number of other reports on food security and nutrition in recent years, published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), for example,” says Volker ter Meulen, co-chair of IAP and leader of the project. “But this is the first time that we are scoping the future from the point of view of science and identifying the key points where science and the scientific community can have an impact.”
In addition to the regional reports, a global overview report is to be published in 2018.
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