CFS42 SIDE EVENT on climate change, nutrition and food security
The event explored the policies needed to achieve food and nutrition security under climate change, including ensuring that agriculture delivers high quality diets. The panel focused on increased resilience of poor households, sustainable agricultural practices and ecosystems, as well as biodiversity and integration of nutrition into food systems.
The session was opened by Global Panel Director Sandy Thomas, who introduced the four organisations involved (FANRPAN, Global Panel, Ag4Impact and the John Kufuor Foundation), their missions and projects.
Setting the scene, H.E. Neil Briscoe, UK Permanent Representative to FAO, presented the panel and framed the event within the context of the CFS42 agenda.
Tom Arnold, Interim Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement; Member of the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, and the Montpellier Panel, introduced the audience to the key issues discussed in the Global Panel’s recently published policy brief on climate smart-food systems for enhanced nutrition. He stated: “serious commitments are required to address the main drivers of climate change and to protect key affected sectors, such as agriculture” and continued “We need to take action today to both optimise current diets and the nutrient quality of food systems around the world, and to adapt and protect those systems against climate change”. He then stressed the positive impact climate-smart policy interventions would have on nutrition, and highlighted few of the policy suggestions the Global Panel has identified in the brief.
David Radcliffe, Former Senior Advisor at DfID / DG Development and Cooperation at the European Commission, and Member of the Montpellier Panel, talked about sustainable intensification applied to small scale farms, and how through ecological, genetic and socio-economic approaches, sustainable intensification can contribute to positive climate change and nutritional outcomes.
Simbarashe Sibanda, Managing Director of the ATONU Project at Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), challenged the audience with a thought provoking discussion on what agriculture can do for nutrition, specifically how agriculture can shift from being production oriented (quantity) to nutrition oriented (quality). He highlighted the key components of the ATONU project, and the nutrition-sensitive interventions currently in place (or implementable) at the small farm-holder and family level that can ensure the consumption of essential proteins, minerals and vitamins rise, along with calorie intake.
Bernard Rey, Deputy Head of Unit, DG for International Cooperation and Development at the European Commission, shared with the audience the strategic priorities of the European Commission with regards to international development and cooperation, which include stunting reduction, resilience to food crises, as well as the promotion of an inclusive agriculture as an engine of economic growth and employment.
During the Q&A session, comments from the audience included the need to take into account the issues of aflatoxins, which are present in increasing number in African crops and dairy products, and the need to educate farmers on the consequences of dealing with contaminated foods. A further comment was on new eating habits that are emerging among the African population, which is shifting from consuming locally produced food, to an increasing inclination to consume cheap, imported processed products.
The panel’s presentations
Tom Arnold, Interim Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement; Member, Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, and Montpellier Panel
David Radcliffe, Former Senior Advisor, DfID / DG Development and Cooperation, European Commission; Member Montpellier Panel
Simbarashe Sibanda, Managing Director, ATONU Project, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)
Bernard Rey, Deputy Head of Unit, DG for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission