Focus on food security and sustainability

14-Dec-2019 - Germany

Food security and sustainability in focus Scientists at the University of Bonn, EASAC and IAP call for more research and a global pact.

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The number of undernourished people is increasing worldwide. More than two billion people suffer from a lack of micronutrients. Infant mortality is unacceptably high. Against this background, a global pooling of scientific efforts, more research funding and an international body for food security and agriculture to prepare political decisions are needed. This is what Prof. Dr. Joachim von Braun from the University of Bonn, Dr. Robin Fears from the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) and Prof. Dr. Volker ter Meulen, President of the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) in the journal "Science Advances" call for. ATTENTION: Do not publish before Wednesday, 11 December, 8 p.m. CET!

Researchers argue that a lack of healthy food and poorly managed agricultural systems on the one hand, and excessive consumption and food waste on the other, damage the planet and "pose an unprecedented threat to global food security". World leaders have begun to recognise the challenges.

Academies of science, medicine and technology have recently joined forces to form the global network InterAcademy Partnership (IAP). An IAP project is working to bring together the interfaces of food and food security and global environmental health. The organisation brings together networks of experts from Africa, Asia, America and Europe to analyse food systems with a view to global environmental change.

Investment in research infrastructure

The authors point to the urgent need for investment in research infrastructure to provide reliable data on population health, nutrition, agricultural practices, climate change, ecosystems, sustainability and human behaviour. The political decision-makers are to implement an increase in funds for agricultural and nutrition research.

Although a large body of scientific knowledge on nutrition and hunger is already available, it is necessary to close knowledge gaps through increased international cooperation. It also deals with social science issues, such as how the behaviour of consumers and farmers can be transformed and how previously neglected agricultural crops can be introduced. Research results must also be coherently incorporated into the implementation of sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The authors propose an international food security and agriculture body focused on preparing policy decisions. "Such a body would be based on the large scientific community associated with it and could address the most pressing nutrition and agricultural issues," write the scientists. The tasks range from the question of how to balance nutritional and environmental goals to the analysis of how to motivate consumers to eat healthily and sustainably.

Note: This article has been translated using a computer system without human intervention. LUMITOS offers these automatic translations to present a wider range of current news. Since this article has been translated with automatic translation, it is possible that it contains errors in vocabulary, syntax or grammar. The original article in German can be found here.

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