095 Improving Food Security & Nutrition Through Innovative Fish-Based Agri-Food Solutions

Exploring the science, evidence-base and collaborative partnership for highly nutritious women-led fish-based agri-food solutions

Organizers

  • Dominican Republic
  • Kingdom of Norway
  • The Chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China Rome-Chapter for 2018 from the Arab Republic of Egypt Representation.
  • UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN)
  • World Bank, including Youth2Youth
  • WorldFish
  • World Food Policy Center, Duke University (WFPC)

Abstract

This side event will explore the science and evidence-base for safe, affordable, accessible and highly nutritious women-led fish-based agri-food solutions and their human capital impacts. Additionally, the importance of institutional and multistakeholder collaboration (opportunities and challenges) towards the development of voluntary guidelines to deploy new fish-based solutions at scale will be discussed. Global food and nutrition reports are increasingly converging on the realization that investment must shift from the current focus on high-volume production of a small number of crops to increased quality and diversity of food production for healthy diets. Moreover, the world is increasingly seeking new solutions to improve human capital outcomes over the critical 1,000-day window from conception to a child’s second birthday. While agricultural crops have dominated the discussion to date, eggs and fish are showing promise as new solutions. Fish, especially micronutrient-rich small fish species may be an important (and currently missing) piece of a complex nutrient-food security-human capital puzzle, especially for poor women and young children. The event will highlight the potential of fish-based food solutions and also the findings of a multi-stakeholder report, “NutriFish1000: A Promise to Equalize Opportunity for Improved Health and Lifetime Wealth.” The event will highlight as well how to scale new evidence-based approaches and offer a space for discussion.

Key speakers/presenters

  • Ms. Stineke Oenema, UNSCN Coordinator; Moderator
  • H.E. Mario Arvelo, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the Rome-based UN Agencies and CFS Chair; Opening Remarks
  • H.E. Hisham Mohamed Badr, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt and Chair of the G77 and China Group, Rome Chapter; Opening Remarks
  • Dr. Pawan Patil, Senior Economist, World Bank; Keynote Address
    Mr. Livar Frøyland, Chair of the Global Action Network, Sustainable Food from the Oceans and Inland Waters for Food Security and Nutrition; Program Director, Institute of Marine Research, Norway;
  • Ms. Sarah Zoubeck, Associate Director, World Food Policy Center, Duke University;
  • Dr. Shakuntala Thilsted, Value Chains and Nutrition Program Leader, WorldFish;

Statements from the floor:

  • PSM – Ms. Tiare Boyes; Civil Society Mechanism
  • CSM – Ms. Christiana Louwa of World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP);
  • WBG Youth Statement –Mr. Jorge Barbosa

Main themes/issues discussed

This side event explored the science and evidence-base for safe, affordable, accessible and highly nutritious fish-based agri-food solutions and their implications to human capital, especially for the critical 1,000-day window from conception to a child’s second birthday. More specifically, the event disused the key micro-nutritional benefits of small indigenous species of fish, those between 6 to 10 cm when mature (collectively are being called ‘NutriFish’ - www.nutrifish1000.org). These fish are an important, and currently missing piece of a complex nutrient-food security-human capital puzzle, especially for poor women and young children and should be featured within the global climate smart nutrition agenda. The event placed a particular focus on the role of women as key drivers of these small fish-based solutions. The side event highlighted the important role that institutional and multi-stakeholder collaboration play in a) supporting the research and strengthening the evidence for nutrition and climate sensitive fish-based solutions; and b) conveying a unified message towards giving fish the position it deserves in food security and nutrition strategies, policies, and programs. The side event also discussed the importance of featuring fish-based solutions in the voluntary guidelines on nutrition currently in development by the Committee on World Food Security. This event reminded decision-makers over food security, that the 2014 High Level Panel of Expert Report #7 on “Sustainable Fisheries for Aquaculture and Nutrition” is as relevant today as it was then, and that fish must be intentionally included in all food security and nutrition policy and practice going forward. 

Summary of key points

  • Currently, fish is missing from the global food policy dialogue on hunger and malnutrition;
  • Fish, specifically small fish, must be put back on the food and nutrition policy table as a rich source of micronutrients, fatty acids, and high-quality proteins - all essential to pregnant and lactating women as well as to their children during their first 1000 days of life;
  • Micronutrient rich small food fish may be a key missing piece of the food, nutrient puzzle in the battle against childhood stunting;
  • Not all fish are created equal: research shows that these small fish (between 6 to 10 cm when mature) are packed with these nutrients including Vitamin A, Zinc, Iron, and Calcium, selenium, phosphorus, iodine. Over 30 species found in freshwater and across the global ocean share common characteristics; Collectively, these fish are now being called NutriFish;
  • Research shows that increasing fish consumption in the first 1,000 days of life can have significant effects in human capital outcomes over the long run;
  • The Greenhouse Gas Accounting also shows these fish as some of the most climate smart options in the production of nutrition sensitive solutions;
  • The science and evidence for nutritious fish and aquatic food are not reaching decision-makers; Aquatic Food Networks and innovative solutions are key to closing the information and policy gap;
  • Global and national investments must focus on policies, strategies and research to increase the access to and intake of micronutrient-rich small fish species.


Key take away messages

  1. LEARN: As we transition from a green to blue revolution, we must learn from the past. Nutrition-sensitivity must be a core objective in policy/investment decisions to advance sustainable food from the oceans and inland waters to feed a hungry planet
  2. LINK: To help meet global human capital targets (malnutrition, hunger., SDG2) new aquatic food-based solutions could help correct demand-supply failures.  The science and evidence for climate-smart and nutritious aquatic food-based solutions is buried in the literature and not reaching decision-makers; This needs to change.
  3. LEVERAGE:  New and more agile approaches can reduce impediments to leveraging collaborative partnerships, the evidence-based solutions they produce and scaling them. New Networks supporting Aquatic Foods for Food Security and Nutrition have the potential to leverage partners, finance and results; Innovation and Youth are key.
CFS - Side Event 095: Improving Food Security & Nutrition Through Innovative Fish-Based Agri-Food Solutions.