SE120 Treasures of the oceans and inland waters - ensuring food security and nourishing nations: Gaining and sharing knowledge in the Decade of Action on Nutrition. From healthy waters to healthy people.


  • Global Action Network - Sustainable Food from the Oceans and Inland Waters for Food Security and Nutrition
  • Norway
  • Finland
  • Ireland
  • Institutes of Marine Research - Ireland and Norway
  • WorldFish (CGIAR)
  • UN Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN)
  • UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR)
  • FAO
  • WorldBank Youth2Youth
  • Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans)
  • The Nordic Food Policy Lab
  • International Collective in Support of Fish Workers (ICSF)

To achieve food security, actions must ensure all the elements of food security: sufficient, safe, nutritious, meeting dietary needs and food preferences - leaving no one behind. According to the CFS recommendations, we should include food security and nutrition in work related to sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, likewise include aquatic food in the work related to food security and nutrition. A holistic view is needed to reach our goals such as the Sustainable Developing Goals. Bringing people together, working with different issues along the food chain "from healthy waters to healthy people" is important, to break down the siloes and move forward.

The Global Action Network on Food from the Ocean and Inland Waters for Food Security and Nutrition (GAN), under the Decade of Action on Nutrition, seeks to highlight the important role of aquatic foods in achieving food security and nutrition, moreover, share knowledge and actions related to aquatic foods and the elements of food security. In addition to a short intro about Networking in the Decade of Action on Nutrition, and an important message from the future generations, the session will include thematic speeches and debates on the following issues: Fish for whom? Sufficient and sustainable - efficient use of our finite marine resources is important for food security. From a sufficient food point of view, finding sustainable feed sources in aquaculture and the importance of small scale fisheries for food security. Reducing food loss and waste is a highway to get more food available and reduce the pressure on the environment. In a circular bio-economy there is no waste only resources - blue and green sectors together feed the world.

Balanced harvest - Increased sustainable harvesting is needed including harvesting marine organisms proportionally across the food web. What are the impacts of harvesting such resources on food webs and ecosystem functioning? Sufficient food knowledge needs also to connect with knowledge on the other elements of food security. Is it safe? is it nutritious? is it tasty? There are critical knowledge gaps across the food chain, a need for interdisciplinary collaboration to ensure that marine food becomes a part of a sustainable and healthy diet. Nourishing nations -

Aquatic food can be a key source of both macro and micronutrients for nourishing nations. Knowledge about the levels of healthy nutrients and foreign substances is important to understand the role of different aquatic foods to achieve food security. Knowledge on composition data are the scientific reasoning for an increased consumption and the role of aquatic food in the fight against malnutrition and hidden hunger. We will learn about the importance of analytical values in food composition tables and how to integrate fish in food systems.

Key speakers/presenters

  • Aslak Brun (Norway’s Permanent Representative to the UN organizations in Rome);
  • Anita Utheim Iversen (Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries);
  • Livar Frøyland (Institute of Marine Research, Norway);
  • Manas Roshan (International Planning Committee on Food Sovereignty, OHCHR, FAO);
  • Martin Scholten (Wageningen University and Research);
  • Naseegh Jaffer (World Forum of Fisher People);
  • John Ryder (FAO);
  • Paul Connolly (Institute of Marine Research, Ireland);
  • Paul Newnham (SDG2 Advocacy Hub);
  • Matilda Steinar-Asiedu (University of Ghana);
  • Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted (World Fish, CGIAR);
  • Moderator Stineke Oenema (UNSCN)

Main themes/issues discussed

Aquatic foods are important to food security and a vital component in healthy diets. Poor quality diets are a key risk factor for the growing burden of non-communicable diseases. Though there is growing recognition of aquatic foods role in nutrition and health, we must consider this through a sustainability lens in light of our finite marine resources. The CFS recommendations reinforce this by highlighting the need for a holistic view in work towards food security, nutrition and sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. The global Action Network on Food from the Oceans and inland waters for Food Security and nutrition seeks to highlight the important role of aquatic foods in achieving food security and nutrition in the UN Nutrition Decade. By bringing together people working on all aspects of the food chain "from healthy waters to healthy people" it is hoped to help break down silos and nurture collaboration toward achieving the SDG targets. Important issues related to sufficient, efficient and sustainable use of marine resources and their important role in nourishing nations, were discussed, including human rights, small scale fisheries(SSF), feed or food, loss and waste, balanced harvest, taste and preferences, food composition data and integration of fish in food systems.

Summary of key points

From healthy waters, trough sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, safe, healthy aquatic food must make it to peoples plates and be eaten. Food security is about enough of the right kind of food, for all. Aquatic foods provides good quality macronutrients and essential micronutrients. These nutrients are especially important first 1000 days of life. SSF, including inland, are key to nutrition and work, for vulnerable communities as well as women. Tenure Guidelines, SSF Guidelines, and Right to Food Guidelines are important. 2022 is International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture. Human Rights-Based Approach contributes to food security and sustainable fisheries. Policy change is needed to nourish nations. Nutrition-sensitive food systems promotes aquatic food. Must be tasty, nutritious, safe and affordable. Reliable food composition data is key to good nutrition and dietary guidelines. Chefs can champion varieties of fish that are good for people and planet. Fish feed industry impact local food security. Blue and green resources should be dealt with in a circular perspective. Sea(food) is urgently needed, and (fish)feed has circular alternatives. Utilization of mesopelagic biomass must proceed with cautious based on knowledge. ICES should be asked for advice. FAO has developed guidance to reduce food loss and waste:

Key take away messages

Global Action Network: knowledge for action in the Nutrition Decade, holistic cross sectorial approach.

Small-scale fisheries contribute to food security, rrecognize and formalise SSF role for communities, support and strengthen capacity.

Human rights-based approach empowers workers, improve food security, livelihood and sustain fisheries.

Inland fisheries provides food security and livelihoods, especially in vulnerable communities

Transform the way aquatic resources are used.

Circular economy: greening the blue and bluing the green. Food before feed. Finding answers together.

Improved quality and quantity fish = food security and nutrition, reduce pressure on resources, improve returns to value chain actors.

Ocean mesopelagic ecosystem largely unknown. Knowledge is needed before action.

Sustainable aquaculture contribute to SDG2. Aquaculture grow must care for both people and planet. Chefs can help promote more varieties of fish.

Food composition data should be seen as a guide and used with caution and are not a golden standard.

Promote increased supply of aquatic food with nutrition-sensitive food systems framework. -Promote consumption of tasty, nutritious, safe, affordable and convenient aquatic foods for people, focusing on the first 1000 days of life.  

Influence global and national policy makers for policy change and interventions so that aquatic foods can nourish nations.

CFS 46 Side Event: SE120 Treasures of the oceans and inland waters - ensuring food security and nourishing nations


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