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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: Maximizing the Impact of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition

Danny  Hunter
Danny HunterBioversity InternationalItaly

The forum’s fourth question in this consultation -  How can other relevant forums, such as the CFS and the UNSCN, contribute, and how can other movements (e.g. human rights, environment) be involved in the Decade? – raises important issues and opportunities in the context of relevant environment and biodiversity forums and movements. We are actually in the midst of two relevant UN Decades: Action on Nutrition (2016-2025) and Biodiversity (2011-2020) which in many ways are of much relevance to each other. Biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides play a significant role in making agriculture, forests and fisheries more nutrition sensitive and among other things can contribute to a global food system more capable of delivering healthier diets.

The first two weeks of December 2016 represents a crucial moment for the world’s biodiversity. Ten thousand  people, including the 192 Member States and European Union, ministers, observer countries, UN and other international agencies, private sector, civil society and Indigenous groups  are expected to descend on Cancun, Mexico for the 13th Conference of Parties (COP13) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the world’s most important global environment agreement. Both COP13 and the Ministerial High-Level Segment which will also take place will affirm that mainstreaming biodiversity for wellbeing is pivotal to the achievement of the SDGs. It is therefore essential that this vision and political impetus for mainstreaming integrates biodiversity and nutrition considerations and that the nutrition community plays a role in making it happen.

The CBD in recent years has made significant progress in recognizing the links between biodiversity, nutrition and human health, culminating in the first ever decision on this theme in 2014 at COP12 in Korea. This should be warmly welcomed by the nutrition community and furthers the aims of those working at the nexus of agriculture and nutrition and environmental sustainability. More recently, the lead up to COP13 has seen the release of three global reports highlighting the importance of biodiversity, ecosystems and nutrition and human health:  the Rockefeller Foundation - Lancet Commission Report on Planetary Health;  the CBD and WHO-led State of Knowledge Review, Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health; and the UNEP Healthy Environment, Healthy People report. COP13 provides a unique opportunity for the parties to use the findings and recommendations from these reports to articulate a better vision for biodiversity and nutrition.

The question remains though, how can we better ensure that biodiversity and environment forums/platforms and those of the nutrition community work together more during the ‘decade’ and in a way that helps realize greater gains as we move into the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. One possible option for greater collaboration could be a role for the CBD in the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), also mentioned in the fourth question above, and which happens to be meeting this coming week in Rome.