Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted is Global Lead, Nutrition and Public Health, Aquatic Food Systems at WorldFish, stationed in Penang, Malaysia. WorldFish is a CGIAR research centre, working towards reducing poverty and hunger through capture fisheries and aquaculture. Her work focusses on nutrition-sensitive fish agri-food systems, in particular the potential of increased production and consumption of nutrient-rich small fish in combating and preventing vitamin and mineral deficiencies in low- and middle-income countries.
She works with developing and testing fish-based products for women and children in the first 1 000 days of life. These products can improve dietary diversity and supply multiple, highly bioavailable nutrients which are essential for women’s nutrition and health, and optimal growth, development and cognition in children. She collaborates with many government agencies, international and national development partners, researchers, private sector companies and communities to find ways to include fish in investments, policies, programmes and interventions for healthy diets as well as a healthy planet.
She plays a pivotal role in promoting the agenda of fish for nourishing nations as well as the importance of the fisheries sector in contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in many international, regional and national fora. She is a member of the Steering Committee of the High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE-FSN) of the United Nations Committee on World Food Security. She is Vice Chair of the UN Food Systems Summit 2021: Action Track 4: Advance Equitable Livelihoods.