Akiko Suwa-Eisenmann calls for prioritizing food security and nutrition as a global imperative

Akiko Suwa-Eisenmann

©CFS HLPE-FSN/Silvia Meiattini


"In the face of multiple crises —climate change, rising inequalities and conflicts— our duty as the UN-mandated science-policy interface on food security and nutrition has never been more urgent. We must meet this call with accurate evidence-based knowledge, delivered transparently, comprehensively and inclusively to the Committee on World Food Security. Today, more than ever, prioritizing food security and nutrition is a global imperative", Akiko Suwa-Eisenmann stated on the day of her election as Chairperson of the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE-FSN).

Professor Akiko Suwa-Eisenmann has been reappointed to the Steering Committee of the HLPE-FSN of the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS) for her outstanding contributions to food security and nutrition-related disciplines, and elected Chairperson of the Panel by the rest of the members of the Steering Committee for the period 2023-2025.

The tenure of the HLPE-FSN Chairperson has commenced on a notably positive and productive note. From the outset, her leadership has been characterized by a proactive approach, fostering collaboration and generating tangible outcomes. Through strategic initiatives and inclusive dialogue, she has swiftly mobilized stakeholders, ensuring effective engagement and harnessing diverse perspectives. Her commitment to transparency and efficiency has streamlined processes, facilitating the swift execution of the HLPE-FSN mandate. This auspicious beginning sets a promising trajectory, signalling a tenure marked by meaningful contributions and impactful outcomes in addressing global food security and nutrition challenges.

A national of Japan, Professor Akiko Suwa-Eisenmann is a senior scientist in INRAE, the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, and a professor at the Paris School of Economics. She holds a PhD in economics from École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, France, and has graduated from École Normale Supérieure and Sciences Po, Paris.

Suwa-Eisenmann works on global food security, international trade and development. Her recent research projects examine the impact of perennial crop plantations on food security and the environment, looking at palm oil smallholders in Indonesia. She has also researched the impact of trade and food aid on rural households in developing countries, their choice between growing staple crops or export crops, and the role of sanitary and phytosanitary norms on developing countries’ access to international markets.

Akiko Suwa-Eisenmann

“My studies and then my career in economics have been driven by my interest in economic policy. For many years now, I have also been interested in world food security, particularly in terms of world trade's impact on households and businesses in the Global South. Above all, I like to transmit knowledge to decision-makers in an accessible way, participate in public discourse and understand what determines the political feasibility of reforms. It has been with that in mind that over my career I have also worked as a consultant for the AFD (Agence française de Développement), World Bank and the OECD Development Centre”, Suwa-Eisenmann explained.

Akiko Suwa-Eisenmann has published widely across a range of journals. She has been director of LEA, an INRA research unit and deputy director of PJSE, a joint research unit of INRA with three research and higher education institutions, and member of the Steering Committee of the Paris School of Economics. She has worked at the OECD Development Centre in charge of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. She has served as team leader for Trade Policy Diagnoses in many sub-Saharan countries for the Enhanced Integrated Framework, an initiative on trade facilitation aimed at the least developed countries launched by six UN or multilateral institutions (ITC, IMF, UNCTAD, UNDP, the World Bank and the WTO).

She has been a member of the Steering Committee of the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security since October 2021. The HLPE-FSN Steering Committee members participate in their individual capacities and not as representatives of any institution and perform that function on a pro bono basis.

Membership to the Steering Committee is renewed every two years through an open nomination process. The 2023 process resulted in 77 nominations from across different disciplines and geographic regions. Following a rigorous designation process, the 15 members were selected by an ad hoc technical selection committee comprised of members of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme (WFP), CGIAR and the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism for relations with the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CSIPM). Six of them are new members and nine current members were renewed for their second and last term in a row, following the usual practice.

Visit the Steering Committee’s web page

Photo's copyright: FAO/Cristiano Minichiello