Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

While reading the background note prepared for this consultation, I appreciate the observations made, in particular following two:

 1.  Single disciplines on their own are not able to address systemic challenges in a holistic manner &

 2. Policymakers may not inform scientists and other knowledge holders about their needs while scientists and other knowledge holders may not actively engage in the policy-making process. Additionally, many obstacles may compromise this participation.

Let us accept, many scientists including me have little understanding of how agri-food systems policy is enacted at national, regional or international levels. Many papers published by scientists in their respective disciplines are used mostly by subsequent researchers just as review material not as an input for policy making. Many scientists engaged in livestock research, particularly those responsible for Animal Sourced Foods (ASFs)) repeatedly come out with findings in support of the importance of consuming ASFs for human health and well being. Yet, whatever the scientific evidence may say, policy makers may opt to ignore the evidence on ethical or ideological grounds. For instance, it has been observed that meat products are discouraged or even banned in the menus in public canteens, in disregard of the fact that apart from its role in human health & well being, animal husbandry plays an important role in culture, societal well-being, food security, and the provision of livelihoods in developing countries in particular. There can be several reasons to justify discouragement to ASF consumption, but how to balance human health needs with that of other considerations. The scientists of a specific disciplines may not be sufficient enough to address this issue- role of ASF in sustainable human diets vis-a vis environmental & ethical implications of animal production. The vegan movement globally is getting stronger, risking decision making based on ethical and unsubstantiated reasons than on logical grounds by the policy makers.

I contributed some blogs, which again don’t take other implications of animal production, but only human health & well being:

Can Consumer-Centric Extension (CCE) Boost Animal-Sourced Food (ASF) Consumption?

Consuming Animal Sourced Foods (ASFs) is a must for a healthy living, so let’s improve animal production!

The researchers often work in isolation within the confines of their respective disciplines, so generally have compartmentalized thinking. They continue to be confined to their respective disciplines to be focused and excel publishing in their respective subjects than having broader outlook by taking up work in inter- disciplinary modes. There has been encouragement for interdisciplinary work but it seems it will take a long time for scientists to accept the importance of interdicsiplinary work and  have good connect with policy making bodies and decisions. This consultation, I see a good opportunity to sensitize the scientific community how they can contribute even more meaningfully by being able to be heard by policy making bodies.

Looking for your feedback!

Mahesh Chander