Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Harnessing Research and Innovation for FOOD 2030

8 February 2018. Outcome report of the FOOD 2030 conference "Harnessing Research and Innovation for FOOD 2030: A science policy dialogue". 60 pages

This conference was held in Brussels on the occasion of World Food Day on 16th October 2017 and highlighted successful European research and innovation outcomes relevant to Food and Nutrition Security and provided inspiration for further development of priorities which will play a key role in achieving the objectives of FOOD 2030.

The report will soon be also available online on the Food 2030 website: http://ec.europa.eu/research/bioeconomy/index.cfm?pg=policy&lib=food2030.

The Second FOOD 2030 High Level Event "Research & Innovation for Food and Nutrition Security – Transforming our food systems“ will take place from 14-15 June 2018 at the Agricultural University in Plovdiv under the auspices of the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU. A web site for on-line registration will be made available shortly and information will be provided at www.eu2018bg.bg.

Extracts:
The role of Research and Innovation in food systems is crucial to support long-term EU targets, Member States and regional priorities, relevant to natural resource management priorities, climate action, soil, air, water and biodiversity. Research and Innovation in food systems needs to tackle the complex phenomenon of migration for the long term. Research and Innovation has the opportunity to strengthen policy coherence and coverage in food systems, as well as the targeting of actors with influence. (page 4) 
There is a need for more face-to-face interactions with policy makers and  implementation mechanisms for research results to have measurable impact. (page 4) 
For the development of new products or by-products related to the circular economy it is important to go beyond the classical sectors and have a close look at the demand side. Cooperation with industry in this frame is also needed. (page 5) 
There is no single solution to the complex phenomenon of migration and a long-term approach will be needed. A key element in the process will be to improve the food and nutrition security in migrants' home countries and invest in rural development and agriculture to address some root causes of migration. (page 10) 
In 2017 many reports analysed the future of food systems globally. Unlike reports in previous years they adopt more and more a systematic approach, so they don't look at individual sectors alone and call e.g. for a boost of agricultural production. These recent reports look at the other factors of the food equation, calling for nutrition sensitive agriculture, addressing the need to reduce losses in the food system and addressing obesity risks in developing countries where the diet is solely based on sugar and cheap carbohydrates and lack diversity. (...) The reasons behind this increased attention by science and policy to the food systems approach, including sustainability concerns around food and agriculture and transformative science and technologies which are driving this growing interest.  
The Inter Academy Partnership study on Food and Nutrition Security and Agriculture 2017/18 could have a profound impact around the globe on how food systems are discussed at the science/policy interface.
See PAEPARD blogpost: 08/02/2018 Opportunities and Challenges for Research on Food and Nutrition Security and Agriculture in Europe
All world regions are engaged in the debate and are about to publish their regional report before the first half of 2018 when the global report is finalised. The approach is science based with a strict peer review process for all regional reports and the global synthesis report. (page 11) 
The African report is an example that will be inspired by African science policy agendas, including the Malabo declaration or the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme and also the EU-African Union High Level Policy Dialogue on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture.  (page 11) 
Related:
APRIL 06, 2017. Halle, Germany. IAP - Academies discuss Food and Nutrition Security and Agriculture Community Feed
While the regional reports and the ultimate global report are still being finalised, it is clear that there is a role for science in developing a holistic food system, for example by utilising new technologies to improve agricultural production (such as biotechnology or precision agriculture), and by highlighting areas where appropriate regulations need to be implemented (such as seed quality and initiatives to encourage people to switch to healthier behaviours). Likewise, there is a need for innovation and entrepreneurship to develop new food preservation and processing technologies so that the food that is grown can reach the markets. 

This will also create jobs – important in regions where there is a growing young population. Social scientists must work with governments and other stakeholders to devise the best ways to inform the public about healthy eating and ensure that all members of society, including the poorest and most marginalised, can access an adequate diet. And there is a need to use the opportunities provided by ‘big data’ to improve monitoring and evaluation of food chains.

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