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Global Panel Launch - Making Agriculture Work for Nutrition

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 18:00 to 20:00

The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition was officially launched at a public discussion ‘Making Agriculture Work for Nutrition’, held at LSHTM on 29 November 2013.


Audience at the launch eventThe public discussion focussed on how we can make agriculture work for nutrition: What is the problem? What needs to be done? and What is the role of the Global Panel?


Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, welcomed the Panel and underlined the importance of getting nutrition integrated into different sectors, as was done with HIV/AIDS.


Tony Burdon, Head of Growth and Resilience at DFID, thanked the Bill & Melinda Foundation for co-funding this project. He emphasised the importance of bringing research and evidence together in this public issue of tackling nutrition.


Jeff Waage, LIDC Director and Technical Advisor to the Global Panel, opened the session by introducing the whole Panel (view the  full list of Global Panel members).


John Beddington, former UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor and Co-Chair of the Global Panel, gave an overview of the key trends over the next 20 years. Climate change, urbanisation and population increase will be the main challenges the global community will have to face. Focussing food systems and agricultural development on calorific increases will not address nutritional deficiencies. Nor will malnutrition be addressed by food increase alone. Beddington argued we need to think about our children’s children and the world they will live in. We need to move malnutrition higher on the policy and research agenda.


Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development at the African Union Commission, highlighted that 2014 is the year of Agriculture and Food Security. It makes economic sense to have a society that is nourished and Africa is ready to address the issue of malnutrition. The Commissioner argued that the Global Panel’s outputs should reach the grassroots.


Jane Karuku, President of AGRA, said agriculture has never been discussed more widely than in the past two years, which presents us with an opportunity to act now. She argued that nutrition should be addressed across the whole food chain and she touched on issues such as market demand, sustainability, urbanisation and the role of the private sector. We must consider how change will affect the farmer and how we can address the issue of gender. Government investment and policy engagement are key for improved linkages between agriculture and nutrition.


Emmy Simmons, Board Member, Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa/Agree, said that every day in every home across the world people think about what they are going to eat. The agriculture for nutrition agenda unites us all. There are innumerable good ideas about how agriculture can be changed to improve nutrition.


John Kufuor, former President of Ghana, Co-Chair of the Global Panel, said nutrition holds the key to overcoming many challenges we face in the future.  Nutrition is not just a problem for the poor, it is a global problem. It affects everyone, in the form of undernutrition or obesity. The objectives of the Global Panel are:

1) contribute to evidence base on how agriculture and food systems can improve nutrition

2) create a global understanding of the role of agriculture for nutrition

3) stimulate collaborative actions in agriculture and food systems which will improve diets and nutrition.

In response to the need to increase the contribution of agriculture and food systems to achieving targets for improving nutrition, the UK has led the establishment of a new Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition. The Global Panel is funded by the UK government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.



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