Leaders in all low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are facing an immediate dilemma. The need to transform their food systems is growing ever more urgent to deliver on hunger and nutrition, climate change adaptation, and sustainability. Moreover, universal access to diets that are affordable, healthy, and sustainable is a prerequisite to deliver on green growth, poverty reduction, and equity. Yet at the same time, LMICs are experiencing ever-tightening financial resources, as the growing debt crisis and inflation bite ever deeper.
Transforming food systems across the world will be costly. Though not all decisions require heavy investment. In this webinar, we discussed a surprisingly diverse range of actions that are relatively low-cost, or even cost-neutral as put forth by the Global Panel in their policy brief on ‘Pursuing food system transformation despite financial constraints’.
Sir John Beddington is the Senior Adviser to the Oxford Martin School and Professor of Natural Resource Management at Oxford University. He was from 2008 until 2013 the Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) reporting directly to the Prime Minister. As GCSA, he led on providing scientific advice to Government during the 2009 swine flu outbreak, the 2010 volcanic ash incident and the emergency at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011. As GCSA, he was also responsible for increasing the scientific capacity across Whitehall by encouraging all major departments of state to recruit a Chief Scientific Adviser.
Throughout 2008 and 2009 Sir John raised the concept of the “Perfect Storm” of food, energy and water security in the context of climate change, gaining considerable media attention and raising this as a priority in the UK and internationally. During 2011 he chaired an International Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change. Prior to his appointment as GCSA, he was Professor of Applied Population Biology and headed the main departments of environmental science and technology at Imperial College.
A specialist in the application of economics and biology to particular problems in the management of fisheries and other renewable resources, Sir John has previously been advisor to a number of UK Government departments including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Defence and the Cabinet Office.
He has also advised several Governments and international bodies including the Australian, New Zealand and US Governments, the European Commission, the United Nations Environment Programme and Food and Agriculture Organisation. He was, for six years, a member of the Natural Environment Research Council. In June 1997 he was awarded the Heidelberg Award for Environmental Excellence; in 2001 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 2004 he was awarded the Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George by Her Majesty the Queen and in June 2010 was awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. He attended the London School of Economics, gaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics, and later a Master of Science degree within the Philosophy Department then headed by Sir Karl Popper. In 1973 he obtained a PhD in Population Biology from the University of Edinburgh.
Tom Arnold is Chair of a Task Force on Rural Africa established by the European Commission in May 2018. He is also former Director General of the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA). From August 2014 to February 2016 he was Interim Coordinator, Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement; he was also Chairman of the Irish Constitutional Convention (2012-14) and Chief Executive of Concern Worldwide (2001-13).
He has served on a number of governmental and non-governmental bodies at national, European and international level including the UN Millennium Project’s Hunger Task Force, the Irish Hunger Task Force, the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the Irish Government’s Commission on Taxation, the Consortium Board of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research, the International Advisory Board of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the NGO European Food Security Group, the Montpellier Panel and the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice. He is Chairman of the Irish Times Trust and a member of the Board of the Irish Times, Ireland’s leading newspaper.
Professor Amos Laar has received academic training in Nutrition, Public Health, and Bioethics. Currently, his research straddles two distinct, yet related areas of public health – bioethics (including public health ethics; food ethics, nutrition rights); and public health nutrition (including food environments, and their nexus with diet-related NCDs). Overall, his work examines how social forces, commercial forces, and structural violence influence the realization of health. In 2019, he was recognized in the Lancet for his effort at combating diet-related NCDs in Ghana. Recently, he led a coalition of civil society organizations and academics to mount a successful advocacy intervention in support of Ghana’s Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax. He is the Principal Investigator of a grant that is supporting the government of Ghana to develop a nutrient profiling system and to apply it to four food-based policies. He served as the President of the African Nutrition Society from 2016 to 2022, and is currently a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Adeyinka Onabolu, Senior Advisor on Food Security & Nutrition – GAIN
Dr Adeyinka Onabolu is a Public Health Nutritionist, and Technology transfer & Training specialist. She holds a PhD in International Health, a master’s degree in food technology with specialization in food product development, and a B.Sc. in Human Nutrition. She is also a Registered Nurse and Midwife. She has more than 30 years’ experience working on international Development programs on Food Security and Nutrition; HIV & AIDS; and Water and Sanitation. She has also worked as a researcher with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and the International Livestock Research Institute on food and nutrition issues.
She is currently employed by GAIN as a Senior Advisor on Food Security & Nutrition and has been providing policy advisory support to Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development in Nigeria since June 2016. Her role harnesses Government, private sector, and development partners’ efforts to reduce malnutrition and food insecurity in the country and promotes the recognition that the nutrition challenge is multi-faceted, and that actions to address them are paramount to efforts to reduce poverty and drive sustainable economic development in Nigeria.
Dr. Patrick Webb is the Alexander McFarlane Professor of Nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Until 2005, Dr. Webb was the Chief of Nutrition at the United Nations World Food Programme in Rome. Today, he is the Director of the Feed the Future Food Systems for Nutrition Innovation Lab. He has served on numerous task forces and global advisory panels, including currently serving on the High-Level Panel of Experts of the Committee on World Food Security, he is technical adviser to the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, and serves as one of the Commissioners for the ongoing Eat-Lancet 2.0 study.
Dr. Shibani Ghosh is a Research Associate Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She is the Associate Director for the Feed the Future Food Systems for Nutrition Innovation Lab and also the Principal Investigator of the Jordan Nutrition Innovation Lab. She has experience working in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, and her research interests are in understanding the role of agriculture in improving nutrition while ensuring health, assessing the diet and non-diet determinants of nutritional status of infants and young children, and testing interventions aimed at improving maternal and infant nutrition and growth.