New research and innovation strategy puts aquatic foods at the center of transformational COVID-19 recovery for sustainable and equitable global food systems
30 November 2020 - PENANG, MALAYSIA - WorldFish today launched a new strategy charting a decade-long aquatic foods research and innovation agenda toward sustainable and equitable global food systems.
The WorldFish 2030 Research and Innovation Strategy: Aquatic Foods for Healthy People and Planet sets a pathway to end hunger and advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 through science and innovation to transform food, land, and water systems with aquatic foods.
Currently, over 2 billion people around the world lack access to diverse, nutritious, and safe diets that can sustain healthy, active lives. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and growing climate crisis have underscored the call to transform global food systems. In response, WorldFish is broadening its mandate to include larger aspects of aquatic food systems and their essential role in sustaining human well-being and the health of our planet.
Fish and other aquatic foods provide around 3.3 billion people, with 20 percent of their animal protein intake. The human appetite for aquatic foods shows no signs of slowing, with global fish consumption rising at a yearly growth rate faster than beef. Historically undervalued, aquatic foods must occupy a central place in our food futures and COVID-19 recovery through the global agricultural research agenda, alongside land-based crops and livestock. This agenda must link to the blue economy and ocean space, whose assets such as fisheries, shipping lanes, and tourism are worth USD 24 trillion. This task is critical to ensure a full representation of the food system, address the complex links among food, land, and water systems, and unlock an ocean of opportunities in an emerging blue economy that must prioritize social inclusion and equity.
The WorldFish strategy lays the ground for aquatic food systems focused on achieving SDG 2: Zero Hunger while paying special attention to SDG 14: Life Below Water, leveraging both of these goals to score progress on other multiple SDGs. The transformative agenda focuses on three crucial areas of impact: (1) Climate resilience and environmental biodiversity, (2) Social and economic inclusion, and (3) Nutrition and public health. The shift toward food systems research takes into account the four dimensions of natural, produced, human, and social capital in food systems, from production through to consumption.
The strategy to 2030 provides a guiding framework for innovation at the intersection of research, technology, markets, policies, and social mobilization across disciplines and sectors. It has a scaling focus on leveraging partnerships to increase the speed of getting evidence-based solutions into the hands of the people who can drive transformational change. The direction till 2030 prepares a concrete roadmap for the organizational transformation and a refreshed business model, which reimagines operations in order to successfully weather the uncertainties of the future and thrive.
WorldFish’s unique proposition as the only center dedicated to aquatic food systems within the CGIAR—the world’s largest agricultural innovation network—champions the important but largely overlooked role of aquatic foods in meeting the critical challenges associated with the SDGs, as well as those outlined in the 2030 One CGIAR Research and Innovation Strategy.
WorldFish Director General Dr Gareth Johnstone, said: “This aquatic foods research and innovation agenda is grounded in transformational COVID-19 recovery that builds long-term food systems solutions for healthy people and planet.”
“Fish and other aquatic foods are nutrient-rich, affordable, highly traded, and produced with a relatively low carbon footprint. They must occupy a central place in the global agricultural research agenda, which has traditionally focused on land-based crops and livestock.”
“For a resilient and inclusive food system, it’s time to look at land and sea through the same lens. We cannot thrive without all the food land and water can produce, in a sustainable way that takes into human health and the health of the planet.”
“WorldFish is committed to build on its multidisciplinary research and cross-sector partnerships with fellow CGIAR centers and with national and international partners in favor of a more ambitious, game-changing agenda to ensure innovations get into the hands of the people who need them.”
WorldFish Board Chair, Dr. Yusuf Abubakar, said: “Transforming global food systems toward healthy and sustainable diets is simply not possible without the opportunity to examine, quantify and include the contributions of aquatic food systems. Our priority is to better integrate fish and aquatic foods into the global agricultural research agenda and link the latter to the blue economy and ocean space, whose assets such as fisheries, shipping lanes, and tourism are worth USD 24 trillion. This task is critical to ensure a full representation of the food system, address the complex links among food, land and water systems, and unlock an ocean of opportunities in an emerging blue economy that must prioritize social inclusion and equity.”
“WorldFish is the only center in CGIAR with 45 years of experience in fisheries and aquaculture research in low-and middle-income countries. Its unique proposition champions the important but largely overlooked role of aquatic foods in meeting the critical challenges associated with the SDGs, as well as those outlined in the 2030 Research and Innovation Strategy of One CGIAR.”
Read the WorldFish Research and Innovation Strategy 2020–2030: Aquatic Foods for Healthy People and Planet online or download pdf.
WorldFish is an international, nonprofit research and innovation institution that creates, advances, and translates aquatic food systems science into scalable solutions for healthy people and planet. For over 45-years, WorldFish’s data, evidence, and insights have shaped practices, policies, and investments to end hunger and advance sustainable development in low- and middle-income countries.
WorldFish has a global presence across 20 countries in Asia, Africa, and the Pacific, with 460 staff of 30 nationalities deployed where the greatest sustainable development challenges can be addressed through holistic aquatic food systems solutions. Embedded in local, national, and international partnerships, its work sets agendas, builds capacities, and supports decision-making for climate action, food and nutrition security, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, blue economy, One Health, and AgriTech, integrating gender, youth, and social inclusion.
WorldFish makes part of CGIAR, the world’s largest agricultural innovation network.
CGIAR is a global research and innovation network for a food secure future. CGIAR research is dedicated to reducing rural poverty, increasing food security, improving human health and nutrition, and ensuring sustainable management of natural resources. It is carried out by the 15 Centers that are members of the CGIAR Consortium in close collaboration with hundreds of partners, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, development organizations, and the private sector. CGIAR is targeting multiple benefits across five Impact Areas. For each of the Impact Areas, CGIAR will contribute to collective global targets for the transformation of food, land, and water systems across local, regional, and global levels.
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