Virtual Ocean Dialogues: Transforming the global agricultural research and development agenda with aquatic foods

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This dialogue was part of the Virtual Ocean Dialogues programme, convened by the World Economic Forum’s Friends of Ocean Action. 

The World Economic Forum and the Friends of Ocean Action hosted the Virtual Ocean Dialogues from 1 – 5 June 2020

The “Transforming the global agricultural research and development agenda with aquatic foods” Dialogue on 4 June 2020 at 12:30 AM – 01:30 AM (UTC+8) featured Gareth Johnstone, WorldFish’s Director-General. He was joined by Marco Ferroni, CGIAR’s Chair of System Management Board, Tony Cavalieri from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Jim Leape from the Blue Food Assessment, Stanford University. This session was facilitated by Tana Lala-Pritchard, WorldFish’s Director of Communications and Marketing.

Click here to watch event recording

Context of the event:

Our ocean has been a source of food for billions of people around the world. Demand for fish and aquatic foods continues to increase as human population grows and diets change. So is the pressure to ensure efficient production and distribution systems to deliver healthy, safe and nutritious fish and aquatic foods, while taking into account socio-economic issues and environmental sustainability, particularly with respect to linkages and trade-offs between land and water food production systems.

Aquaculture now provides around half the fish for direct human consumption and is set to grow further, while capture fisheries continue to make essential contributions to food and nutrition security throughout the global South. Despite their importance, fish and aquatic foods are frequently overlooked in important policy and investment decisions due to the critical gaps in knowledge and the empirical evidenceneeded to address the complex challenges set out in the global sustainable development agenda by 2030, made now even more urgent by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

Scientific research and innovation on sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, and resilient fish value chains to guide different market actorsand decision-makers towards viable evidence-based policy choices and investment options are critical if we are to truly leverage the potential of the world’s fastest-growing food production sector – aquaculture, as well as sustainable fisheries to transform global food systems and make them work for both people and the environment

This session offered a chance to discuss priorities and the strategic vision for a new global research program and partnerships required to ensure fish and aquatic foods are an integral part of the future agricultural research and development agenda to enable a transformation of global food systems towards healthier and sustainable diets

  1. Why do we need a systems research approach to guide policy and investment decisions related to land and aquatic food production systems
  2. How can public and private actors come together to innovate across multiple land and water ecosystems to ensure healthy, safe, nutritious foods from both land and water are affordable, accessible and socially and environmentally responsible
  3. How can we ensure a sustainable supply of affordable and accessible aquatic foods are part of healthy and balanced diets to solve critical public health challenges at global and national levels