Promoting Agricultural Transition in Asian Mega-Deltas

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To highlight the lessons learned, challenges ahead, and recommendations that could be taken into account for agricultural transformations in the Asian Mega-Deltas, the CGIAR Initiative on Securing the Food Systems of Asian Mega‐Deltas for Climate and Livelihood Resilience (AMD) and Wageningen University & Research (WUR) organized an interactive dialogue event, which is officially part of the Benelux/EIB Pavilion at the Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference (COP27).

Moderated by Dr. Bjoern Ole Sander, lead of AMD and senior scientist at the International Rice Research Institute, and Dr. Ivo Demmers, head of the Programme Food Security and Valuing Water Program-WUR, the session tackled how inclusive and evidence-based planning can transform ecosystems and lives of farmers in the Asian Mega-Deltas. Using interactive approaches, the session was participated by representatives from the governments, international research organizations, academe, and other related stakeholders.

The deltas are drowning

In her keynote address, Dr. Shakuntala Thilsted, World Food Prize Laureate 2021 and Global Lead for Nutrition and Public Health of WorldFish, emphasized how the Asian Mega-Deltas, particularly Mekong, Irrawaddy, and Ganges-Brahmaputra, serve as food baskets to more than 170M people living in the deltaic nations and also to the countries surrounding these deltas. However, she added that “rising sea levels and increasing soil salinity threaten the agri-food system in the deltas, leading to more hotspots of poverty and food and nutrition insecurity.”

Dr. Shakuntala stressed that inaction or delayed action to address this climate-related issues affecting the deltas will have lasting effects on the present and future generations. “The increase of climate refugees will also change urban migration patterns resulting in more socio-political issues for deltaic nations and even the nations surround them,” she elaborated. Thus, she underscored the importance of deltaic agri-food systems transformation, which is built on the principles of nutrition sensitivity and…

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