Responding to the global call to action for sustainable transformation of food systems amid the growing climate crisis, WorldFish has pledged USD 1 million to expand scientific understanding of the role of aquatic foods for planetary health and human wellbeing in 2020.
The commitment would support the development of a new, multi-year global research program on fish and future aquatic foods; the establishment of a Fish for Africa Innovation Hub to help accelerate national and regional efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 through cutting-edge market and policy innovations informed by scientific evidence on affordable, safe and sustainably fish and aquatic foods.
The pledges were made during the 6th annual “Our Ocean Conference” hosted by the government of Norway, in Oslo.
WorldFish is an international, nonprofit research organization with headquarters in Penang, Malaysia, and offices in Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. Its mission is to harness the potential of fisheries and aquaculture to reduce poverty and hunger in developing countries.
The new initiative includes national foresight studies for India and Nigeria – countries with large fisheries sectors that are expected to grow significantly in the coming years. Ultimately, WorldFish would utilise the new research program on fish and aquatic foods to build a coalition of public and private partners to help accelerate the transition to sustainable aquatic food systems and enhanced ocean governance.
Speaking on the development, the Director-General, WorldFish, Dr. Gareth Johnstone, said there was a great promise in fish and aquatic foods to feed billions, nourish nations, and help make the much-needed transition to healthier diets and more sustainable food systems.
According to him, “We must make fish and aquatic foods matter to as many policy makers, investors and entrepreneurs as possible and place them at the heart of the food and nutrition security agenda and the wider efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Our commitment will ensure good food policies and smart investments for a healthy and sustainable future are informed by solid scientific evidence on the critical value of fish and aquatic foods to the health of people and our planet,” he said.
This latest pledge by WorldFish at the 2019 Our Ocean conference is in addition to the 2017 commitment of USD 57.8 million to generate scientific research and innovations in support of the sustainable development of small-scale fisheries in the framework of the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-food Systems, which WorldFish leads in partnerships with International Water Management Institute, the James Cook University, the University of Greenwich and the Wageningen University & Research.
The move which is new voluntary commitment from WorldFish at the 2019 Our Ocean conference focus on: strategic foresight studies to generate scientific evidence on the trade-offs and synergies across water- and land-based food production systems, and the effects of issues like the rise of lab-grown or “synthetic” fish meat.