The 1,000 participants that gathered in Delhi last week for an international conference organized by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) came from 65 countries and from the agricultural, health, nutrition, and related sectors and represented governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, research organizations and academia alike.
Some 150 chairpersons, speakers and rapporteurs engaged themselves in 30 sessions, for which 29 papers and briefs were developed. More than a dozen ‘side events’ also took place, including one co-organized by IFPRI and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) on the development of a new joint program called ‘Agriculture for Improved Nutrition and Health,’ with ILRI veterinary scientists John McDermott and Delia Grace presenting information about the growing risks to human health arising at the livestock-human interface.
Another side event, on capacity strengthening to improve links between agriculture, nutrition and health, featured ILRI’s head of capacity strengthening, Purvi Mehta-Bhatt, as one of its four speakers.
The conference organizers also put on a ‘Knowledge Fair’, where participants viewed exhibits and posters, heard ‘rapid-fire’ presentations and engaged in lively discussion groups.
Among the conclusions: Although we need to learn more about how to make agricultural investments more ‘nutrition- and health-friendly’, these three sectors rarely work together towards their common goals. Four steps for moving forward were agreed to be:
- Fill the knowledge gaps
- Minimize any harm
- Scale up innovative solutions
- Create cooperative environments
The nine themes that most engaged the participants were:
- Communicate better
- Improve investments
- Build the evidence base
- Move ahead based on available information and common sense
- Collaborate across sectors
- Develop multidisciplinary university programs
- Look at food systems, not just agricultural systems
- Proactively engage the health sector
- Recognize that women are at the nexus of the three sectors
View the summary presentation at:Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition and Health: IFPRI 2020 conference at a glance