They also discussed scaling up conservation solutions for justifiable livelihood outcomes within environmental boundaries

Experts at a webinar on Thursday urged Bangladesh to make transformative changes towards aquatic food systems to bolster food and nutrition security.

As part of a series of dialogues in preparation for the upcoming UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) 2021, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and WorldFish jointly organized a virtual event titled “Transformation and Future of Aquatic Food Systems in Bangladesh.”

In this dialogue, fisheries, aquaculture practitioners, nutrition experts, and high-level representatives from the science and policy development sector discussed critical issues and solutions for the future of sustainable aquatic food systems in Bangladesh.

They also discussed scaling up conservation solutions for justifiable livelihood outcomes within environmental boundaries.

Nur Khondaker, FAO’s assistant representative, welcomed participants in the UNFSS dialogue webinar.

Khaja Andul Hannan, additional secretary of the Ministry of Food, Bangladesh & National Convener of Food System Dialogue, delivered the opening remarks.

Director-General of WorldFish Gareth Johnson said that Bangladesh is an example to the world of the possibilities from cross-sectoral collaboration with support for research and innovation in aquatic foods.

It is an example of how to transform fisheries and aquaculture to nourish a nation and boost livelihoods while protecting the environment, he also said.

A food systems approach and co-management has seen hilsa stocks double while also increasing the incomes of fisher households by 65 percent through alternative income generation. This has been a great balancing act, balancing conservation with livelihoods, the WorldFish DG added.

He said that nutrition-sensitive aquatic food systems could be a game-changing solution towards the transformation of aquatic food systems in Bangladesh, he said.

2021 World Food Prize Laureate and Global Lead for Nutrition and Public Health of WorldFish Shakuntala Thilsted said: “Research and innovation are important regarding transformation of the food system and adopting aquatic foods.”

She emphasized ensuring food safety and increasing the intake of diverse, nutritious fish-based food.

Fisheries’ scientists, aquatic food systems experts, and policymakers discussed the challenges aquatic food systems face and how to mobilize relevant actors to transform and contribute to required actions and a set of policy recommendations.

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