#CFS42-Healthy diets from climate-smart food systems: Debating a climate-smart approach for a food-secure future

The 42nd CFS event is currently being held at FAO. On Tuesday 13th October, IFAD and CGIAR hosted a side event: Healthy diets from climate-smart food systems: Debating a climate-smart approach for a food-secure future.

Amongst the speakers was Ska Mirriam Moteane, an award winning Lesothan chef, Hervé Saint-Macary, the deputy director of Persyst (Performance of Production and Transformation Systems ) at CIRAD. Other speakers included IFAD's Environment and Climate Division's agronomist Bertrand Reysset and University of Harvard Professor of Nutrition, Walter Willet.

Opening the event was CGIAR Chief Executive Frank Rijsberman, who underlined the importance of bringing together the themes of agricultural production, climate change, nutrition and food security.
''How do we produce healthy food, and importantly, how do we produce healthy food from sustainable food systems?,'' said Rijsberman. “Unhealthy food is a key driver in pushing our planetary boundaries, and we are now risking an unstable planet.''

The majority of agriculture investments are directed at producing staples such as cereals, and not towards vegetables and other means of diversifying a healthy diet.

'The world is overinvested in cereals and underinvested in nutritious crops,'' added Frank Rijsberman.

Modern agriculture can bring with it nutritional risks despite increasing real income. Under a gender perspective, commercial agriculture often  undermines the role of women in traditional agriculture.

”The potential to improveme diets worldwide is huge but the evidence so far suggests that as a planet we are heading down the wrong path,” said Harvard’s Walter Willet.

The importance of knowledge for healthy diets was also highlighted. Preparing healthy food requires extra knowledge. As we now have to produce more food with less natural resources we must use a wider diversity of crops and a more intelligent approach.  Disseminating this knowledge is key.

''We are seeing an increase in junk and unhealthy food being introduced even in Lesotho…this has to stop,” said Chef Ska Motoeane. ” Eating nutritious meals is seen as scary, like school work, a chore, but nutritious meals can still be appetising and delicious, and people need to know this!''
©FAO/Giulio Napolitano

©FAO/Giulio Napolitano

©FAO/Giulio Napolitano

©FAO/Giulio Napolitano