Experts at a webinar on Thursday urged for bringing transformative changes to aquatic food systems in Bangladesh.
As a part of series of dialogues in preparation of the upcoming UN Food Systems Summit 2021, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and WorldFish jointly organized the virtual event on 'Transformation and Future of Aquatic Food Systems in Bangladesh'
In the dialogue, fisheries and aquaculture practitioners, nutrition experts and high-level representatives from science and policy development discussed the critical issues and identify the solutions for the future sustainable aquatic food systems in Bangladesh, said a press release.
The multidisciplinary panelists talked about different aspects of food and nutrition security and discussed scaling up conservation solutions for the justifiable livelihood outcomes within environmental boundaries.
Dr Nur Khondaker, FAO welcomed participants in the UNFSS dialogue webinar. Then Khaja Andul Hannan, additional secretary to Ministry of Food and national convener of Food System Dialogue, delivered the opening remarks.
Dr Johnstone, Gareth (WorldFish), director general of WorldFish presented the keynote. He said 'Bangladesh is an example to the world of what is possible when there is cross-sectoral collaboration and support for research and innovation in aquatic foods. It is an example of how to transform fisheries and aquaculture to nourish a nation, boost livelihoods while protecting the environment.
A food systems approach and co-management has seen hilsa stocks double while at the same time increasing the incomes of fisher households by 65 percent through alternative income generation. This has been a great balancing act, balancing conservation with livelihoods'.
He also said, "Nutrition sensitive aquatic food systems could be game-changing solution to Transformation of Aquatic Food Systems in Bangladesh".
After keynote presentation, the participants took part in the discussion of 4 plenary groups. Dr Benoy Barman of WorldFish facilitated aquatic Food Systems, Food & Nutrition Security, and Sustainable Consumption session.
Umme Kulsum of FAO Bangladesh facilitated "Nature-Positive Production, Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience against Shocks and Stress'' session, while Dr Md Abul Hasanat and Ziaul Hoque of FAO Bangladesh facilitated Ensuring Equitable Livelihoods in Aquatic Food Systems session. Apart from that, Dr Md Nahiduzzaman of WorldFish facilitated session on Governance and Policy Dimensions for Aquatic Food Systems.
Dr Shakuntala Thilsted, 2021 World Food Prize Laureate, Global Lead for Nutrition and Public Health of WorldFish talked about key points of discussion. She said research and innovation are important regarding transformation of food system & adopting aquatic foods. She emphasised ensuring food safety, intake of nutritious fish-based diversified food.
Quazi Shams Afroz, director general of Department of Fisheries (DoF) addressed the event as chief guest while FAO's Robert Simpson took part in the program as special guest.
Fisheries scientists, aquatic food systems experts and policymakers also took part in the event.
Speakers of the event talked about detailed challenges faced in the aquatic food systems, contribute to possible required actions, mobilize relevant actors, and come up with a set of policy recommendations.
At the end of the event, Dr Mutisungilire Kachulu of FAO delivered vote of thanks.