Food and Nutrition Security and Agriculture

Agriculture & Food Security
Sustainable Development Goals


Update: April 2019

See here for the a commentary on the FNSA project published in the Lancet Planetary Health Transforming food systems to deliver healthy, sustainable diets—the view from the world's science academies.

Update: February 2019

IAP 'food and nutrition' events in Washington: Members of the project from IAP, NASAC, AASSA, IANAS and EASAC presented the regional and global findings at scientific sessions in Washington DC organised by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI, “Transforming food systems to deliver healthy, sustainable diets: the view from the world’s science academies”, February 14) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, “Food and nutrition security: scientific partnerships and opportunities”, February 15).

Update: November 2018

New global synthesis report from 130 national academies issues wake-up call to leaders on eve of COP24: Global food systems are failing humanity and speeding up climate change.

Update: October 2018

Please click here to read a book review by Jong K. Ha on the AASSA report on Food and Nutrition Security and Agriculture (FNSA) and the Global Report from IAP report.

Update: April 2018

The IAP Food and Nutrition and Agriculture (FNSA) global programme is completing its first phase, the publication of four regional reports – one by each of IAP’s regional networks of academies.


At a kick-off workshop held at the German National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina, experts identified by IAP member academies for their expertise in different areas of the food-nutrition-agriculture nexus convened in Halle, Germany, in June 2015. There they identified a series of 10 key questions (see below) that the envisaged report should seek to address.

Working groups were then established by each of the IAP regional networks (AASSA, EASAC, IANAS and NASAC) to answer these questions from their national and regional perspectives.

Now, after two years of regional deliberation, together with additional coordination meetings, such as the project’s midterm evaluation event, held in Halle, the IAP regional networks are publishing their reports:

The project coordinator is now developing an over-arching document that will review similarities and differences among the four regional reports. That global report will be published later in 2018.

A summary of the findings of the IAP regional reports will also be presented at the meeting of the G20 Heads of State in Argentina in July 2018 where agriculture and health both feature among the main work streams.

The key questions answered by each of the reports from a regional perspective were:

  1. What are key elements to cover in describing national/regional characteristics for FNSA?
  2. What are major challenges/opportunities for FNSA and future projections for the region?
  3. What are strengths and weaknesses of science and technology at national/regional level?
  4. What are the prospects for innovation to improve agriculture (e.g. next 25 years) at the farm scale?
  5. What are the prospects for increasing efficiency of food systems?
  6. What are the public health and nutrition issues, particularly with regard to impact of dietary change on food demand and health?
  7. What is the competition for arable land use?
  8. What are other major environmental issues associated with FNSA at the landscape scale?
  9. What may be the impact of national/regional regulatory frameworks and other sectoral/inter-sectoral public policies on FNSA?
  10. What are some of the implications for inter-regional/global levels?


The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, and the InterAcademy Partnership are undertaking a project on ‘Food and Nutrition Security and Agriculture'. Supported by IAP for Science, the project is almost exclusively funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as the project on ‘Strengthening the Global Network of Science Academies (IAP) - Global and regional statements on food and nutrition security and agriculture’. IAP is also providing financial support, while some IAP member academies and the affiliated regional networks are providing in-kind support.

Project rationale

At a time of increasing pressures from population growth, climate change, social and economic inequity and instability, the continuing need to avoid further loss in ecosystem biodiversity, and pressures on other critical resources (such as water and energy), there are major challenges in delivering food and nutrition security. While agriculture has a central role to play in tackling food and nutrition security, viewed more broadly, food and nutrition security also relies on physical, biological, socio-political and economic environments. Furthermore, tackling the challenges of sustainable agriculture requires the deployment of all available approaches, including both traditional and novel, building on the existing achievements of good agronomic practices.

For food (including nutrient and micronutrient) security, there is an ongoing need to identify and tackle key targets and to link health-related indicators with the Sustainable Development Goals. Under the project, work will focus on food production issues as well as issues related to the demand-side and other considerations (e.g. the need to reduce food loss and waste, and the impact of changing food preferences and dietary composition).

The project will produce four regional reports along with a global synthesis that highlights the similarities and differences between the regions, providing advice and recommendations for implementation at global, regional and national levels, customised according to local circumstances and strategic needs. Indeed, a core part of this IAP activity is to combine the twin goals of delivering strong, consensus messages at the global level, with clarification of the scientific basis of current disparities in policy expectations and objectives and future options in different regions of the world.

First project meeting

The project was initiated with a meeting at the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in Halle (Saale), Germany, on 31 May - 2 June 2015. This meeting sought the advice of experts from around the globe to clarify the choice of topics where work by IAP and its regional academy networks might add value to the considerable work already conducted by many other scientists in seeking to advise policy-makers. To this end, experts from IAP’s affiliated regional networks discussed the issues at stake, drafted a project roadmap, and agreed on a focus of the working groups’ activities as well as a suitable timeline.

Main Activities:

Regional Activities:

Each of IAP’s regional networks established its own Working Group to produce the regional deliverables, identifying inter-regional issues and providing information to feed into the global phase.

Global Activities:

A review meeting in Hermanus, South Africa, on 28 February 2016, provided an update on the status in each of these four regional activities, with estimates of the timetable to completion.

A second global review meeting aimed at coordinating the finalization of the reports as well as release schedules, etc, was held in Halle, Germany, on 3-5 April 2017.

Once the four regional networks’ statements are available, they will be used to feed into a global statement, to be launched at an international event and disseminated among policy-makers and stakeholders worldwide.

Project Head:

Professor Volker ter Meulen, Co-chair, IAP for Science, & past president, German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina


  • Association of Academies and Societies of Sciences in Asia (AASSA)
  • European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC)
  • InterAmerican Network of Academies of Science (IANAS)
  • Network of African Science Academies (NASAC)
  • InterAcademy Partnership (IAP)

Email contacts:

Anja Geissler, IAP project assistant, German National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina -

Secretariat, InterAcademy Partnership -





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