The Climate-Nutrition Connection in Food Security
ACToday, the primary Columbia World Project, goals to fight starvation in six international locations which are notably depending on agriculture and weak to the results of local weather change and fluctuations: Bangladesh, Colombia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Senegal and Vietnam.
In 2021, ACToday’s Senegal staff formalized a partnership with the Human Food and Nutrition Research Laboratory at Cheikh Anta Diop University — Senegal’s most prestigious larger training establishment and residential to the nation’s largest graduate coaching packages. The partnership goals to handle some of the under-researched matters in improvement: the hyperlinks between local weather and diet.
“We’re seeing a growing concern in the agricultural development and humanitarian communities that ignoring the nutritional aspects of food security can have long-term consequences on people’s health, which in turn can impact their future livelihoods,” stated James Hansen, the ACToday nation lead for Senegal.
The concern is especially salient for West Africa, which already has one of many highest charges of malnutrition in the world. Climate change may make the dietary state of affairs worse for the area, and never simply by reducing crop and livestock productiveness and eroding agricultural incomes that rural communities must buy numerous, nutrient-rich meals. It may additionally result in extra frequent flooding and heavy rainfall occasions that trigger outbreaks of diarrheal ailments, which have an effect on the physique’s capability to soak up vitamins.
In early 2021, ACToday, Cheikh Anta Diop University and Senegal’s nationwide meteorological service, the Agence Nationale de l’Aviation Civile et de la Météorologie, organized a three-hour webinar for the tutorial, coverage, local weather and diet communities to launch discussions about connections between local weather and diet.
“We wanted participants to explore the fundamentals of climate and climate-nutrition pathways on a conceptual level, as well as allow Senegal’s meteorological service to present examples of existing climate tools that could be tailored for the nutrition community,” stated Amanda Grossi, ACToday Senegal’s nation supervisor. The webinar’s success exceeded everybody’s expectations, Grossi stated.
“More than 110 attended, and not just from Senegal but from across West Africa. This was clearly a conversation people were waiting to have, and it highlighted a demand for including nutritional outcomes when discussing climate impacts on food security.”
Informed by the webinar discussions, ACToday and Cheikh Anta Diop University rapidly produced a six-module, 15-hour ‘short course’, which they piloted with 15 graduate college students. The course was designed to supply foundational data on local weather and climate-nutrition pathways, in addition to an summary of present instruments and sources that can be utilized to each analyze local weather dangers and help diet interventions.
The two companions additionally recognized quite a few alternatives for college students to work with Columbia’s Center for Climate Systems Research and the Rutgers School of Public Health on potential grasp’s thesis matters associated to local weather and diet. This analysis is now underway at each universities.
“The webinar was just a first step to open up many other doors and avenues of collaboration between those working in climate and nutrition, including and especially project managers. Addressing these issues is critical for our future.”
— Nicole Dossou, Human Food and Nutrition Laboratory, Cheikh Anta Diop University
Building on this momentum, in November 2021, ACToday Senegal organized a first-of-its-kind workshop with the nationwide meteorological service, Cheikh Anta Diop University and the National Council for Nutrition Development — the governing physique liable for all diet interventions in Senegal — to develop local weather providers particularly tailor-made to the diet neighborhood. The workshop’s individuals got here from a broad vary of educational, authorities, UN and nonprofit organizations working in diet. They recognized quite a few precedence areas the place related local weather data may enhance diet. One was to make use of forecasts to foretell low season rains and forestall post-harvest loss as a result of aflatoxin — poisonous substances produced by fungus that thrives in heat and humid circumstances that devastate harvests throughout Africa. Another was to develop seasonal forecasts and monitoring methods that would assist anticipate outbreaks of diarrheal ailments.
Previously, these establishments solely met often, if in any respect, stated Grossi, so getting them collectively is a giant deal for future nutrition-related coverage and planning in Senegal. “We cannot overstate the convening power of ACToday.”
Adapted from a narrative revealed by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society.