Category Archives: Health, Nutrition and Wellbeing

Indigenous health in Latin America and the Caribbean

by Raul A. Montenegro and Carolyn Stephens.

This review is the second in a series on Indigenous health, covering different regions and issues. We look briefly at the current state of Indigenous health in Latin America and the Caribbean, a region with over 400 different indigenous groups and a total population of 45 to 48 million people. We describe the complex history and current reality of Indigenous peoples’ situation within the American continent. We discuss the importance of Indigenous health systems and medicines, and look at changing political environments in the region. The paper concludes with a discussion of the changing political and legislative environment in Latin American countries.

The paper can be read and downloaded here.

Comparing the global and merged with the local and separate: On a downside to the integration of regions and nations

by Oded Stark
This paper looks at the integration of regions and nations through the prism of the merger of populations (societies). The paper employs a particular index of social stress. Stylized examples of the merging of two populations suggest that with integration, the social
stressindex will increase. The examples form the basis for the development of new formulas for calculating the social stress of an
integrated population as a function of the levels of social stress of the constituent populations when apart.The formulas reveal that
the social stress of an integrated population is higher than the sum of the levels of social stress of the constituent populations when apart. This raises the distinct possibility that the merging of  populations may be a social liability: integration may fail to give the
populace a sense of improved wellbeing.
The paper can be read and downloaded here.

Social Safety Nets for Food and Nutritional Security in India

by Sudha Narayanan and Nicolas Gerber

This paper brings together existing literature on the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNRGEA) and the Public Distribution System (PDS) in India, offering a narrative

review of the evidence on impacts on food security, health and nu
trition of beneficiaries. Bothprograms operate on a large scale and have the capacity to impact the factors leading toundernutrition. It is evident that despite the deficiencies in implementation, both the MGNREGA andthe PDS are inclusive and reach the
poor and the marginalized who are likely to also experience
greater undernutrition and poor health. Data challenges have however prevented researchers from conducting studies that assess the ultimate impact of these two large – scale programs on health and nutrition. The evidence that exists suggests largely positive impacts indicating a clear potential tomake these programs more nutrition sensitive not just by incorporating elements that would
explicitly address nutritional concerns but also by directing sp
ecific attention to innovations thatstrengthen critical complementarities and synergies that exist between the two programs.

The paper can be read or downloaded here.




International Science and Policy Interaction for Improved Food and Nutrition Security: Toward an International Panel on Food and Nutrition (IPFN)

by Joachim Von Braun and Matthias Kalkuhl

Establishing and maintaining the socio-economic, public health, environmental and political conditions for food and nutrition security is a high priority of societies and decision makers. As many people in the world are still deprived of sufficient access to nutritious food and healthy living conditions (see Table 1), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) postulate for 2030 to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” (Goal 2). Achieving this goal is not possible in isolation, as it is closely connected to progress in other domains mentioned among the SDGs, e.g. “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”(Goal 3), “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”(Goal 5), “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”(Goal 6), “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”(Goal 12), “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”(Goal 13), “Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”(Goal 15), as well as the primary goal of “End poverty in all its forms everywhere” (Goal 1).
Achieving food and nutrition security will not only require strong commitment by policy makers but also solid scientific knowledge and transparent public discourse on instruments, synergies, trade-offs and risks. Even beyond 2030, the stability of the global food system will remain being exposed to environmental and health risks (IPCC 2014, ELD Initiative 2015), population pressure (Gerland et al. 2014), constraints in production, disruptions in trade or conflicts. Tackling that science agenda is not a project or a study, but calls for a permanent mechanism that draws systematically on the global science capacities in new ways currently not available.

The paper can be read or downloaded here.