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.
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