Practical solutions for the food paradoxes.

Milan Protocol

Jan Lundqvist

Jan Lundqvist

I like to endorse the Milan Protocol. With its reference to the three paradoxes; FOOD WASTE, SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE and HEALTHY LIFESTYLES, it links resources predicaments, notably land and water, agricultural practices, (in-)equity and human behavior. In the past, but also in the contemporary discussion, thinking and policies related to food and water security have focused on agricultural production and productivity, i.e. 'more crop per drop', that is, how to increase yields with the same or even less input of resources. Tremendous improvements have been made in these regards. But if a third or as much as half of the production is lost, wasted, converted (grain to feed and to biofuels) and with high rates of overeating, the resource use efficiency is quite poor in a food system context. High public health cost from a combination of undernourishment and overeating is an added huge challenge.

However, it is important to clarify the difference between 'food consumption'and 'food intake'. In most texts, in media and generally in discussions, there is a confusion about these two concepts. Most people seem to believe that 'food consumption'is what we eat, but that is not the case. Food intake refers to what we eat, while interpretation and statistical information on food consumption vary. It is often synonymous with what we buy or otherwise procure. Waste of food, which is in the order of 20 – 25% of food bought, is seldom taken into account in statistical information about food consumption. It is unclear how conversions are included.

Professor Jan Lundqvist is senior scientific advisor at Stockholm International Water Institute. His research profile: water resources management, food supply chain dynamics and links between basins and coastal systems. Policy issues, development strategies and human responses are features in his assignments. Lundqvist has field experience from East and Southern Africa and South and East Asia. His activities are reported in books, articles and in radio, TV and other media in Sweden, Norway, US, UK, China, Italy, Australia, Canada and India. He is on the Editorial Board of Scientific Journals. He is frequently organizing sessions at international conferences.

The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) is a policy institute that generates knowledge and informs decision-making towards water wise policy. Founded in 1991, SIWI performs research, builds institutional capacity and provides advisory services in five thematic areas: water governance, transboundary water management, climate change and water, the water-energy-food nexus, and water economics.

SIWI organises the annual World Water Week in Stockholm and hosts the Stockholm Water Prize, the Stockholm Junior Water Prize and the Stockholm Industry Water Award. SIWI hosts important programmes, including the UNDP Water Governance Facility.

Internationally oriented, politically neutral, and intellectually objective, SIWI employs 60 staff with a wide-range of professional experience. Through applied research, policy consultation, and strategic communication, SIWI is engaged in efforts of private and public sectors, and has the ambition to link key actors across sectors and constituencies.
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