Scientists investigating world food issues should unite themselves to provide a sound scientific basis for food security policies. "The way climate scientists have organised themselves in the IPCC, but then a lighter version." That idea arose during the First International Conference on Global Food Security in Noordwijkerhout, organised by Wageningen UR (University & Research centre) and publisher Elsevier.
It shows how much positive energy there was at the conference that highlighted a wide variety of research disciplines working on food security issues. "I've received many positive responses from conference-goers", said Martin van Ittersum , Professor Plant Production Systems at Wageningen University. Together with his colleague, Professor Ken Giller, he initiated this four-day conference, which was held from 29 September to 2 October in Noordwijkerhout. Van Ittersum: "Usually, conferences bring scientists together from the same discipline. Ken and I wanted to unite researchers from all disciplines involved in food security. As a result, most people that visited the conference were unknown to me. That is good. It shakes things up. You meet new people, hear refreshing ideas and create new networks."
Results of first Food Security Conference
Conference-goers could attend dozens of sessions in four days, have debates in an informal 'science cafe', listen to lectures and view research posters. A very successful PhD course was also organised in the week of the conference and the participants gave presentations during the closing session. A wide range of topics related to food security were discussed at the conference, including: sustainable intensification of agriculture and environment, reduction of food waste, policy and legislation, food quality and health (nutrition), alternatives to meat, food prices, scarcity and abundance, and so on. The main conclusions were presented at the closing sessions and are currently being translated into two scientific articles, a short one and a longer one. The scientific journal Global Food Security - published by co-organiser Elsevier - will also get a special issue with all results from the conference.
Next Food Security Conference in USA
The next Conference on Global Food Security is going to be in the United States, two years from now. That was decided at the First International Conference on Global Food Security in Noordwijkerhout. Columbia University and Cornell University are responsible for organising the second of this successful event, initiated by Wageningen UR.