More than two-fifths of the world’s population depends on unsustainably harvested wood energy for cooking and heating, with significant impact on health, food production and nutrition, and local and regional climate.
Energy and food security are often dealt with as separate issues, yet energy is directly and indirectly embedded in food production and preparation. Food production needs to increase by 70%, mostly through yield increases, to feed the world in 2050. This requires heavy energy use, mostly from fossil fuels, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Lack of access to sufficient and appropriate cooking fuel can also force people to change their cooking and eating habits with possible switch to less nutritious food.
This calls for the need to explore the linkages, synergies and conflicts between energy access and food security, focusing on household and local level issues for rural populations, but recognizing connections to national, regional and global policies. There is also increasing interest to build evidence-based research that can inform policies and practice for better design of development programs and engagement of stakeholders.
Based on this, the Swedish International Agriculture Network Initiative (SIANI), a network that supports and promotes sustainable food security and nutrition, established an expert group on Energy Access and Food Security. The expert group draws on voluntary membership from 4 key institutions: Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), African Forest Forum (AFF) and Centre for Agricultural Research and Development (CARD). Their work is organized around three sub-themes:
- Joint food-energy production systems;
- Re-use of agricultural wastes in maximizing energy/food production;
- Links between energy access and nutrition.
- They focus on information synthesis, identifying research gaps and bringing to the public attention issues that fall at the intersection between energy access and food security.
The expert consultative forum
The purpose of this consultative forum is to bring together experts from food security and nutrition and energy sectors drawn from government agencies (national and county); academia; research institutions; development agencies and civil societies to discuss the implications of energy access and food security and share their best experiences. This platform will allow us to collectively derive and conceptualize an ideal interlinked sector that addresses food security and energy access as a nexus. The forum will also provide time and space to explore opportunities and future research areas around energy, food security and nutrition.
Expected outputs and outcomes:
The targeted outputs and outcomes of the forum include:
- A good understanding of the current thinking on the implications of energy access to food security;
- To contribute to a knowledge base and systematically review key parameters and conflict areas/ overlaps in household resource allocation; dietary choices and energy choices;
- Contribute to drafting key recommendations that will be presented during the World Forestry Congress on 7th – 11th September 2015 in Durban, South Africa.
We shall award a travel grant of KSH 3000 to each participant to assist in facilitating your participation at the event.