A key step towards realizing the full potential of blue foods – fish, shellfish, aquatic plants and algae – launched at the UN Ocean Conference is endorsed by the United States.
A multi-sectoral Aquatic Blue Food Coalition was officially launched at the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal last June, a key step towards realizing the full potential of blue foods to help end malnutrition and create nature-positive, equitable and resilient food. systems.
The coalition includes the European Union, Fiji, Germany, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Palau, Portugal and the United States of America, as well as representatives from intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, academic institutions, aquatic food producers and other value chains, consumer groups, financial institutions and philanthropies. Also, Indonesia spoke at the event and is supportive.
Together, these members recognize that blue foods – fish, shellfish, aquatic plants and algae caught or farmed in freshwater and marine ecosystems – play a central role in the food and nutrition security of billions of people. An estimated 800 million people also depend on blue food systems for their livelihoods.
“It’s not just about one part of the world in particular, it’s about food security for the whole world. The United States is very committed to being part of the solution, which is why I am happy to announce that we approve this [Aquatic] Blue Foods Coalition,” said Monica Medina, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs of the United States. “The United States is already acting. We highlighted the importance of blue foods in the US government’s new Global Food Security Strategy for 2022-2026. »
The launch of the Aquatic Blue Food Coalition comes after months of discussions catalyzed by the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit, which identified blue foods as a game-changing solution to transform food systems and achieve development goals 2030. More than halfway through the International Year of Small-Scale Fisheries and Aquaculture, the UN Ocean Conference has been a critical opportunity to combine food system and ocean goals.
Despite its name, the coalition will not focus solely on blue foods as a natural resource, as it agrees to bring a holistic approach to food systems decision-making. For example, these foods have a vital role to play in achieving several Sustainable Development Goals – fighting hunger and malnutrition, alleviating poverty and providing livelihoods, and reducing food system impacts. on climate change and biodiversity loss.
The future of food is blue
Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, celebrated the launch of the Aquatic Blue Food Coalition at a ‘The future of food is blue’ side event at the United Nations Ocean Conference: ocean is not only crucial for tackling the climate crisis; it is also a huge source of resources and food. It must be managed in a sustainable and responsible way and, above all, for the benefit of the greatest number and not just the few. Iceland remains a proud supporter of the Aquatic Blue Food Coalition.
The side event brought together 16 speakers, including the representative of the United States, and shared the coalition’s vision to promote understanding, acceptance and integration of sustainable blue foods into food systems and thinking and decision making on the food value chain.
Furthermore, according to its statement, the Coalition is committed to “raising the profile of aquatic foods in discussions on the future of food systems, including future international forums…and in national policy-making; and “mobilize support – including investment, technical capacity and partnerships – for countries or groups of countries considering integrating these foods into their food systems and implementing key aquatic/blue food priorities” .
“Small Pacific Islands look forward to working with science, technology, industry and other partners to develop highly sustainable models of blue food across the Pacific,” said Ambassador Dr Satyendra Prasad. of Fiji to the United Nations.
During the conference’s opening plenary session, Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, announced a commitment that “by 2030, [Fiji] will produce more than 160,000 metric tons of sustainably grown and harvested ocean products, supporting more than 53,000 new jobs on [its] way to provide half of all blue food from sustainable fisheries by 2035.”
Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, explained how the Coalition will build on the momentum of the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit and the UN Food Systems Conference. the oceans of 2022 to mobilize change: The Summit underscored the importance of looking at terrestrial and aquatic food production together in a coherent way. I am happy to inform you that Germany has decided to join and support the Aquatic Blue Food Coalition. We see this coalition as a unique opportunity to advocate for blue and aquatic foods, which can play an important role in healthy diets and food security.
Current members of the Aquatic Blue Food Coalition are: European Union; Fiji; Germany; Iceland; Japan; New Zealand; Palau; The United States of America; Canada; Portugal; Indonesia; The Pacific Community; WorldFish One CGIAR; Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future; Environmental Defense Fund; WWF; Friends of Ocean Action; Rare; Oceane; Monterey Bay Aquarium; “North-East” regional cluster – Bulgaria; Conservation International, Rise Up; Lloyd’s Register Foundation; Care International, Wildlife Conservation Society; Algae Safety Coalition; Global Salmon Initiative; Blue Food Partnership, United Nations Global Compact.