South Asia is the most ecologically-integrated area and regional cooperation here will help address issues of climate change, a senior official of a city-based think-tank under the External Affairs Ministry today said. Former foreign secretary Shyam Saran, Chairman, Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) also advocated the need to focus on energy, water and food as interlinked sectors in relation to the new Sustainable Development Goals. "South Asia is the most ecologically-integrated region and therefore regional cooperation in South Asia will help to address the regional issues of climate change like changes in monsoon, glacier melting and river systems. "There is also a need to focus on energy, water and food as interlinked sectors in relation to the new Sustainable Development Goals," Saran said at the 'South Asia Regional Consultation on Agriculture and Food Systems in the Era of Sustainable Development'. RIS is an autonomous think-tank under the External Affairs Ministry, which specialises in policy research on international economic issues and development cooperation. "Agriculture and food systems need to promote adequate, appropriate and affordable nutrition for all at each stage of life.
While nurturing nutrition, we also need to ensure that agriculture and food systems are economically viable and ecologically sustainable. "This calls for concerted multi-sectoral action at national and regional levels. SAPLING is intended to provide a platform for accelerating action to position nutrition within this integrated framework of sustainable development," said K Srinath Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI). Noting that good nutrition provides a vital foundation for human development, participants also said that much has already been achieved in South Asia in the drive to address malnutrition and in tackling the multiple challenges at the nexus of agriculture, food and nutrition. They said that despite these gains, India is experiencing the "double burden" of both underweight and obesity. New policies across agriculture and food systems dealing with production, marketing, processing and consumption will need to be coherent and based on the best available evidence, they said.