Climate-resilient aquatic food systems for healthy lives of young women and girls in Bangladesh (AQUAFOOD)

Project summary

Sustainable management of aquatic foods is essential, in order to support the urgently needed shift to sustainable and healthy diets, mitigating climate change. Yet, the approaches that promote sustainable food systems largely fail to recognize the potential of aquatic foods. Lack of data at sub-national scales, on how aquatic food resources contribute to improving health and livelihoods, limits policy development and implementation. Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable nations to the impacts of climate change, leading to rising sea levels and extreme weather events. Yet, the productive riverine aquatic environment nourishes millions of people, and aquatic food is a fundamental component in their diets. High-value species for export are typically produced in polycultures with species for domestic consumption. While Bangladesh has developed climate change specific policies, the implementation and decisions on local levels are limited by a lack of knowledge of the complex links between aquatic production and public health.
The overall aim of this project is to generate new knowledge about the complex dynamics behind the export-driven aquatic food systems, in the context of the high climate change exposure. The outcomes of the project will inform policies promoting climate-resilient management practices, and will integrate income-generation, domestic consumption, biological diversity and sustainable community livelihoods.
The project is organized in five work packages (WPs) with distinct activities, while being highly integrated. WP1: Stakeholder interaction and conceptual framework. WP2: Export-driven aquaculture in the context of climate change – an integrated survey. WP3: Health and nutrition of young females in context of climate change - cohort follow-up study. WP4: Assessment methodology for linking aquatic food production, consumption and health. WP 5: Project management and capacity building.
The results will contribute to 1: An integrated framework for climate-resilient, export-oriented aquatic food systems. 2: New knowledge of the farm-to-fork supply chains of the domestic supply from export-driven aquatic production systems. 3: New knowledge of the links between aquatic foods and females’ health in coastal-inland aquaculture dependent communities, in the context of climate change. 4: Advanced research-based assessment tools for aquatic food systems. Five PhD students will be trained for research capacity building.

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