The World Health Organization estimates that each year, at least 2 billion people worldwide become ill as a result of food poisoning and contamination of the food supply chain. Poorly handled food and unsafe practices can also cause millions of people to die, including many children. Food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances is responsible for more than 200 diseases, ranging from diarrhea to cancers. As the world population is projected to climb to over 9 billion by 2050, the demand for food will continue to rise. Furthermore, higher incomes and increasing urbanization trends are likely to transform food consumption patterns, and increase demand for animal products and more readily accessible and processed food. However, food availability alone does not guarantee food safety.
This conversation seeks to catalyze thoughtful discussion about global food safety, highlight best practices in food safety capacity building across the world, and seek new ways of ensuring that people all over the world have access to a safe food supply and are in a better position to address challenges.
Changes in a country’s demography – its population age structure or gender balance, for example – can have significant impact on the economy, demand for social services, and policy environment. Some countries have been able to harness the so-called “demographic dividend” – a term that describes the potential favorable interplay between changes in countries’ population age structure resulting from their demographic transition and economic growth. Decreases in fertility and mortality, and timely adoption of responsive socioeconomic policies, help a nation achieve the demographic dividend.
This two-week conversation will address how demographic change can have a positive impact on health and nutrition outcomes. What kinds of socioeconomic policies should be put in place today to help countries take advantage of population changes as they go through their demographic transition?