Expert group meeting on population, food security, nutrition and sustainable development

New York 

16 September 2019 to 17 September 2019


The question of how to feed a growing global population has been central to discussions around population and development for decades. While the Programme of Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development highlighted the problem of undernutrition, today's discussion of malnutrition is broader and includes stunting, wasting, overweight and obesity, as well as micronutrient deficiencies. Moreover, there is an increasing recognition of the challenges to food security posed by factors such as climate change, conflict and economic downturns.

Recognizing the importance and timeliness of these topics, the United Nations Commission on Population and Development decided in 2018 that the thematic focus of its fifty-third session in 2020 would be "Population, food security, nutrition and sustainable development". In preparation for the upcoming session, the Population Division of UN DESA will convene an expert group meeting on this topic, to be held in New York from 16 to 17 September 2019.

The expert meeting is expected to provide substantive inputs for the preparation of the reports of the Secretary-General on the special theme of the fifty-third session of the Commission on Population and Development. In particular, the meeting will result in draft recommendations on ways in which the Commission can contribute to the international dialogue on the issues.


 Organization of work

Monday, 16 September 2019


10:00 - 10:15


Session I: Opening of the meeting


10:15 - 11:30

Session II: Setting the stage: Trends, concepts, definitions, and data sources

  • Moderator: Sandile Similane, UNFPA

  • Nancy Aburto, FAO, Overview of food security and nutrition concepts; hunger and food security indicators: trends and data sources [presentation]

  • Ruben Grajeda, WHO AM/PAHO (video link), Nutrition indicatiors: trends and data sources [presentation]

  • Frank Swiaczny, Population Division/DESA, Demographic megatrends and global population growth [presentation]


11:45 - 1:00


Session III: Food security and population change

  • a. Food security, growth, consumption and sustainability

    • Moderator: Sara Hertog, Population Division/DESA

    • Lorenzo Bellu, FAO, Growth and consumption trends, projections of food and agriculture [presentation]

    • Hugo Valin, IIASA, Pathways toward sustainable land use and food systems [paper] [presentation]

    • Marco Springmann, Oxford University, Health and nutritional aspects of sustainable diet strategies and their association with environmental impacts [paper] [presentation]


3:00 - 4:15


  • III. a. Continued
    • Moderator: Astra Bonini, Division for Sustainable Development Goals/DESA

    • Pierre Boileau, UNEP, Environmental and health impacts of food systems: Assessment by the sixth Global Environment Outlook [presentation]

    • Cynthia Rosenzweig, NASA-Goddard, Food security findings from IPCC Special Report on Climate change and land [presentation]

    • Prajal Pradhan, Potsdam Institute for Climate Research, Climate change and food security, highlighting urban food system and regional specificity [paper] [presentation]


4:30 - 6:00







  •  b. Food security, population movements and settlement patterns

    • Moderator: Clare Menozzi, Population Division/DESA

    • Sara Savastano, IFAD, Rural transformation and creating opportunities for rural youth [presentation]

    • Lorenzo Bellu, FAO, Population dynamics,  rural transformation,  rural employment, rural urban  linkages [presentation]

    • Alan de Brauw, IFPRI, Relationships between migration and food security [paper] [presentation]


Tuesday, 17 September 2019


10:00 - 11:00


Session IV: Nutrition and population health

  • a. Hunger and undernutrition

    • Moderator: Karoline Schmid, Population Division/DESA

    • Mawuli Sablah, UNICEF, Causes and impacts of undernutrition over the life course [presentation]

    • Anneka Knutsson, UNFPA, Nutrition and reproductive health [presentation]


11:15 - 1:00


  • b. Obesity and overweight

    • Moderator: Paul Skoczylas, WFP

    • Leendert Maarten Nederveen, WHO AM/PAHO (video link), Trends, causes, and consequences of overweight and obesity [presentation]

    • Simon Barquera, Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica (Mexico), Double burden of obesity and undernutrition in Latin America [paper] [presentation]

    • Corinna Hawkes, City University of London (video link), Policies and actions to address obesity [presentation]


  • c. Food systems, health and sustainable diets

    • Nancy Aburto, FAO, Food systems, health and sustainable diets [presentation]


3:00 - 4:00


Session V: Regional perspectives

  • Moderator: Jorge Bravo, Population Division/DESA

  • Namukolo Covic, IFPRI, Food security and nutrition in Africa [presentation]

  • Sahar Fawzy Gad Elsonbaty, Ministry of Health, Egypt, Population,  nutrition and  sustainable development  in  Egypt [paper] [presentation]


4:15 - 5:30


Session VI: Discussion and recommendations for key messages to the CPD

5:30 - 5:45

Session VII: Closing

Selected background readings