2021 World Food Prize Laureate

The World Food Prize is the most prominent global award recognizing exceptional individuals who have worked to enhance human development by improving the quality, quantity, and availability of food for all. 

Dr. Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted is the 2021 World Food Prize Laureate for her influential work on nutrition, fish, and aquatic food systems. Dr. Thilsted, the Global Lead of Nutrition and Public Health at WorldFish, was recognized for her pioneering research on nutrition-sensitive fisheries and aquaculture as part of efforts to transform foods systems so that they nourish people. 

Her trailblazing work on nutrition in low- and middle-income countries in Asia and Africa show that fish and aquatic food systems are an integral part of food production, local diets, culture, child and maternal health, and general wellbeing. Her scientific findings demonstrate fish, and aquatic foods must occupy a more central role in future nutrition-focused interventions and policy and investment decisions for agricultural research and development and a sustainable transformation of food systems towards healthy and resilient diets.

She is a UN Food Systems Champion and serves as the Vice-Chair for Action Track 4: Advance Equitable Livelihoods of the upcoming 2021 UN Food Systems Summit. In addition, Dr. Thilsted is a member of the High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition and advises the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy.

The UN Nutrition Chair, Dr. Naoko Yamamoto, was invited to participate in the Laureate Announcement, being among the first to congratulate Dr. Thilsted for this important achievement. UN Nutrition is honored to have Dr. Thilsted as co-author of the new UN Nutrition discussion paper on The role of aquatic foods in sustainable healthy diets, launched in early May. 

Watch the full virtual ceremony here.


Dr. Yamamoto’s speech:

Nutrition is everybody’s business. Every country, every sector has a role to play. We are proud Dr. Thilsted’s work is highlighting how aquatic foods can benefit both human health and the environment.

Dr Naoko Yamamoto, UN Nutrition Chair
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