No poverty, zero hunger, quality education, good health and well-being, clean water and sanitation, responsible consumption and production.
These are only seven of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations in 2015 “to transform the world and promote prosperity while protecting the planet.” It’s a heck of a challenge.
But it’s a challenge the organizers of Bukluran: The 1st Diliman International Food Science and Nutrition Symposium held from October 17–19 at Gusali 2 of the College of Home Economics (CHE) are taking on, with its theme of “Exploring the Food Science and Nutrition Nexus Towards Achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.”
Gathering experts in the fields of food science and nutrition as well as in related fields in the natural and social sciences, each day of the conference began with two keynote lectures. Topics ranged from the development of a harmonized food safety training manual for the Philippine food industry, to investigations into the use of the banana leaf as material for food packaging, to the impact of ethical issues in food science research in nutrition and health.
While some studies focused on more scientific subjects, such as the use of ultraviolet radiation in food sterilization (as opposed to the traditional high heat that degrades food quality), others delved into what and how Filipinos consumed food in the year 2017 and mapped out a list of potential problems to guide policy makers.
“Bukluran” means “convergence” in Filipino, and according to co-convenor Dr. Alonzo A. Gabriel, chairperson of the CHE’s Department of Food Science and Nutrition (DFSN), choosing the symposium theme was easy.
“…the CHE has already identified, research, community extension and advocacy thrusts that we will emphasize. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are a perfect fit for all subdisciplines of Home Economics,” according to co-convenor
At the same time a research poster exhibition was held in another part of the building featuring smaller researches from other institutions.
Keynote speakers were Food and Nutrition Security Monitoring Systems Specialist Demetria C. Bongga, DFSN professor Ma. Patricia V. Azanza, PhD; Emily Yates-Doerr, PhD and Anita P. Hardon, PhD from the University of Amsterdam; University of Southeastern Philippines Extension Division Director Mervin G. Gascon; and Distinguished Professor Carlito B. Lebrilla, PhD of the University of California Davis Department of Chemistry and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine.
Bukluran marks the first time the DFSN has organized a college-wide academic conference and was done in cooperation with the UP Diliman Office of the Chancellor through the Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Development, the UP-Diliman Office of International Linkages and the Department of Science and Technology.
It is also part of the very first UP Diliman Science, Technology and Society Month with the theme “Bodies, Science and Philippine Society.”