Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Friday, December 31, 2021

Lessons from COP26 for agricultural innovation and research

During the COP26 food systems and farming were clearly on the agenda; biodiversity as well; and the interrelationship with the climate agenda was addressed. Some delegates observed there had never been so much attention for food systems during climate change negotiations.

  1. The Koronivia process. This is the Joint Work on Agriculture agenda of the UNFCCC process (abbreviated KJWA). A few years ago the decision was taken by the COP to address agriculture in the COP, as the agriculture sector affects climate change, while it is also extremely vulnerable to climate change. The past three COPs have included workshops and sessions in the context of the Koronivia process. This facilitated a constructive dialogue of parties, and addressed both mitigation and adaptation aspects. Parties are all very willing to include agriculture in future UNFCCC talks. These will be taken up to the next negotiation moments in respectively Bonn and Egypt (COP27). 
  2. Nature is one of the key domains for the policy action agenda.(...)  Nature, land use, and forest related topics were high on the agenda, a/o of the world leaders summit. In the formal negotiations some discussion on nature based solutions was part of the text, while some text on that was taken out again later in the negotiations. Nature based solutions were discussed, and the elimination of deforestation from agrichains. 
  3. Important pledges were made: a/o the ‘Methan pledge’ (considered a quick win to win time to reduce GHG) and the ‘Deforestation pledge’. 
  4. Egypt and other African countries will try to create a bigger profile for food systems and agriculture. The topic will gain more space on the agenda during the next COP27. 
  5. There was not so much specific attention for the UN Food Systems Summit outcomes. Only in the Koronivia events some reference was made to the national pathways for the follow up to the UN FSS. Opportunity is to develop national pathways that combine climate and food action. 
  6. FAO is developing a new Climate Change Strategy. This follows a/o the recommendations by FAO office of evaluation, see this link. 
  7. Various coalitions of the willing are being formed at different speeds, amongst others because the overall negotiations are based on consensus, and these take time. 
  8. Soilhealth was acknowledged as a key component in climate negotiation
  9. Many side events took place. For example on sustainable livestock and on saline agriculture. A complete day was dedicated to events on food systems and farming in the European pavilion. 

Related PAEPARD blogpost: African agriculture @ COP

A selection of relevant materials

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Follow-up to the UN Food Systems Summit

16 December 2021. Agnes Kalibata reflects on her time as UNFSS Special Envoy, the achievements of the UN Food Systems Summit, and the importance of leveraging the power of food systems to deliver progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To inform the design of a Food Systems Coordination Hub (“the Hub”), the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General has led a consultation process that brought together leadership and staff from several agencies across the UN system. Over the past six weeks, this group has met with the objective to maintain the momentum, build on, and advance the deliverables that emerged through the two-year Summit process. 

Following these consultations, the Deputy Secretary-General, the Special Envoy, and the Principals of the Rome-based Agencies (RBAs), the Un Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Development Coordination Office (DCO) agreed on further steps. The Executive Office of the Secretary-General  issued an Information Note to inform Member States and key partners on how the UN System will engage in accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. 

Purpose of the Hub 

  • The Hub will align itself with existing UN functions and capacities in its work and existing structures and mechanisms. The Hub will focus on leveraging the broad range of assets of the UN system – particularly within the context of the repositioning of the UN development system at country level – and existing SDG reporting structures to demonstrate progress. 
  • The Hub will act as the catalyst inside the UN system in relation to food systems and the 2030 Agenda. Replacing the time-bound Food Systems Summit Secretariat, the Hub will take on essential coordination functions to bring together and link food systems knowledge and expertise from diverse constituencies, including through a Stakeholder Advisory Group, to support national progress on the SDGs in response to country priorities. This includes: 
    • continued support to food systems national dialogues and national pathways through the coordination of technical and policy support requested by countries as they formulate and implement national pathways for food systems transformation; 
    • staying connected with the broader ecosystem of actors for sustainable food systems, including Coalitions and other initiatives as well as the science ecosystem, and promote the better integration of these efforts with country demand; and, 
    • the elevation of priority topics in the food systems transformation agenda for strategic thought leadership of UN Agencies and leading actors in the ecosystem of support. 
  • The Hub will consist of a nimble team, largely comprised of secondments from UN system entities, that understands the broader landscape across the entire food system, makes connections and ensures a systems approach, and showcases success and lessons learned. Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams will contribute to annual reporting and regular reporting to the Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG) on support to national pathways. Drawing on this work at country, regional and global levels, the Secretary-General will submit an annual report – until 2030 – to the HLPF on progress in following up to this Summit. It will also continue to promote a strong narrative around transformative action in food systems to achieve the SDGs and prepare a global stock-take for Member States every two years through 2030 to drive continuous progress. 

Organization of the Hub 

  • The Hub will be hosted by FAO on behalf of the UN system. Oversight of the Hub will fall on a Steering Group comprised of the Principals of the RBAs, DCO, and UNEP as the initial Chair of an evolved UN Task Force. The Chair of the UN Task Force will rotate among interested UN agencies with strong connections to the work of the Hub. 
  • This oversight group will engage on the Hub’s work with the Executive Office of the Secretary General (EOSG) and the UNSDG. It will also routinely brief and share information on progress and lessons with Member States, the Informal Joint RBA Governing Board, Chairs of the RBA Governing Bodies, the Chair of the Committee on Food Security, and the High-Level Political Forum, through ECOSOC. 
  • The Hub will be supported by the leadership of the FAO Office of SDGs reporting within the Office of the FAO Director-General. The Director of FAO’s Office of SDGs, Mr. Stefanos Fotiou, will assume leadership of the Hub with his TORs to be amended to include additional responsibilities. The Office of SDGs Director will be supported by a Deputy, seconded by the EOSG, and the Hub will further benefit from secondments and resources from FAO, IFAD, WFP and other agencies across the UN system. 
  • IFAD will lead follow-up on behalf the UN system in the area of finance as a ‘means of implementation’ (MOI) to enable food systems transformation more broadly at national, regional, and global level. 

Transition Arrangements for the Hub 

  • Following the conclusion of the Special Envoy’s mandate in December 2021, the Hub Director Mr. Stefanos Fotiou will commence his role to lead the Hub to ensure it is operational as of early January 2022, and rolled out in a phased manner. 
  • In consultation with the Deputy Secretary-General, these arrangements will be reviewed within a year to ensure the Hub capacity is working effectively to bring the best of the UN system and wider ecosystem of actors to support country priorities in their pathways for food systems transformation.  

Boosting climate smart agriculture through access to ripping technology

Despite the potential benefits that ripping technology holds, its uptake has been slow and access to such technology remains low in some areas of the world, such as across East Africa.

As such, a number of public-private partnerships have sprung up with the aim to encourage innovative techniques to promote the use of conservation agriculture and showcase to farmers the advantage of climate-smart farming.

One such project, spearheaded by several private players including Corteva and agricultural machinery companies John Deere and Hello Tractor, together with civil society organisations such as PAFID (Participatory Approaches for Integrated Development), is soon to be underway in Narok, Kenya, after several setbacks due to weather and COVID-related complications.

The project, coordinated by CGIAR and funded by both the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the EU, envisages four demonstration plots aimed at showcasing how ripping technology can improve agricultural productivity, resilience, and soil carbon storage.

A key innovation of this project is the integration of minimum till tractor services into a digital platform service for booking and routing tractors, created by agro-tech company Hello Tractor, enabling tractor providers to add ripping to the services they provide.

In this way, the project aims to broaden access to ripping services, including to smallholder farmers, according to CGIAR.

Agriculture and the sixth meeting of the EU’s and AU’s heads of states and governments

The much-awaited sixth meeting of the EU’s and AU’s heads of states and governments will take place in Brussels on 17-18 February, two years after the European Commission published its blueprint for a ‘strategic partnership’ with Africa.

The EU is keen to use the ‘partnership’ to encourage African states to adopt the environmental policies in its Green Deal. However, the pandemic has prompted a recalibration of priorities among African countries.

In particular, the major disruption to production and supply chains has pushed many states to focus more on increasing domestic production and reducing their reliance on imported food.

The AU sees the ‘partnership’ process as an opportunity to give its governments and regional blocs more leeway to build up industrial capacity and markets. According to the World Bank, 23% of sub–Saharan Africa’s GDP comes from agriculture.

Contacted by EURACTIV, the European Commission said it is too early at this stage to know about a list of agriculture topics to be discussed at the summit.

In the context of the revamped partnership with Africa, the EU is expected to support concrete actions for the development of intellectual property when it comes to African foodstuffs, for instance.

An own African food policy

The impact of the EU’s flagship food policy, the Farm to Fork strategy (F2F), may spill over into Africa and, more specifically, on small-scale African farmers.

In terms of concrete targets, the Commission proposed an ambitious 50% cut for the use and risk of pesticides, as well as a 50% reduction of highly hazardous pesticides, a 20% cut in fertiliser use and a 50% reduction of antibiotic use in farming and aquaculture, all by 2030 and compared to the EU’s current level.

African farmers fear that requirements to meet those targets, if they want to sell their products to Europe, could fast become a major hurdle to trade, as ramifications of the decisions taken at the EU level do not stop at its borders.

The biggest concern for African farmers is that the EU regulatory framework could become unfair because of the demands being imposed and the requirement to comply with no specific timelines to catch up with European farmers.

Last week, the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), a network of 36 civil society actors, representing smallholder farmers and pastoralists, urged the African Union to endorse the initiative to develop an Africa Food Policy aimed at reducing reliance on overpriced imports.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Towards a just agricultural transition in North Africa

This article looks at the challenges, components and characteristics of a just transition within the agriculture sector in North Africa. 

As in many other countries, the last few years have seen local and traditional knowledge of food systems, and ecological and regenerative agriculture, put forward as solutions to the dominant agri-food system and ecological crises in North Africa.

However, these new dynamics have not been sufficiently studied: there is no overview of these developments or the practices and networks upholding them. This article fills this gap by evaluating and comparing agricultural policy transformations and the possibilities of a just transition in the agriculture sectors in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

The article is divided into three sections. 
  1. The first section analyses agricultural policies and the trajectory of agricultural development in the region. 
  2. The second section explores questions of environmental and climate debt, as well as the effects of uneven environmental changes on natural resources and opportunities for development. 
  3. The third section presents and discusses ecological and regenerative agriculture, local initiatives and networks of actors who are building a just transformation of agriculture in North Africa.

Australian appoints three leading experts to its Policy Advisory Council for international agricultural research

Appointment of three leading experts to the Policy Advisory Council for international agricultural research.

The Council assists the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research in the planning and implementation of its research portfolio to improve food security and reduce poverty throughout our region.

The Council is made up of 12 members from across the Indo-Pacific and gives a valuable insight into the development priorities of countries throughout the region and how Australia's expertise in agricultural research can contribute to these priorities through research collaborations.

The three new appointees—Dr Rachel Chikwamba from Zimbabwe, Dr Surmsuk Salakpetch from Thailand and Mr Sunny Verghese from Singapore—join the nine existing Council members from Australia, Vietnam, Pacific Islands, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines.

Dr Rachel Chikwamba is a Group Executive for The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa and will be able to provide scientific guidance and leadership to the Council based on her deep science-in-agriculture background.

Dr Surmsuk Salakpetch was most recently Director-General of the Thailand Department of Agriculture and will be able to advise the Council from both a research and management perspective.

Mr Sunny Verghese is Co-founder & Group CEO of Olam International Limited and Chairman, World Business Council for Sustainable Development. He has a wealth of experience in agribusiness and global food chain systems and markets that will be invaluable to the Council.

New interactive report shows Africa’s growing hunger crisis

 A new, interactive digital report launched today shows that the number of hungry people in Africa continues to rise, spurred by conflict, climate change and economic slowdowns including those triggered by COVID-19. The African Union Commission (AUC), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) launched the digital report as the latest update to their annual reporting on the state of food security and nutrition in Africa.

Hunger on the continent has worsened substantially since 2013, the report states, and most of this deterioration occurred between 2019 and 2020. The situation is expected to have deteriorated further this year, with no easing of hunger’s main drivers.

The three agencies behind the report are calling on African countries to heed the call for agrifood systems transformation.

“Countries must engage in and leverage the outcomes of the United Nations Food Systems Summit, the Nutrition for Growth Summit and the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26),” FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa Abebe Haile-Gabriel said with William Lugemwa, UNECA’s Director of the Private Sector Development and Finance Division, and Josefa Sacko, African Union Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment, in the report’s joint foreword.

“A common vision, strong political leadership and effective cross-sectoral collaboration, which includes the private sector, are essential to agree on trade-offs and to identify and implement sustainable solutions that transform agrifood systems,” they said in Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2021: Statistics and Trends.

A new view of hunger and malnutrition

The digital report allows readers to get a better understanding of the scope of hunger in Africa. In 2020, 281.6 million Africans were undernourished, an increase of 89.1 million over 2014, the report shows. There is significant variation in the levels and trends of hunger across the subregions. About 44 percent of undernourished people on the continent live in Eastern Africa, 27 percent in Western Africa, 20 percent in Central Africa, 6.2 percent in Northern Africa, and 2.4 percent in Southern Africa.

Short term measures to address the hunger challenge include countries providing humanitarian assistance and effective social protection measures, the report says. Over the longer term, countries will need to invest in agriculture and related sectors, as well as in water, health, and education services.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Agroecology in the 2021-2027 Multi-annual Financial Framework of the EC/INTPA

3-4, 8 November 2021Agroecology in the 2021-2027 Multi-annual Financial Framework. The scope of this training was to raise awareness on the meaning, role of and country experiences in agroecology and to provide concrete clues and guidance for programme formulation (e.g. entry points, indicators, etc.).

In her welcome words Carla MONTESI, Director “Green Deal, Digital Agenda”, DG INTPA,
underlined the extreme relevance of Agroecology (AE) in the efforts to manage and mitigate Climate Change. The European Union is very committed to promoting this approach in international cooperation and in regular programmes on agriculture and nutrition. All Multi Indicative Plans (MIPs) include references to sustainable agrifood systems. Such interventions need to be in line with AE principles to reach the climate and biodiversity targets.
“Sometimes we are aware of issues but not innovative enough. Now is the moment in which we can materialise our engagement at the political level and realise the Green Deal, and the Farm to Fork objectives.”
Multiple documents and instruments at the EU level reveal a strong push for Agroecology (AE). The European Green Deal was published at the end of 2019. It gave a strong push for agroecology notably in two main strategies: the Farm to Fork strategy and also the Biodiversity strategy. Both recognize the need to foster and promote further sustainable farming practices such as agroecology, agroforestry and organic farming. Not only these two strategies are relevant but also the zero pollution ambition. It recognizes the potential of agroecology in achieving those targets, leading towards zero pollution. The EU forestry strategy could also be mentioned for the recognition of the role of agroforestry and also the need to increase research in this area.

In the Farm to fork and Biodiversity strategies, agroecology is a holistic approach. It has the potential to transform agricultural systems, sustainability and performance. It includes social, economic, environmental, climate issues; healthy diets and agri food chains.

Webinar resources:
A high level panel discussion praised the experience of the Andhra Pradesh Community managed natural farming (A.P.C.N.F). The respondents discussed a European Development Finance Institution perspective; the political/policy perspective; the youth perspective, the scientific perspective and the philanthropic approach. 

The very rich debate on  the experience of the Andhra Pradesh was followed by an exclusive Interview with the president of Sri Lanka H.E. Gotabaya Rajapaksa on agroecology - by Fergus SINCLAIR of World Agroforestry (ICRAF, Nairobi).

The Grand African Green up

The Grand African Green Up tells the story of people across Africa that are restoring their landscapes, from the dry forests of Senegal to the green hills of Kenya.

They are all part of Africa’s most ambitious environmental initiative: the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100). Together, local communities, governments, and private investors are uniting to restore 100 million hectares of land, an area of land nearly the size of Ethiopia, by 2030.

Why are they investing their time – and hope? They know that to grow more food, fight climate change, combat rural poverty, and empower youth leaders they need to build an African-led movement to revitalize land and rural economies.

AFR100 Presents: The Grand African Green Up matches inspiring images from African countries’ most beautiful landscapes with the perspectives and wisdom of people working every day in the communities that they call home.

Why are the issues around rural youth employment important to the donor community?

16 December 2021
Why are the issues around rural youth employment important to the donor

An Interview with the Co-Chairs of the Thematic Working Group on Rural Youth Employment of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development

 Co-Chairs Frank Bertelmann and Sven Braulik from GIZ, and Anna Befus and Peter Wobst from FAO, explain the issue and illustrate how diverse members come together to unlock the topic’s equally diverse potentials.

RURAL YOUTH EMPLOYMENT is one of the most crucial and important issues in our partner countries, especially in Africa. With a rising youth population and the need to create 20-25 million jobs per year, there's no doubt about its relevance.

It is also crucial to many thematic areas in development cooperation because of its direct links to education and skills development, economic and sectoral policies, and entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology.

Youth are the main actors in shaping a sustainable food system transformation and rural youth employment has direct links to a broad spectrum of thematic areas in development cooperation. This makes it one of the keys to achieving the SDGs, and in particular SDG2. 

AFSA book: Agroecology: our land in our life

AFSA (2021) AFSA book: Agroecology: our land in our life, #25 p. 

The book brings together ten case studies from six countries that demonstrate the benefits of agroecology: bringing the soil back to life, conserving biodiversity, and leaving no one behind. 

Tanzania’s hillside farmers show how digging terraces to create beds and building trenches to harvest rainwater prevents run-off and soil erosion. Likewise, farmers in Zimbabwe who previously struggled to find a sustainable water source now have water in such abundance that they can grow rice.

Projects in Kenya and Togo have been turning to agroecology to restore soil fertility, making sustainable, organic inputs such as bokashi. Farmers learn to produce them quickly and efficiently on-site using low-cost, locally available materials. Consequently, these bio-fertilisers are cost-effective, rich in nutrients and naturally free from toxic chemicals dangerous to soil and human health.

Agroecology is a social movement that strives to make sustainable farming accessible to all. Inspiring work with more vulnerable social groups restores dignity and independence to those who have struggled to provide for their families. By securing land rights, teaching sustainable land management or agroforestry skills, initiatives across Uganda, Kenya and Senegal show that access to the right education and support means that no one is left behind.

Tiken Jah Fakoly on Youth and Agroecology

Cold Chain Management for the Fresh Produce Industry in the Developing World

Vijay Yadav Tokala, Majeed Mohammed (2021) Cold Chain Management for the Fresh Produce Industry in the Developing World, #268 p.

Global food losses are a result of a lack of necessary infrastructure, improper food safety handling procedures, and insufficient training for the personnel working in the cold chain. The development of a resource-efficient and energy-smart food supply chain requires a well-integrated evaluation and development of the cold chain. 

Cold Chain Management for the Fresh Produce Industry in the Developing World provides a comprehensive review of the benefits of an unbroken cold chain in developing countries and focuses on the critical role of extension education in the implementation of cold chain management.

The unbroken cold chain is essential for all stakeholders in the fresh produce industry to maintain the quality and safety of food products during handling, transporting, and storing in their journey from producer to consumer. Appropriate cold chain management is crucial not only to reduce the postharvest losses and wastages, but also to increase farmers' income, generate employment opportunities, and improve the livelihood of stakeholders along the supply chain.

Key Features:
  • Includes case studies for promoting the expansion of existing technologies for cold chain development in Asian, Africa and the Caribbean nations.
  • Assesses cold chain management as crucial to the growth of global trade in perishable products with contributions from international organizations, researchers and commercial experts.
  • Articulates resilient, sustainable and creative concepts to develop cold chains to enhance food distribution.

FAO-IRENA report on renewable energy for agri-food systems

The production, distribution, and consumption of food use about a third of the world’s energy and is responsible for about a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, making its decoupling from fossil fuels a priority in the fight against climate change.

This new report launched on the sidelines of the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow explores the relationship between the world’s agri-food systems and renewable energy and argues that solutions are within our grasp.

Solar irrigation, for example, is being widely adopted to improve access to water, enabling multiple cropping cycles and increasing resilience to changing rainfall patterns. In India, the use of solar irrigation pumps has raised farmers’ incomes by at least 50 per cent compared to rain-fed irrigation; in Rwanda, smallholder farmers’ yields have grown by about a third.

The report, Renewable energy for agri-food systems – Towards the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris agreement, is the result of a joint effort between the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The 89-page report breaks down unhelpful silos between energy and agri-food policies by providing recommendations for decision-makers. These include better data collection to guide renewable energy investments, improved access to finance for end-users and businesses, and a greater focus on raising awareness and building capacity.

New FAO report on land and water resources paints an alarming picture

The report says if the world keeps to the current trajectory, producing the additional 50 percent more food needed could mean water withdrawals for agriculture increasing by up to 35 percent. That could create environmental disasters, increase competition for resources, and fuel new social challenges and conflicts.

Among the key challenges:
  • Human-induced soil degradation affects 34 percent – 1 660 million hectares – of agricultural land.
  • More than 95 percent of our food is produced on land, but there is little room for expanding the area of productive land.
  • Urban areas occupy less than 0.5 percent of the Earth’s land surface, but the rapid growth of cities has significantly impacted land and water resources, polluting and encroaching on prime agricultural land that’s crucial for productivity and food security.
  • Land use per capita declined by 20 percent between 2000 and 2017.
  • Water scarcity jeopardizes global food security and sustainable development, threatening 3.2 billion people living in agricultural areas.
  • Solutions on hand
With limited arable land and freshwater resources, a rapid scaling-up of technology and innovation is vital. People must strengthen the digital architecture needed to provide basic data, information, and science-based solutions for agriculture that make full use of digital technologies and are climate-proofing.

Land and water governance must be more inclusive and adaptive, to benefit millions of smallholder farmers, women, youth, and indigenous peoples. They are the most vulnerable to climatic and other socio-economic risks and face the greatest food insecurity. There needs to be more integrated planning at all levels. And investments in agriculture must be redirected towards social and environmental gains.

Sustainable soils, land, and water are the foundations for resilient agrifood systems. So the sustainable use of these resources is key to achieving climate mitigation and adaptation targets. For example, the wise use of soils alone can potentially sequester one-third of greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural land.

The CGIAR effort to support countries responding to COVID19

13 December 2021. The CGIAR effort to support countries responding to COVID19: how we did it and lessons learned. 

This event provided an overview of what has been achieved in the five focus countries of the CGIAR COVID-19 Hub (Bangladesh, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Malawi and Nigeria) and at program level, and what have been important lessons drawn from this innovative experience for future OneCGIAR endeavours. CGIAR's COVID-19 work will be incorporated into the larger the One CGIAR transition, beginning in 2022.

Launched 23 June 2020, the Hub focuses on the four research pillars making up the core of CGIAR’s response to COVID-19: Food Systems ; One Health ; Inclusive Public Programs ; Policies and Investments.

The webinar consisted of:
  • A series of ‘rapid fire’ presentations about country results
  • A brief talk show with country partners, to review the experience, results and lessons, inviting questions from the audience
The webinar featured the following CGIAR-19 COVID Hub speakers:
  • Dr. Kumwenda Wells (Project Coordinator) and Charles Chinkuntha – Chief economist. Department of Agriculture Planning Services, Malawi.
  • Dr. Zubairu Abdullahi (Director, Planning and Policy Coordination-Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria.
  • Dr. Amjath Babu (Agricultural Economist (Modelling and Targeting), Bangladesh.
  • Dr. Karta Kalsa (Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research - EIAR), Ethiopia.
  • Dr. Khin Maung Soe, Myanmar
Recording of the webinar is also available on

Monday, December 13, 2021

N4G Summit Side Event: Tools for monitoring diet quality across countries

9 December 2021. N4G Summit Side Event: Tools for monitoring diet quality across countries.

The measurement of diet quality is essential to provide information for improving diet quality globally, and to monitor progress toward that goal. Poor diet quality is a major factor in all forms of malnutrition.

This event is the official launch of a set of over 100 country-adapted diet quality questionnaires (DQ-Q) that enable diet quality monitoring by countries and programmes. Each country-specific DQ-Q is fully adapted and ready to implement. The DQ-Q takes five minutes to implement and requires no specialized training, greatly reducing barriers to the collection of diet quality data in national surveys. The DQ-Q is used to derive several indicators of diet quality related to malnutrition in all its forms, including the minimum dietary diversity for women (MDD-W) and dietary risk factors for NCDs.
  • Leonard Mizzi, DG INTPA, European Commission
  • Roswitha Amels, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany
Presentation of the country-adapted DQ-Qs
  • Anna Herforth, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health & WUR, USA
Implementation in global multi-topic surveys
  • Andrew Rzepa, Gallup, Inc., UK
  • Rukundo Benedict, Demographic and Health Surveys, USA
Use of the DQ-Q at national level
  • Paulina Addy, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana
  • Esi Amoaful, Ministry of Health, Ghana
  • Musonda Mofu, National Food and Nutrition Commission, Zambia
  • Đỗ Thị Phương Hà, National Institute of Nutrition, Vietnam
Enabling data collection at scale, aligned with priorities to promote healthy and sustainable diets
  • Roy Steiner, The Rockefeller Foundation, USA
  • Nancy Aburto, FAO, Italy
  • Francesco Branca, WHO, Switzerland
Other side events

BOOK + WEBINAR: African Farmers, Value Chains, and Agricultural Development

9 December 2021. At first glance, African smallholder farmers might seem unproductive, as their crops yield much less than potential and are often of variable quality. A new PIM-supported book “African Farmers, Value Chains, and Agricultural Development” argues that in fact they are largely producing following rational economic decisions, and that this situation is a consequence of the economic and institutional environment in which they produce. 

The authors Alan de Brauw and Erwin Bulte discuss ways that different types of transaction costs limit their market opportunities in general, including transport costs but also costs related to different sources of risks, trust, market power, liquidity, and even storage. The presence of high transaction costs limits the ability of farmers to market their surplus, hence reducing their incentives to produce. The authors discuss several types of costs in detail, including problems related to input and output markets, certification of quality products, and issues with storage. They then critique several “solutions” that are often discussed to help lower transaction costs, before offering some of their own recommendations, noting that the application of any recommendations must take local context into account.
  • Erwin Bulte – Professor of development economics at Wageningen University; co-leader of PIM Flagship 3: Inclusive and Efficient Value Chains.
  • Alan de Brauw – Senior Research Fellow, Markets, Trade, and Institutions Division, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); leader of PIM Flagship 3 cluster on “Value Chains Research: Outreach and Scaling” and co-leader of “Interventions to Strengthen Value Chains” cluster.
  • Hope Michelson, Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics
  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
  • Moderator: Frank Place - Director, CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality Food Security and Nutrition

The Consultation for the development of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in the Context of Food Security and Nutrition is closed 09/12/2021. 

The final version will be presented to the CFS Plenary in October 2022 for adoption."

The 113 contributions received included comments from individual FSN Forum members and participants to the CFS regional consultations, official submissions from 8 countries, and 25 contributions with official or collective feedback from international, regional and national organizations. 

On the web page, you can download the proceedings document that includes all contributions received and access all background information on this consultation.

Tokyo Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit

7 - 8 December 2021.
Tokyo Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit

The Nutrition for Growth Summit focused on improving nutrition outcomes through universal health coverage, food systems transformation, and greater resilience in fragile and conflict-affected states. The Summit also emphasized financing and strong data systems as essential to strengthening program design, delivery, and accountability. The Summit is the culmination of the Nutrition for Growth Year of Action – a global effort to bring together country governments, donors, businesses, and UN agencies to accelerate progress on malnutrition.

Government and private sector donors have pledged more than US$27 billion at the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit this week to address the global malnutrition and hunger crisis.

Represented by five Heads of State and Government, 45 countries with high burdens of malnutrition and a dozen donors delivered renewed policy and financial commitments to end malnutrition. These commitments demonstrate country leadership and prioritization of nutrition at a crucial time, as fiscal resources are constrained and malnutrition rates are on the rise due to the continuing global COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the donor’s pledge, countries with high burdens of malnutrition led the way at the Summit, delivering pledges towards increased domestic programming, as well as promising stronger policies and programs to reduce malnutrition rates. For example, Bangladesh, represented by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, committed to cut anemia rates by one-third, stunting among children by one-fifth, and wasting among children by one-quarter within the next five years.

The 2015 Global Nutrition Investment Framework, led by the World Bank and Results for Development, identified a nutrition financing gap of more than $700 billion dollars over 10 years to deliver evidence-based interventions that are largely delivered through the health sector. While the Summit’s commitments represent a significant step forward, they are still nowhere near what is necessary to end malnutrition.

UN agencies also delivered renewed commitments at the Summit. By 2025, UNICEF aims to reach at least 500 million children, adolescents and women annually with malnutrition prevention programs for the prevention of stunting, wasting, micronutrient deficiencies, overweight and obesity. The World Health Organization (WHO) committed to developing a Global Action Plan to prevent and manage anemia in women and children and to accelerate progress toward reducing anemia in women of reproductive age by 50 percent by 2030. The World Food Programme committed to increase the proportion of its programs’ beneficiaries who consume healthy diets from 40 percent in 2020 to 80 percent in 2025.

The European Union (EU) committed at least 2.5 billion euros for nutrition programming by 2024.

The EU has reaffirmed its strong commitment to supporting the most vulnerable people worldwide in accessing basic human needs. Nutrition is inextricably linked to other key sustainable development issues, either because it depends on them (i.e. water, sanitation and hygiene, social protection, and agriculture), because it enables them (i.e. health, employment), or because it does both (i.e. gender equality, and education). Nutrition is an important issue underlying and driving the achievement of at least 12 of the 17 SDGs.

During the closing session of the Tokyo Summit, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, delivered France’s commitment to host the next Nutrition for Growth Summit linked to the Paris Olympic Games in 2024. The next Summit will be an opportunity to review progress and accountability for commitments delivered this week – and to deliver new commitments to combat malnutrition in the final five years of the Sustainable Development Goals.

6 DecemberTransforming food systems for better nutrition, health, and prosperity
On the eve of the N4G Summit the UNFSS Secretariat hosted this morning a virtual event in support of the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit.

RUFORUM Triennial Conference and 7th Africa Higher Education Week

6-10 December 2021
. RUFORUM Triennial Conference and 7th Africa Higher Education Week

The Triennial conference aimed to; 1) Catalyse investment in Higher Education for strengthening Africa’s’ Science, Technology and Innovation Capacity, 2) Promote international linkages and partnerships for strengthening Higher Education in Africa, 3) Promote youth employment and skills acquisition for development, and 4) Strengthen University-Private sector business linkages.

As part of this Triennial convening, a number of events were held, notably; (i) a series of skills enhancement training for University researchers, students and other actors, (ii) exhibitions to profile research for development outcomes, (iv) specific convening to discuss topical issues affecting science, technology and innovation development in Africa; (v) meetings with policy and private sector leaders; and (vi) RUFORUM governance meetings. 

A number of pre-Conference events were held (see details in the

Some of the key Triennial events include the following:
  • Promoting Intra-Africa and Global Partnership for Higher Education in Africa: Link
  • University-Private Sector Engagement: Link
  • Ministerial Round Table Dialogue: Link
  • RUFORUM Board Meeting that will elect a new Board Chair and Vice-Chair to serve for the period 2022-2024: Link
  • High level policy dialogue on Tracking Agriculture Development in Africa: Link
  • High level policy dialogue on Building ST&I Capacity in Africa: Link
  • Official Opening Ceremony of the Seventh African Higher Education Week and RUFORUM Triennial Conference by President of the Republic of Benin and Recognition awards to 17 individuals making impact on Africa’s Development: Link
  • Reflections on Promoting inclusivity in Research and Development in Africa: Link
  • RUFORUM Business meeting: Link
  • Envisioning the future: A call for Action: Link
  • Recognition Awards for outstanding farmers and upcoming Scientists from Benin: Link

RUFORUM communication platforms:
 (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flicker and the Conference Website)

Storytelling by Researchers: Inspiring stories of African Agriculture by AWARD

3 December 2021.
An Afternoon of Storytelling by Researchers: Inspiring stories of African Agriculture by AWARD

With stories ranging from a soil scientist’s realization of the challenges posed by soil infertility to a biotechnologist’s quest to improve planting material for her country’s production system, these African researchers shared personal stories of working to accelerate agricultural production for the continent.

The speakers included accomplished African researchers who have participated in career acceleration fellowships offered by African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD). AWARD invests in building a pool of African researchers leading agricultural research, developing innovations to improve smallholders’ productivity. Through various interventions, AWARD enhances the researchers’ visibility, influence, their ability to engage and inspire other stakeholders in agricultural research and development.

The moderated virtual storytelling event included the participation of journalists and other media stakeholders from across the continent, AWARD Fellows, Laureate Candidates, and other AWARD partners, including implementing and funding partners.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Launch of The Politics of Knowledge: Understanding the Evidence for Agroecology, Regenerative Approaches, and Indigenous Foodways

6 December 2021
. This webinar event marked the launch of The Politics of Knowledge: Understanding the Evidence for Agroecology, Regenerative Approaches, and Indigenous Foodways — a new compendium tackling the dominant questions about evidence that are holding back food systems transformation.

Authors unpack the narratives and legacies that unpin these questions and explore the many ways funders, researchers, and policymakers can take transformative action.

  • Highlight emerging coalitions, evidence, and policy actions that advance agroecology,\regenerative approaches, and Indigenous foodways
  • Provide entry points for funders to activate a research and action agenda that is focused on political and social justice, the right to food, and food sovereignty
  • Create a space for dialogue amongst global and local audiences about food systems transformation.
Bringing together diverse speakers and an audience of funders, policymakers, as well as researchers and
advocates, the event both challenged attendees’ existing ideas and assumptions about evidence and decision making, whilst offering a space for rich dialogue and engagement about the future of food.
  • Jane Maland Cady, Collaborative Crop Research Program/McKnight Foundation;
  • Mamadou Goita, Institute for Research and Promotion of Alternatives in Development;
  • Peter Gubbels, Groundswell;
  • Anna Lappe, Food and Democracy Program at Panta Rhea Foundation;
  • Francisco Rosado-May, The Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty;
  • Maywa Montenegro de Wit, Agroecology Research-Action Collective;
  • Amaury Peeters, Louvain Cooperation and FAO TAPE;
  • Swati Renduchintala, Andhra Pradesh Community Natural Farming;
  • Ruth Richardson, Global Alliance for the Future of Food;
  • Emma Siliprandi, Agricultural Officer with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations;
  • Mariam Sow, ENDA Pronat, Senegal

Transforming food systems for better nutrition, health, and prosperity

6 December 2021. The UNFSS and Tokyo Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit (Dec 7-8, 2021) have been working collaboratively (see joint statement) to advance solutions across systems with a mutual recognition that malnutrition in all its forms is one of the biggest challenges we face to ensuring optimal health, resilience, and prosperity for all. To further highlight nutrition relevant moments, a “Nutrition for Growth Year of Action” was launched in December 2020.

See concept note.

On the eve of the N4G Summit the UNFSS Secretariat hosted a virtual event in support of the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit. This event underscored the linkage between nutrition and food systems, and heightened global awareness, momentum, and actions toward delivering on the promise of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016-2025) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Speakers included 

  • UNFSS Special Envoy Dr. Agnes Kalibata
  • Mr. HARA Keiichi, Deputy Director-General / Deputy Assistant Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Japan
  • Moderator: Dr. Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) 
  • Ms. Carolina Turriago Borrero, Alliances and Advocacy Lead, Fundación Éxito of Colombia • Mr. Tom Arnold, Ireland’s Special Envoy on Food Systems 
  • Dr. Ferew Lemma, Senior Advisor, Office of the Minister, Federal Ministry of Health, Ethiopia
  • Ms. Sophie Healy-Thow, Co-chair of Youth Liaison Group, UNFSS 
  • Ms. Khadija Mohamed-Churchill, Founder, Kwanza Tukule Foods 
  • Ms. Reema Nanavaty, Agriculture Director, Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) 
  • Dr.Tania E Martinez Cruz, Indigenous researcher

Saturday, December 4, 2021


7-9 December 2021. The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), in partnership with Continental and Sub-Regional Agricultural Research organizations, including the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS), Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in East and Central Africa (ASARECA), CORAF and the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA), announces the maiden edition of the Continental Knowledge Management for Agricultural Development (KM4AgD) Conference under the theme: Strengthening the Knowledge Ecosystem for Improved Agricultural Productivity in Africa.

The Continental Conference has been organized in collaboration with the Knowledge for Development Partnership (K4DP), Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD), and the Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation (GFAR). The three-day conference had a physical attendance strictly limited to 40 guests from over 20 African countries. The online version was open to the general public (register here).
  • Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, the Executive Director of FARA, opened the maiden Conference on December 7th, 2021, followed by a series of goodwill statements from partner organizations. 
  • Dr. Sarah Cummings, a leading voice of the global Knowledge Management Community (KM4Dev) and a Director at the K4DP, delivered the keynote titled: A sixth generation of knowledge management for development? Implications for agriculture in Africa. 
  • Advancing the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A), CAADP Malabo targets, and the SDGs agenda in Africa through KM for improved production and productivity in Africa -  Dr Irene Annor-Frempong, Coordinator for the LEAP4FNSSA Project and former Director for Research and Innovation at FARA. 
The 28 participants in the 2021 KM4AgD Challenge took turns to present their draft countries’ KM Concepts and Challenges for input and validation.

Presentations of concepts and challenges produced in the KM4AgD Challenge continued on Day 2 

The final day was dedicated to validating the 10 KM briefs developed from the 10 identified Challenges, inaugurating the Africa Knowledge management Community of Practice for Artificial Intelligence; 
  • The implications of fake news and misinformationProf Kimir Dalkir of McGill University (Canada) 
  • The concept of Knowledge Art - Dr. Andreas Brandner, a founding director of the K4DP
A special awards ceremony honored successful candidates in the 2021 Challenge with certificates and an International Knowledge Management Award Ceremony honored the 2021 Global prestigious KM Excellence award recipients, and presented the conference communique.

This Conference was organized under the CAADP-XP4 Programme, funded by the European Union (EU) and administered by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Dr. Aggrey Agumya, Director for Research and Innovation at FARA, will anchor the Conference with Mr Benjamin Abugri, Knowledge Management, Learning, and Communications Lead Specialist at FARA, and Dr. Andreas Brandner, Director at K4DP and faculty Coordinator for the 2021 KM4AgD Challenge.

Relevant Links

Thursday, December 2, 2021

African agriculture @ COP

Africa Pavilion @COP26

African regional organizations and partners provided a platform for discussion and ensure that Africa’s concerns and priorities are adequately considered during the climate change negotiation process. Below is the list of panels on agriculture and food systems:
  • 04/11 Sustainable African food systems: harnessing the power of digitalization, earth, wind, energy and people (AUDA-NEPAD and N8 Partnership).
  • 04/11 Role of innovation in transforming Africa’s food system under a changing climate (AUC –AUDA and AICCRA)
  • 04/11 Aligning Long-term Low Carbon Climate-resilient Development Strategies with NDCs and NAPs in the Agriculture Sector in Africa (AGNES)
  • 06/11 Technical forum on Private sector investment “Grown in the Great Green Wall” (African Union)
  • 08/11 High-level side-event on financing agriculture adaptation in Africa (African Development Bank)

FAO @ COP 26

FAO convened 65 discussions See: FAO at COP 26 + full list of events + ENB coverage of FAO side events + Videos United Nations - Climate Change COP 26.


IFAD promoted the role of small-scale producers in climate change adaptation and mitigation and creating resilient food systems. IFAD organized 31 events of which:
    • David Radcliffe, FCDO Consultant to ASAP (Moderator)
    • Vijay Kumar Thallam - Special Chief Secretary, Natural Farming, Government of Andhra Pradesh, India Agroecology
    • Elizabeth Nsimadala, PAFO + EAFF
    • Christophe Larose, Head of Sustainable Agriculture, EC/INTPA/F.3
    • “W.F. Hegel: Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion. - Nothing great development action has ever been accomplished without partnerhsips”.

European Union Side Events @ COP26

EU Side Events COP26 - Agriculture, land use, forestry YouTube channel of the European Commission EU Climate Action.

Below are the events related to agriculture and food systems.
  • 02/11 Supporting green & climate resilient development: local to global insights on the AU-EU Partnership. This event explored how the EU-AU Partnership can support a green and just transition in Africa – by DG INTPA.
  • 06/11 EU’s international cooperation on Circular Economy: a systemic response to climate change. The session showcased EU funded projects supported by the SWITCH programme - by DG INTPA.
  • 08/11 Achieving NDC commitments through transforming agri-food systems - by FAO
  • 08/11 Mobilising private sector engagement for climate-smart agricultural innovation - by WBA, SNV Netherlands and CCAFS
  • 08/11 Transforming agriculture and food systems through inclusion, resilience and low carbon action - by DG CLIMA, FAO, The Cacao Project
  • 08/11 Carbon Farming in a 2030 agenda for soil health and climate - by ECAF (European Conservation Agriculture Federation) - by the "4 per 1000" Initiative together with the three main actors of French scientific research INRAE, IRD and CIRAD; and South Pole.
  • 09/11 The EU-OACPS Partnership: strengthened cooperation on climate action and the use of science-based information to build resilience - by the Eu-funded programmes Intra-ACP GCCA+ and the Climate Services and Related Appliances (CLIMSA)
  • 09/11 Adaptation beyond the EU: perspectives for stronger cooperation with Africa.
  • 10/11 Green Deal as an Example for Green Recovery in Developing Countries and Subnational Governments