Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Upcoming Webinars: April and beyond

1 April 2021. @9:30am EDT) Tackling child undernutrition at scale: Insights from national and subnational success cases. By IFPRI.

  • 1er webinaire aura lieu la semaine du 5 avril 2021
  • 2ème webinaire aura lieu la semaine du 12 avril 2021
  • 3ème webinaire aura lieu la semaine du 19 avril 2021
  • 4ème webinaire aura lieu la semaine du 26 avril 2021
  • 1st webinar will take place during the week of the 5th of April
  • 2nd webinar will take place during the week of the 12th of April
  • 3rd webinar will take place during the week of the 19th of April
  • 4th webinar will take place during the week of the 26th of April

6 April 2021.  14:00 in Rome. Entrepreneurship in extension and advisory services, Enabling environment for promoting entrepreneurships.

7 April 2021. 7am PST/10am EST/2pm GMT/5pm EAT. “Hey, Sister! Show me the mobile money" project, a USAID-funded digital financial literacy campaign, implemented in Ghana, Uganda, and Malawi. Strategic Impact Advisors (SIA) developed 10 short audio lessons and a facilitator's guide to build women’s capacity to use mobile money. The content is open-source and available in multiple languages. Register for the Zoom meeting here

7 April 2021. 14:00 CEST. Fortifying the supply chain – addressing premix challenges. will include some preliminary findings from research being supported under the EU-2FAS contract called, “Effects of COVID-19 on global and national fortification supply chains: implications for programming”, led by IRD, in partnership with SAVICA (Indonesian consultancy firm).

7 April 2021.09:30 AM TO 11:00 AM EDT. Examining the State of Community-led Development Programming. 
  • Co-Organized by IFPRI and Movement for Community-led Development
  • Unpacking Community-Led Development: A Study Of 173 Programs Across 65 Countries (Draft Report)
  • This groundbreaking report, was developed by a collaborative research with a team of 35 Program and Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning Specialists from 23 organizations, answers these and other questions critical to improving the implementation and sustainability of community-led programming based on a study of 173 programs across 65 countries.

8 April 2021. 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM GMT+2 Online (Zoom) Catalyzing finance for women food entrepreneurs: A UN Food Systems Independent Dialogue Curated by SAFIN and co-convened with the Agripreneurship Alliance, AGRA, the Global Agribusiness Alliance, the International Agri-food Network, IFAD, Nourishing Africa and One Young World. 

13 April 2021. Extractives Transparency in a post-COVID World: A perspective from Africa

13 April 2021. GLOBAL LAUNCH EVENT - 2021 Global Food Policy Report: Transforming Food Systems After COVID-19 by IFPRI
This year’s Global Food Policy Report examines what we have learned about the deficiencies in current food systems, the changes that are needed for system transformation, and what COVID-19 has taught us.

for participants from the Asia-Pacific (8:00 - 9:30 AM CEST) and the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) (3:00 - 4:30 PM CEST) regions – followed by a session for participants from the Africa region on 4 May 2021 (2:00 – 3:30 PM CEST).
The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) with support from UNEP has received USD 5 million to foster innovation in adaptation. The 5-year programme contributes to CTCN technical assistance to developing countries, providing support to test, evaluate, roll out and scale up innovative adaptation practices, products and technologies. Until 2025, the CTCN will implement 25 technical assistance projects (up to USD 250,000 each) to enhance climate resilience and adapt to climate change in developing countries.

13 April 2021. Managing the water and energy we eat: advancing water-energy-food (WEF) nexus approaches to achieve food systems transformation in Southern Africa by International Water Management Institute

13 April 2021. Learning from West Africa Community of Practice for food systems transformation. By Collaborative Crop Research Program- McKnight Foundation

Find out about our global community of Agrifood researchers and technologists and learn about collaborative, networking, and funding opportunities for African-based researchers and industry.

14 April, 2021. Rwanda. Toward Sustainable Food Systems: What game changing solutions to deal with climate change, protect critical ecosystems, reduce food loss and energy usage?

The ambitious targets set by the EU Green Deal, the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies and the new CAP are marking the path to move into a more sustainable agriculture over the next ten years.

To make it a success, advanced farm machinery and digital farming tools will have a central role to play.

14 - 16 April 2021. World Food Summit 2021 - Better Food for More People by Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Fisheries of Denmark

15 April 2021. Food and Fashion supply chains. Best practices and recommendations towards advancing the SDGs by INTPA Infopoint

15 April, 2021. Independent Dialogue Youth-Led Solutions to Enhancing The Resilience of Africa's Food Systems by Generation Africa, Yara International, AGRA, USAID, AGRF, Syngenta Foundation, Corteva AgriScience, Heifer International, Econet
This webinar will discuss recent events in Cabo Delgado and reflect upon the link with land governance and land-based investments.

16 April 2021. Access to Nutrition: How can we make nutritious food affordable for all? by Irish Forum for International Agricultural Development - IFIAD

17 April 2021. Exploiter le potentiel de la science, de la technologie et des savoirs endogènes. Collectif pour le Renouveau Africain - CORA. Incl. Ramadjita Tabo, ICRISAT

19 - 22 April 2021.  from 13:00 to 16:00 CET. VIRTUAL EVENT. Global Soil Partnership (GSOBI21).
  • This event combines policy and science to shed a light on soil biodiversity as a nature-based solution to many of today's global challenges. The symposium will enable high level attendees, scientists, businesses, partners and panelists to engage in fruitful discussions and gain reliable knowledge on soil biodiversity.
  • Report: State of knowledge on Soil Biodiversity - Status, Challenges and Potentialities: Main report ; Summary for policy makers
19 April, 2021.  1pm UK; 2pm C.E.T; 4pm Kenya; 6pm Kyrgyzstan; 8pm Mongolia. Covid-19 and Pastoralists – International Virtual Forum. Meeting ID: 874 6694 7260 Passcode: 314880

19 April, 2021. Independent Dialogue UNFSS The role of smallholder farmers and indigenous people's knowledge, skills and experiences in boosting nature positive production to ensure safe, nutritious food and conservation of our biodiversity for a sustainable food system by Anam City, Nigeria

19 April, 2021. 13:00 CEST. Independent Dialogue in Egypt: The Role of Water Security for Food Systems Transformation by IFPRI

19 April 2021. African Diaspora Entrepreneurs and non profit orgs on Global transportation and logistics  by Mr Wim Leeflang, Director Fair Trade Solutions bv. Netherlands. Meeting ID: 837 6378 9509; Passcode: Gjh78r

20 April, 2021. 10:03 CEST. Independent Dialogue UNFSS. Expert Workshop on Food Systems Resilience in Africa and Europe coordinated by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and supported by University of Copenhagen and Wageningen University, all in the LEAP4FNSSA- Long-term Europe-Africa Partnership for Food

20 April, 2021. 13:00 CEST Independent Dialogue UNFSS Scaling a renewable energy-based food transformation by Power for All, Kampala, Uganda

20 April 2021. EABF Digital Marketplace for Green Energy Transition. by INTPA Infopoint

20 April 2021. Global Dialogue: Scaling A Clean Energy Food Transformation

20-21 April 2021 Food Tech Matters
Food Tech Matters is the virtual get-together, where food leaders and international investors discover the latest ground-breaking technologies to disrupt the industry of agri-foodtech, and connect with the brightest minds behind the innovations shaping tomorrow’s food and farming.

20 April 2021. The Permagarden Pathway to Resilience and Food Security. The Home Gardens for Resilience and Recovery (HG4RR) network organizes each 3rd Tuesday of the month, 14:00-15:00 CET (Berlin Time), for a webinar series focused on the challenges and opportunities of home garden interventions and evaluation in crisis and humanitarian settings.

21 April, 2021. Household Utilization and Management of Water Schemes: Lessons from Growth through Nutrition by USAID/Feed the future

24 April 2021 at 11am. Impacts of SDGs on Foods Autonomy in Africa by 2030 by Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN)

26 April 2021 Responsible land investments: experiences and lessons learnt
This webinar will be introduced by Julian Quan, Professor of Land and Development Practice, University of Greenwich, UK, who recently was responsible for support and oversight of a series of DFID-supported responsible land investment pilot projects in sub-Saharan Africa.

26 April 2021. 14:00 CEST.  Innovative trade tools to increase the sustainability and transparency of global value chains
This webinar is the second in a series throughout 2021 which will focus on a particular theme or message of the One Planet network. In April this message centers around the relationship between trade and sustainable consumption, and how trade policy and trade tools effect the sustainability of global value chains

The new study sheds light on the use of Bayer and BASF active ingredients in Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa, and the harm these chemicals bring with them. The list of active ingredients highly hazardous to human health that have found their way around the world through Bayer and BASF is long. Terms like glufosinate, spirodiclofen, and (beta-)cyfluthrin conceal concrete hazards: they are highly toxic, probably carcinogenic or mutagenic.

27 April 2021. Identifying Behavioral Drivers of Effective Food Safety Policy by Agrilinks

27 April 2021. 9AM EST: Investing in a More Resilient Food System by Foodtank

27 April 2021. 1 PM GMT +2 FAO Water-Energy-Food webinar series | Session 7: Selected experiences with WEF Nexus decision-making: applications in Morocco by FAO

27 April 2021, 14:00-17:30 (CET). Online Food Systems Summit Dialogue event: Pathways for the future of food systems in the Mediterranean by CIHEAM; the FAO; the UfMs; the UN One Planet Network Sustainable Food Systems Programme and the PRIMA Foundation,

28 April 2021. 14:00 – 15:00 CEST Lessons from designing and implementing innovation challenges: How to mitigate risks and what’s next? 
This Innovation Talk shares experiences from three Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), UN Innovation Network, WFP Innovation Accelerator and the private sector, represented by VentureWell, on what they have learned from designing and implementing innovation challenges.

28 April 2021. Remote Sensing Determination of Evapotranspiration webinar series | Session 6: WaPOR-ETLook by FAO

28 April 2021. 16:00 CEST Farmer research networks for food systems transformation by Collaborative Crop Research Program- McKnight Foundation

The panel will unpack the impact of the pandemic on investment in and performance of agricultural value chains in Africa; and discuss the next challenges on the horizon.

28 April 2021. USAID Nigeria COVID-19 Food Security Challenge Webinar

Discussing critical research, policy, and programmatic implications of unpackaging the effects of mycotoxins, EED, and inflammation on child health, growth, and nutrition.

29 April 2021 - Online Digital Forum: Nature-Based Solutions.
The Global Landscapes Forum is organizing a digital forum on restoration hosted jointly by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) and the Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration (GPFLR). This event will help increase understanding in three key areas where restoration can make significant contributions: climate mitigation and adaptation, job creation, and reducing threats to biodiversity. It will also provide an opportunity to showcase the role of partnerships and collaboration in successful restoration.

Link between conflict and food insecurity as well as the need for stronger resilience building.

29 April 2021. 14:00-16:40 CEST  EC Stakeholder Dialogue: Exploring Options to Strengthen our Global Science Policy Interface for improved Food Systems Governance 
This event will be directly related to the early findings of the EC High Level Expert Group, under the chairmanship of Tom Arnold. Furthermore, the event is being convened as a part of the UN Food Systems Summit Independent Dialogues. The EC High Level Expert Group is composed of 19 top experts from across the world, who are mapping existing SPI, identifying the gaps, assessing needs to be further debated during the Summit process, with the aim to develop viable options and recommendations to be delivered in May 2022.

A series of lightning talks from food security specialists to discuss their perspectives on the past, present, and future of agricultural development.

29 April 2021. Introductory Webinar: Food Safety Innovation Lab RFA for MSI-Led Research Partnerships for Global Development
about the Food Safety Innovation Lab's current Request for Applications.

Thinking regionally about industrial food fortification

29-30 April 2021. High-level dialogue: Feeding Africa: leadership to scale up successful innovations.
by The African Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the CGIAR System Organization

The events, co-hosted by the Norwegian leadership of the Global Action Network and WorldFish, aim to bridge the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition and the Decade of Ocean Science to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals.

4 May 2021.10:00 am - 11:00 am EST.  A New Era for Climate Change and Food Security? FAO/US

4 May 2021. 15:30 CEST CGIAR COVID-19 Hub Seminar: COVID-19 and Implications for One Health Research Co-Organized by CGIAR COVID-19 Hub and IFPRI

4 May 2021.  2pm CET, UN Food Systems Summit - Action Track 1 Public Forum
Action Track 1 (AT1) strives to identify game-changing ideas to transform food systems and achieve the goal of ensuring access to safe and nutritious food for all. This third Public Forum will focus on the role UN Member States can play in relation to the game-changing ideas AT1 is developing.

5 May 2021. 14:30 - 16:30 CEST High-level virtual event to release the 2021 Global Report on Food Crises

5 May 2021. 14:00 - 15:00 CEST  Digital agriculture and the rural poor Challenges and opportunities in delivering results by IFAD. Panellists will share progress and highlight key challenges and opportunities in the implementation of digital agricultural advisory services for smallholder farmers in Kenya, Pakistan, and Nigeria.

7 May 2021. 2:00pm to 3:30pm CEST. Launch event - The role of aquatic foods in sustainable healthy diets.  The webinar will be recorded and published online on the event page. The event will feature speakers from several UN Nutrition member agencies as well as WorldFish, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and the Global Action Network on Sustainable Food from the Ocean and Inland Waters for Food Security and Nutrition, who will react to the main findings of the discussion paper and share insights on the role of aquatic foods in their specific contexts.

8- 9 May 2021. E-conference on Draft Animals and World Donkey Day
Please subscribe to this conference newsletter ( and register here: (International Draft Animal Conference - UNESCO WELTERBE) The official conference trailer is available here:

11 May 2021. HarvestPlus Webinar on 5/11: Businesses, Food Systems, and Biofortification

11 May 2021  5:00 - 6:30 pm CEST Global Food Security Symposium Changing the Game for Food Systems Innovation

12 May 2021 The roles and responsibilities of third country NCPs in the era of Horizon Europe


18 May 2021 Webinar series on operationalization of the Framework for Sustainable Agriculture
Mechanization in Africa (F-SAMA)

18 May 2021. The Permagarden Pathway to Resilience and Food Security. The Home Gardens for Resilience and Recovery (HG4RR) network organizes each 3rd Tuesday of the month, 14:00-15:00 CET (Berlin Time), for a webinar series focused on the challenges and opportunities of home garden interventions and evaluation in crisis and humanitarian settings.

20 May 2021. PAFO-COLEACP INNOVATION SERIES 4 : “Sustainable food systems: the key role of SMEs and businesses"

May 2021 - 9th Plenary meeting of the Latin America and the Caribbean Soil Partnership (date tbc)
May 2021 - 5th Plenary meeting of the African Soil Partnership (date tbc)

May 19 at 11AM EST: Ecological Solutions for Stronger Communities

The CIHEAM; the FAO; the UfMs; the UN One Planet Network Sustainable Food Systems Programme and the PRIMA Foundation, are co-organising two Food Systems Summit Dialogues ( 27 April and 3 June 2021) aiming at advancing a common understanding of the complex environment of Sustainable Food Systems in the Mediterranean region (SFS MED).

5 June 2021 - World Environmental Day - Launch of the Global Assessment of Soil Pollution and its summary for policy makers

8-9 June 2021. Food Safety Summit SA 2021

10-11 June 2021. 10th CGIAR System Council Meeting
The Home Gardens for Resilience and Recovery (HG4RR) network organizes each 3rd Tuesday of the month, 14:00-15:00 CET (Berlin Time), for a webinar series focused on the challenges and opportunities of home garden interventions and evaluation in crisis and humanitarian settings.

The title of this edition is "The Green Deal for a Sustainable Future".

17 June 2021 - Desertification and drought day - Launch of the Global Soil Salinity Map (GSSmap)

June 2021 - 2nd International network on fertilizers analysis meeting

22 - 24 June 2021 - 9th Global Soil Partnership Plenary Assembly and launch of the Global Soil Organic Carbon sequestration potential map

23 and 24 June 2021. European Research and Innovation Days This year’s edition will mark the official launch of Horizon Europe, the new EU research and innovation programme (2021-2027).

6-12 September 2021. Intra African Trade Fair 2020

13 - 16 September 2021 - Global Symposium on Salt-Affected Soils

21-23 September 2021. South Africa innovation Summit

September 2021 - Second Plenary meeting on soil spectroscopy (date tbc)

13-15 October 2021. 1st Conference on Farmer-Centric On-Farm Experimentation

October 2021 - Sustainable soil management for nutrition-sensitive agriculture: Micronutrient workshop (date tbc)

October 2021 - Launch of the Global Status of Black soils and Global Black Soil Distribution Map (GBSmap)

October 2021 - 3rd Workshop of the International Network of Black Soils (INBS) (date tbc)

October 2021 - 7th meeting of the International Network of Soil Information Institutions(date tbc)

October 2021 - 5th meeting of the Global Soil Laboratory Network (date tbc)

November 2021 - 6th meeting of the Eurasian Soil Partnership (date tbc)

November 2021 - 15th working session of the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (date tbc)

5 December 2021 - World Soil Day "Halt soil salinization, Boost soil productivity"


December 2021 - Global Soil Information System launch event (date tbc)

Webinar: Evidence informed policy-making - Designing better food-systems policies

31 March 2021. GIZ recently commissioned the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), with support from IMMANA, to develop an evidence gap map (EGM) which maps the literature relating food systems interventions to food security and nutrition outcomes in low- and middle-income countries.

An earlier EGM commissioned by UK/FCDO, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, IFAD and AGRA assessed the evidence-base of the effects of agricultural innovation programmes on outcomes related to the productivity and sustainable growth of smallholder farming.

This Infopoint Session will discuss the main findings of the latest EGM, the potential use of EGMs to inform food systems policy making and programming, and the implications of this effort for future policy and research needs.
  • Leonard Mizzi - Head of Unit “Sustainable Agri-Food Systems and Fisheries”, DG International Partnerships, European Commission, EC/INTPA/F.3
  • Charlotte Lane - Evaluation Specialist, 3ie
  • Alessandra Garbero - Lead Economist, IFAD
Registration for this event is closed. But the conference is recorded and the video will be published on the European Commission’s platforms.

3ie (2021) The effects of food systems interventions on food security and nutrition outcomes in low- and middle-income countries. Evidence Gap Map Report 16, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) January 2021, 282 p.

·       3ie (2021) The effects of food systems interventions on food security and nutrition outcomes in low- and middle- income countries. Policy brief, 8 p.

15 January 2021. Expert policymakers and researchers joined 3ie for a panel discussion on the new gap map, highlighting the ways it can be useful and the findings that surprised them.

The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) and Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions (IMMANA) research group were commissioned by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in February 2020 to develop an Evidence Gap Map (EGM) of the effects of food systems interventions on food security and nutrition outcomes. This map can help increase the discoverability of evidence and it’s use by decision makers working on policies and programmes. 1,838 impact evaluations and 178 systematic reviews were identified for this study. In this presentation, we will discuss the main findings of the 3ie food systems evidence gap map, its potential uses, and the implications of this effort for future policy and research. This event is a part of a series of events that 3ie is hosting on nutrition in January 2021.
  • Martin Hoppe, Head of division, Food and Nutrition Security, Global Food Policy, Fisheries, BMZ; 
  • Christoph Langenkamp, Programme Director, Knowledge for Nutrition (K4N); 
  • Thalia Sparling, Postdoctoral Fellow, Innovative Metrics and Methods for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions (IMMANA); 
  • Marie Ruel, Director of Poverty, Health, and Nutrition Division, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); 
  • Charlotte Lane, Evaluation Specialist, 3ie Chair: Josh Furgeson, Senior Research Fellow, 3ie 
"It will really help us in utilizing evidence from food systems interventions to improve nutrition," said Christoph Langenkamp, Programme Director, Knowledge for Nutrition (K4N). "The map will provide a visual and interactive display of this evidence in different sectors and subsectors."

"Technical approaches like nutrient fortification appear to have been evaluated more often than grassroots type approaches. This finding may suggest an inordinate focus on topics that are 'sexy' or 'the current trend'. There is a lot of research, but it's not distributed evenly. There are clearly fields where the (research) coverage on interventions is much more dense than on others." Martin Hoppe, BMZ's Head of division for food and nutrition security, global food policy, and fisheries. 

"The map also suggests that researchers do not always study the most appropriate outcome for a given intervention. For example, many food fortification studies were evaluated using anthropometric outcome measures like height or weight, rather than more direct measures of nutrient intake. This [anthropometric measurement] is not the best outcome for a fortification study," Ruel said. "Lots of other things need to fall into place [to see an effect] … it's very possible that a lot of studies [report] negative impacts or don't show impacts because they didn't choose the right outcomes." Marie Ruel, Director of Poverty, Health, and Nutrition Division, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

To compound that issue, many studies also do not include any intermediate outcome measures to help show why an intervention did – or did not – work as expected.

"We are not actually learning about how to achieve these outcomes because we are not measuring the causal pathway" 3ie Evaluation Specialist Charlotte Lane.

Several panelists noted their surprise at the relative absence of evaluations linking food systems interventions and gender outcomes. "That was one of the most striking surprises, why is there so little evidence [on women in the food system]?" Langenkamp said.

"Most of the studies that did measure gender outcomes used the same measurement approach, providing a narrow picture, There are a lot of missing other aspects of equity" Thalia Sparling, postdoctoral fellow, Innovative Metrics and Methods for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions (IMMANA).

Also, panelists agreed that the map is most useful when used as a tool to direct further inquiry, and that it cannot provide all the answers on its own. 

"The map should not be viewed as a magic genie with the answers, but rather as a roadmap to provide directions. It allows you to step back and see the broader picture, but these maps are never going to be specific enough that they tell you everything you need to know," Thalia Sparling.

The interactive online map can be viewed here, where users can apply filters to search for the topics that interest them. The full report on the map and a brief summary of its findings are here.

WEBINAR: Sharing experiences between Asia, Africa and the Near East: Harnessing local agriculture production system for healthy diets

31 March 2021. FAO Regional Offices for Near East and North Africa (RNE), Asia and the Pacific (RAP) and Africa (RAF) organized a special virtual event on “Sharing experiences between Asia, Africa and the Near East: Harnessing local agriculture production system for healthy diets”.

 Passcode: REG3103+

Poor diets are the main contributor to the global burden of disease, accounting for 20percent of premature disease-mediated mortality. Approximately 3 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet, and more than 3 billion people suffer one or more manifestations of poor nutrition. A healthy diet is the foundation for good nutrition, human health and well-being. 

Profound changes needed in production systems and consumption patterns to combat nutrition problems and ensure that healthy diets are available, affordable and accessible for all.

Transformation of agriculture production system will require science-based solutions to support decisive and effective policies, well-targeted investment and use of science to guide practice. Agriculture production that supports and promotes healthy diets, will need a multi-level, multi-actor, multisector and multidisciplinary approach that brings agriculture, environment, natural resources, food, health, trade, economics, rural development agenda together.
Affordability is also a key aspect related to dietary choices, considering that the cost of a healthy diet is almost 5 times the cost of the energy sufficient diet, as estimated in SOFI 2020  

  • Opening remarks: Mr Serge Nakouzi, Regional Representative a.i., FAO Regional Office forthe Near East and North Africa (RNE) 
  • Keynote presentation: Dr Mahmoud El Solh, Member of Steering Committee, High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE), Committee on World Food Security (Former Director-General, ICARDA) - Harnessing the benefits of diversified agri-food system for healthy diet
Part 1:
  • Moderator: Dr Ismahane Elouafi, Chief Scientist, FAO
  • Dr Shakuntala Thilsted, Global Lead, Nutrition and Public Health, WorldFish (Member of Steering Committee, HLPE, CFS; Vice Chair, UN Food System Summit 2021: Action Track 4:Advance Equitable Livelihoods)
  • Dr Yemi Akinbamijo, CEO, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA)
  • Prof. Kadambot Siddique, Hackett Professor of Agriculture, Chair and Director, University of Western Australia (FAO Special Ambassador on International Year of Pulses)
    ARTICLE Rediscovering Asia’s forgotten crops to fight chronic and hidden hunger - Published: 15 February 2021
    Joshi BK, R Shrestha, IP Gautam, AP Poudel and TP Gotame. 2019. Neglected and Underutilized Species(NUS), and Future Smart Food (FSF) in Nepal. National Agriculture Genetic Resources Center (NAGRC, National Genebank), NARC, Khumaltar, Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • Dr Aly Abousabaa, Director-General, ICARDA
Part 2:
  • Moderator: Dr Máximo Torero Chief Economist, FAO
  • Thanawan Tiensin, Chair of CFS (Permanent Representative of Royal Government of Thailand to UN and Food Systems Summit Champion)
  • Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Al Mheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security, United Arab Emirates
  • Dr Ferdinal M. Fernando, Assistant Director, Head of Health Division, ASEAN Human Development Directorate, ASEAN Secretariat
  • Dr Fati N’zi, Head of Human Capital and Institutions Development, NEPAD/AUDA
Sub Regional Webinar Series Agribusiness Incubation and Acceleration in SSA Southern Africa Webinar

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Genome editing: EC's Ethics Group calls for wide-ranging societal debate and global governance

EGE (2021) Ethics of Genome Editing. European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies. European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. March 112 pp.

19 March 2021.
 The European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE), an independent advisory body to the Commission, has published its Opinion on the ethics of genome editing. The Opinion analyses ethical questions raised by the application of genome editing in humans, animals and plants, and hence spans health, research, agriculture and environmental aspects.

Genome editing refers to new forms of targeted intervention to alter the genomes of any organisms. The Opinion’s area-specific analyses are complemented by overarching considerations on long-debated questions revived by genome editing, notably about the different meanings that ought to be attributed to humanness, naturalness and diversity.

“Agriculture contributes nearly one-quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, uses 37 percent of landmass (excluding Antarctica), and accounts for 70 percent of all freshwater withdrawn from rivers, lakes, and aquifers.” (WRI graphic: The Global Food Challenge Explained in 18 Graphics) (page 66)
Genome editing has been proposed as a means to understand and preserve corals and their ecosystems,to diversify agriculture to shore up food security, to combat invasive species plaguing ecosystems around the world,36 and even to resurrect extinct species. (page 19)
The very first prerequisite for an intervention to be considered safe enough is knowledge about its effectiveness in terms of potential benefits, and about potential harms. There must be scientific evidence that the technological intervention contributes to the solution of the problem for which it is designed; and the robustness of this evidence needs to be assessed. The second prerequisite refers to the ratio between risks and potential benefits: risks must not exceed benefits. (page 31)
Genome editing to modify the susceptibility of animals to diseases (e.g. African swine fever or Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome) could prevent diseases in farm animal populations and thus avoid animal suffering, medical treatment of animals (e.g. with antibiotics), culling of diseased animals and the resulting vast economic losses for the farmers.  (page 43)
Many questions raised by genome editing revive older, general questions about the instrumentalisation of animals, for example concerning their mass production or the use of non-human primates in experimentation.  (page 47)
Industrial stakeholders point to the advantages of Genome editing in terms of ecological sustainability, economic sustainability and social sustainability and underline both the increasing public acceptance of this technology and its potential to produce enough healthy food for the population, while preserving precious resources, such as soil and water, and mitigating climate change. (...)  The use of modified plants could improve our use of land resulting in the (re)creation of more natural environments. Choosing the modification carefully could result in better pest management, less reliance on chemical fertiliser, and a 
better shelf life for plants. 
Consumers’ organisations, environmental protection organisations and several NGOs underline the risks associated with coexistence of GM crops alongside natural species, the lack of public acceptance and the risks stemming from the monopoly which this sector of industry could induce. (page 63)

Whichever argument is considered, the need for a holistic view of the use of land, water and the environment is recognised. (page 65)

There is much false information or hype provided by all sides in the debate about new technologies that produce this most basic commodity. Mechanisms for ensuring the veracity of the information provided to the public should be carefully considered. The effects of increased prices and availability where strong regulation is required should also be considered. This would impact on the poorest segment of society. (...)  Patents are a mechanism for cost recovery. Patents also increase the costs of those using the patented varieties and may inhibit the use of new varieties by the farmer. (page 78) 

How can we ensure adequate funding for projects that will benefit those who need it most? (...) What elites in some parts of the world consider the most pressing issues, and what solutions they may consider just, does not necessarily reflect the preferences and needs of all people in the world. We need democratically legitimate and epistemically just ways to decide what gene drives should be used for, on what species and for what purposes, seeking to ensure that those who need it most benefit from gene drives. (page 82) 

The EGE is calling for a wide-ranging and inclusive societal debate on genome editing, for efforts towards joint monitoring and learning with regard to both regulatory and scientific developments, and for international engagement towards global governance. The debate should be based on democratic principles, take into account present and future generations and include local and European perspectives.

This is the 32nd Opinion of the EGE and follows a formal request by the European Commission to examine the ethical issues surrounding novel genome editing techniques across all areas of application. The Opinion builds on the EGE’s Statement on gene editing.

The Commission will present, at the end of April, at the request of the Council, a study on New Genomic Techniques.
The European Green Deal Communication mentions under the Farm to Fork strategy that "the EU needs to develop innovative ways to protect harvests from pests and diseases and to consider the potential role of new innovative techniques to improve the sustainability of the food system, while ensuring that they are safe." As such, among its other objectives, the current study will also explore the potential of NGTs to contribute in addressing challenges identified in the Green Deal as well as investigate safety-related aspects.

It is envisaged that the European Union’s upcoming research funding programme Horizon Europe might “allocate €5 million for projects aimed at understanding the benefits and risks of genome editing technologies in agriculture over the next two years.” The ‘Farm to Fork’ plan has established the aim of reducing the use of fertilisers by 30% and turn 25% of conventionally farmed land into organic farming. In pursuit of these aims, the EU would prepare to “enable major advances in the life sciences and biotechnology, in new genomic techniques, such as gene/genome editing.” (page 64)
Modern techniques for the production of new varieties, whether or not by genome editing, have been the prerogative of large seed companies, due to the cost of producing them. This has led to the monopolisation of the production of seed within a small group of companies, and considerable public reaction to some of these companies. Very considerable testing of new varieties produced using genetic modification ensuring their safety resulted in high costs, which made the production of such varieties by small companies or research organisations prohibitive. This in turn led to the monopolisation about which there are many concerns. The techniques could have an impact on distribution systems, resulting in quality food becoming available where it is needed, in the urban environment.

 (page 77)  


The African continent is facing a strong push to adopt novel GM technologies, such as cisgenesis and intragenesis, RNAi-mediated DNA methylation, agroinfiltration, reverse breeding and genome editing techniques (CRISPR and gene drives, TALENS and oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis).

The failure of old GM technologies is a forewarning that such new GM techniques will also be met with fierce opposition. We will not tolerate in Africa, continuing hegemonic control and privatisation of African food systems. African civil society has called and continues to call for a ban on both failed GMOs and the latest genome editing and gene drive technofixes. What is needed is to decolonise African agricultural and health systems from unequal colonial relationships with the North and the rest of world, which continue to exacerbate our ecological and health crises.

WEBINAR: North-South partnership in research and education for the transformation of food systems

29 March 2021. INTPA INFOPOINT North-South partnership in research and education for the transformation of food systems

This InfoPoint conference co-organised between the European Commission and Agrinatura showed perspective on the role of research and education to contribute to the green transformation of food systems, in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and in line with the European Green Deal.

(recording forthcoming)
Agrinatura has a longstanding partnership with universities and research organisations in Africa. In this event Research and Education partners in Europe and Africa reflected with colleagues of the European Commission on the contribution of Research and Education to transform the Food Systems and showcasing the need and efficiency of international cooperation and partnership.
Agrinatura has prepared two papers for discussion:
  1. Agrinatura’s position on the future of global food systems in relation the EC’s Farm to Fork Strategy (3 pages)
  2. Agrinatura Position on Research and Innovation in Food Systems, a contribution to the dialogues preparing the UN Food Systems Summit(5 pages)
During the InfoPoint, Agrinatura presented their perspectives on the role of research and education to contribute to the green transformation of food systems, in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and in line with the European Green Deal.
  • Agrinatura presented two papers on lessons learnt and recommendations on the F2F and Food Systems, showcasing the need and efficiency of international cooperation and partnership in the field of agricultural research for development and for a green transformation. 
  • RUFORUM provided evidence on the strong role that Universities in Africa can have in transformation of food systems on the continent. 
  • The LEAP4FNSSA (Long-term Europe-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership for Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture) project, represented by FARA, explained the benefits and results of their platform for a close long-term collaboration between different stakeholders of Europe and Africa in the field of research and innovation
  • On Capacity4Dev the discussion is continued :
  • Leonard Mizzi, Head of Unit F3, Sustainable Agri-Food Systems and Fisheries, DG INTPA
  • Carolyn Glynn, President Agrinatura and Head of Department Crop Production Ecology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Adipala Ekwamu, Executive Secretary, RUFORUM
  • Marc Duponcel, Head of Research Sector, Research and Innovation, European Commission, DG AGRI
  • Yemi Akinbamijo, Executive Director, FARA

VIRTUAL EVENT: European joint program SOIL Annual Science Days

29-31 March 2021The Annual EJP Soil Science Days facilitates exchange of scientific knowledge within the EJP SOIL consortium and strengthens scientific networks with peers in soil research. The Annual Science Days focus on presenting results and research from EJP SOIL projects and discussing scientific topics relevant to the consortium.

The main aim of the EJP is to promote a network for an integrated community of research groups working on aspects related to agricultural soil management. To fill the identified knowledge gaps, EJP SOIL fosters research projects and synthesis through the organization of internal calls. 

Break-out sessions
  • CarboSeq: Carbon sequestration potential of European agricultural soils
  • INSURE: Wet management of cultivated peatlands a sustainable land use option for peat soils
  • SOMMIT: Towards a sustainable agriculture: strategies for minimizing GHG emissions and enhancing soil C sequestration (We are no longer accepting applications)
  • SensRes: Sensor technologies for downscaling soil maps
  • TRACE-Soil: Trade-offs between soil carbon sequestration, greenhousegas emissions and nutrient losses in agricultural soils across Europe: mechanisms and management options (We are no longer accepting applications)
  • STEROPES: Earth remote observation of soil carbon: recent premises
  • SCALE: Managing Sediment Connectivity in Agricultural Landscapes for reducing water Erosion impacts
  • SIREN: Stocktaking for agricultural soil quality and ecosystem services indicators and their reference values
  • CLIMASOMA: Publication bias in soil science and agronomy: impact on our vision on soil as climate adaptation tool
  • CM1: Plant below-ground inputs to enhance soil carbon sequestration in agricultural soils
  • CA4/SP3: Contribution of soils to climate mitigation and adaptation, sustainable agricultural production and environment in agroecological systems
  • SP1: Alleviating soil compaction in a climate change context
  • INDICATORS2/SE4: European soil biodiversity forecast toward resilient agroecosystems in response to climate change
  • CM5: Effects of the soil biome on the persistence SOC storage and its drivers (We are no longer accepting applications)
  • SP2: The use, processing and application of external sources of organic matter to mitigate climate change and improve soil health
  • DATA1: Innovative techniques to monitor SOC stocks and soil degradation/ restoration changes in the EU, using spectral systems/ NIRS/ MIRS and other proximal sensing tools
  • POL2/ES7: Enabling conditions for climate smart and sustainable soil policy: fair and functional payment systems for ecosystem services related to climate
  • SE2/INDICATORS1: Modelling soil functions and soil threats for mapping soil functions and ecosystem services