Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, August 2, 2021

UNFSS. Science and Innovation for Food Systems

26 - 28 July 2021. Rome. Pre-Summit of the UN Food Systems Summit

The Pre-Summit of the UN Food Systems Summit set the stage for the culminating global event in September by bringing together diverse actors from around the world to leverage the power of food systems to deliver progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Below is the recording of the 3 blocks of the session of the first day on Science and Innovation.

The session presented the science, including social sciences and natural sciences, for food systems transformation that supports the objectives of the UN Food Systems Summit. Advanced and emerging sciences as well as traditional knowledge are considered. We scrutinize propositions, draw attention to conflicting agendas, and seek synergies based on the best peer-reviewed science, successful examples at national and local levels, and quantitative model findings at global levels.

Block 1: Bio-Science, Digital Sciences and Agronomy Innovations

This segment focused on innovations at the frontiers of science for food systems in the areas of bio-, digital and agronomy sciences. Is took stock of the important new and emerging innovations in these fields and discuss how to put them effectively to work to transform food system, how potential risks and unintended consequences can be minimized and what ethical considerations need to be taken into account.

  • Prof. Louise O. Fresco, Vice Chair of the Scientific Group, President of the Executive Board, Wageningen University & Research
  • Prof. Elizabeth Hodson de Jaramillo, Professor Emeritus School of Sciences of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, and member of Inter American Network of Academies of Sciences (IANAS)
  • Dr. Lee Recht, Head of Sustainability, Aleph Farms
  • Dr. Manuel Otero, Director-General, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)

Block 2: Science Serving End Hunger and Safe and Nutritious Food for All

This segment focused on technological, institutional and policy innovations to eliminate hunger, malnutrition and poverty and to ensure availability, affordability, and uptake of nutritious foods. What are the innovations from the frontiers of natural, applied, economic and the social sciences that hold promise for improving productivity, reducing inefficiencies in resource distribution and empowering marginalized and excluded communities and groups?

  • Dr. Kaosar Afsana, Vice Chair of the Scientific Group, Professor Public Health, BRAC University
  • Dr. Claudia Sadoff, Managing Director, Research Delivery and Impact of the CGIAR System Organization (CGIAR)
  • Dr. Godfrey Bahiigwa, Director, Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission
  • Ms. Polina Shulbaeva, Coordinator for IIFB, CBD process
  • Mr. Paul van de Logt, Head, Food and Nutrition Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands

Block 3: Science and Institutional Innovations for Food Systems Sustainability

The segment focused on the scientific, policy and institutional innovations that can most effectively deliver sustainable food systems that are climate-neutral or climate-positive, regenerative, and protect biodiversity and the environment. What are the institutional, policy and technological innovations for sustainable harvesting of natural resources, sustainable agricultural practices, and sustainable consumption patterns?

  • Prof. Mohamed Hassan, Vice Chair of the Scientific Group, President of The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries (TWAS)
  • Prof. Thomas W. Hertel, Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University and Executive Director of the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP)
  • Ms. Geraldine Matchett, Co-CEO and CFO, Royal DSM
  • Ms. Su Kahumbu Stephanou, Founder and CEO, iCow
  • Mr. Patrick Caron, International Director, Montpellier’s University
26 July 2021. The critical role of research and development for sustainable food systems

In this invited side event to the U.N. Food Systems Summit Science Days, leaders across the private and public research and development sectors identify and discuss the key actions needed to advance adaptive agricultural research and to develop an enabling policy environment to support the steady stream of technological innovations necessary for resilient and sustainable food systems. The discussions review evidence of evolving economic transformation and progress towards resilience in sub-Saharan Africa from:
  • the Board for International Food and Agriculture Development (BIFAD)-commissioned Agricultural Productivity Growth, Resilience, and Economic Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa report, 
  • the World Bank publication, Harvesting Prosperity: Technology and Productivity Growth in Agriculture, 
  • and the African Development Bank Group publication, Building Resilience in Food Systems and Agricultural Value Chains. Panelists identify lessons learned from countries in which substantial investments in adaptive agricultural research and development and extension systems have shown the catalytic role of productivity-led agricultural growth in contributing to employment, resilience, and economic transformation.

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