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Driving the food agenda: partnerships for a common goal

To enable young professionals as key influencers that drive sustainable food systems is a key role of YPARD as a global youth network. For this reason, YPARD interacts with different organizations that drive sustainable food agenda through their works. 

The Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP) and the European Alliance on Agricultural Knowledge for Development (Agrinatura) are two of YPARD’s partner that fall into this category. From 13th – 17th May 2019, through the support of the TAP secretariat, I joined the Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation Systems (CDAIS) International Forum, the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP) Capacity Development Expert Group Meeting and the Agrinatura General Assembly – all in Belgium. 

CDAIS International Forum was organized by the TAP secretariat to evaluate the progress and lessons learnt from the EU-funded Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation Systems (CDAIS), which was initiated in 2015. During the forum, the CDAIS country teams including some partners and beneficiaries from the eight pilot countries (Angola, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Laos and Rwanda) shared their experiences from over the past 3-4 years, on the application of the CDAIS Common Framework principles and steps for strengthening innovation capacities. This activity was connected to building a shared vision on how to advocate on the importance of functional capacities in the broader development agenda. Focal points of the country teams also lead deliberations about the challenges faced and opportunities for improvement of the TAP Common Framework and/or implementation arrangements. The forum was held on 13-14 May 2019 in Gembloux, Belgium. 

The TAP Capacity Development Expert Group met on 15 May 2019 following the CDAIS international forum. The purpose was to further reflect on the outcome of the CDAIS International Forum and create a path on how to implement the recommendations from the forum. A key output of the meeting was the summing up of recommendations for the review of the Common Framework and development of learning materials: preliminary identification of tools, methodologies and processes of the Common Framework that should be revised or further improved. TAP secretariat is presently working on this.

Agrinatura is a grouping of European universities and research organizations with a common interest in supporting agricultural development. The Agrinatura General Assembly was held back to back with the CDAIS International Forum and the TAP-CD Expert Group meeting. The assembly was held from 15th to 17th May 2019. The assembly was organized to bring together the partners to discuss specific topics related to the theme ‘Forests of tomorrow in the service of UN sustainable development goals: from monitoring to bio-based products’. Key activities include the inauguration of new Agrinatura members and discussions of ongoing projects. Each Agrinatura working groups - research, communication, projects and advocacy also met to share ideas about potential joint initiatives. 

I shared the outcome of the East African Regional Workshop on youth-led sustainable agriculture for urban food systems with Agrinatura partners and discussed opportunities for partnership for follow up projects. We discussed the proposal to have a sustainable lab/community of practice (CoP) which will be an opportunity to facilitate a long-lasting adoption of best practices in production farming, processing and agribusiness development that alludes to the principles of sustainable agricultural practices. 

Similarly, considering the interest of Agrinatura in promoting the adoption of agricultural research and innovations amongst youth in Africa, the Agrinatura secretariat indicated interest in having further conversation about how, through this CoP, Agrinatura can synergies with YPARD and FAO on specific initiatives (e.g. exploring how youth employment in sustainable agricultural engagements could play a role in reducing the African-EU migration crisis).

A key output is a broad agreement in centralizing youth-focused agenda in joint initiatives and an invitation from the Agrinatura secretariat to continually work jointly with YPARD on shared objectives. For now, here are some reflections of YPARD-Agrinatura synergies – Tropentag Conference 2019 and the SIMPLE project.

 

Photo credit: Agrinatura Secretariat