Newsletter A+FS and e+i|EPS / March 2021

​​​The A+FS Network publishes its Newsletter together with the Employment and Income Network and the Competence Center for the Engagement with the Private Sector (EPS). Please select your area of interest: Agriculture and Food Security | Vocational Skills Development / Private Sector Development / Financial Sector Development / EPS

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Food Systems Dialogues: Switzerland’s experience

As announced in the December newsletter edition, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) will organise a series of independent Food Systems Dialogues between April and June 2021, in English, French and Spanish**.

With its involvement in a broad range of activities in food systems in developing and transition countries, as well as emerging economies, the SDC is in a unique position to mobilise diverse and relevant food system actors to engage in a multi-stakeholder dialogue around transdisciplinary topics. These dialogues are expected to contribute to a common understanding on the priorities in the transformation of food systems to achieve the SDG Agenda 2030. They will also contribute to the planning and implementation of the interventions of the SDC and its partners, in addition to feeding into the UN Food Systems Summit through our reports and that of the Swiss delegates to the summit.

Switzerland, led by the Federal Office of Agriculture (FOAG), has already organised a number of FSDs, with more yet to come. In an interview, Alwin Kopse from the Swiss Federal Office of Agriculture (FOAG) told us more about their experiences in organising these events. He also shared some lessons learned along the way, discussing why these dialogues matter.​

Read more

Watch the full interview

Have you attended – or intend to – National or Independent food systems dialogues?  Are you organising or planning to organise such events? Do you think FSDs can bring upon change?

Share your opinions and experiences with us!

** We have prolonged the application deadline for the SDC Independent Food Systems Dialogues to April 13th. We are looking especially for eloquent participants representing more vulnerable stakeholder groups in food systems. Please reach out to them by calling them, explaining the purpose of the dialogue and the importance of their participation and stake in shaping the future of food systems.

Members' Articles | Your comments join the network!

Bakery in Togo | La Boulangerie au Togo 

[by Tata Yawo Ametoenyeno
Local sorghum and soy bread has great potential in Togo. Various actors, from both agriculture and bakery sectors, benefit from a development project focused on these value chains. The aim of the project is to increase the income of artisan bakers, made up 97% by women, flour producers, sorghum and soybean farmers and many small service providers. The project connects bakeries making traditional bread with reliable local sorghum and soya flour production cooperatives, to produce and market local bread … [read more | lire plus

Swiss Green Gold Project restores Mongolian rangelands ​

[by Enkh-Amgalan Tseelei
Mongolia’s rangelands extend over 71% of the country’s territory. As these ecosystems are threatened by over-grazing and changing climatic conditions, sustainable management of rangelands is crucial for Mongolia from both economic and ecological perspectives. The Green Gold Animal Health Project, financed by the SDC in Mongolia, has contributed to paving the way towards sustainable rangeland management in the context of nomadic herding ...  [read more]

Ethiopian youth artisans develop improved grain silos 

[by Aresawum Mengesha/ Tamiru Legesse]Five years ago, four young artisans from the Ethiopian South Achefer district, established a youth group with the support of an FAO Ethiopia-led project that aims to build the capacity of farmers and extension workers to reduce post-harvest food losses. Since then the group has produced and sold 46 new metals silos, ordered by the local farmers. They have also shared what they learned from their training and the benefits of metal silos with their communities ... [read more]

Cambodian horticulture market grows & becomes more inclusive

[by LIM Sokundarun and HEM Sovannarith]  The SDC-mandated CHAIN project works in four of the poorest provinces in Cambodia to accelerate pro-poor, inclusive growth of the horticulture sector. From farmers, vegetable traders, input retailers,  national companies to the Government, it supports productive and gender-sensitive market linkages that generate additional income, support resiliency, and promote business and economic growth, while addressing malnutrition by promoting dietary diversity ... [read more]

News | Your comments join the network!

SDC’s Food Security Strategy 2021 – 2024 

“Have a look at the SDC's Global Programme Food Security new framework 2021-2024. Our goal: contribute to more sustainable and resilient food systems thanks to agroecology, inclusive markets and responsible investment, the promotion of sustainable and healthy diets for improved nutrition as well as enhancing the global governance through our multilateral partnerships. We are putting women and young smallholder farmers as well as vulnerable consumers at the center of our interventions and will monitor our increased engagement in agroecology and nutrition in the coming 4 years,” says Marylaure Crettaz Corredor, Co-Head GPFS … [read more]

Launch of Cambodia Livelihood-recovery project

The project will help the most vulnerable groups, including poor and vulnerable households, small-scale farmers, returning migrant workers and unemployed casual workers, who have suffered from economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It combines a variety of activities, including rehabilitation of basic community infrastructure, provision of agriculture inputs and assets for production, and improved access to financial service ... [read more​[see the video]

The Rome-based Committee on World Food Security (CFS) endorsed the first-ever Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition. Their objective is to support countries in the process towards achieving sustainable food systems that guarantee the availability, affordability, accessibility and safety of food that contribute to healthy diets ... [read more​]

La emergencia sanitaria mundial visibilizó la fragilidad de los sistemas de abastecimiento de alimentos, principalmente de pequeña escala. El desarrollo del Sistema de Monitoreo al Abastecimiento de Alimentos (SISMA) ofrece una respuesta a problemáticas vinculadas a la seguridad alimentaria. SISMA es una plataforma digital para a) el registro, b) el llenado de reportes periódicos de abastecimiento, c) la consolidación de información sobre oferta y demanda de productos registrados, y d) la publicación de información geo-espacial (mapas geo-referenciados) ... [leer más]

Cette publication d’Inter-Réseaux a pour objectif de discuter la pertinence des filets sociaux et leur impact sur la résilience alimentaire des populations vulnérables et notamment rurales. Fruit de réflexions collectives, il donne la parole à une diversité d’auteur.rice.s,, expert.e.s ou de la protection sociale, mais aussi à des activistes de la société civile. Leurs analyses et points de vue offrent des éléments de débat et de compréhension de cette thématique très actuelle compte tenu de la crise du COVID-19 ... [lire plus]

UNEP Food Waste Index Report 2021 

Only with reliable data, we will be able to track progress on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 12.3, which aims at halving per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reducing food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses. The Food Waste Index Report presents the most comprehensive food waste data collection, analysis and modelling, generating a new estimate of global food waste; and publishing a methodology for countries to measure food waste, at household, food service and retail level ... [read more​]

Events | Your comments join the network!

CGIAR – Webinar on One Health Approach

On March 31, starting at 14:00 as part of the series on Unleashing the Potential of Plant Health, CGIAR brings together scientists working at the intersections of environmental, human, and animal health. In this session, the experts will examine plant health and agriculture from a “One Health” approach—a collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary perspective that recognizes the health of people, animals, plants and their environments as all closely connected. [read more]​

The Sustainable Development Goals in Context

Spring 2021, every Wednesday 18:00-19.30: ETH Zürich hosts a Public Lecture Series. Join these online lectures to gain insights from cutting edge science and leading societal actors that seek to address questions like “What are the major challenges and chances related to sustainability? How does ETH Zurich contribute to sustainable development?” [read more]​ ​​

FAO Survey: Taking Stock of Global Capacity for Ecosystems Restoration

The “Taking Stock of Global Capacity for Ecosystems Restoration” survey launched by the FAO in the context of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is open until April 15. This survey will: provide a baseline of existing capacities; help identify strengths, gaps, needs and barriers to achieving global restoration goals; guide the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration’s system-wide capacity development efforts, to the benefit of all involved. It is available in all UN languages. [read more | lire plus | leer más]​ ​​

Restoring Africa’s Drylands: Accelerating Action on the Ground

Spring 2021, every Wednesday 18:00-On 2-3 June 2021, GLF will host the first-ever digital conference focused entirely on Africa's drylands and how integrative restoration practices can see them flourish once again. Join in for inspiring speakers, the latest science, concerts, film screenings, virtual tours, networking, and the unexpected discoveries that always form part of a Global Landscapes Forum event. [read more]​ ​​

Who is who | Your comments join the network!

Lee Zbinden 

Civil Servant of the Global Programme Food Security at SDC

​What do you love about your work, what is special about it?

I studied Social Sciences and have worked in this context, more specifically in the areas of migration and integration. My work with SDC is quite a change and what I love about it is the more technical aspects of food security and nutrition. It gives me a new perspective on how the globalized world functions and how certain programs are implemented, while also considering the social aspects and context of the people affected by these changes. I also enjoy discovering more about how food systems and food security are connected with other important challenges like climate change, migration, health and water. This provides me with a good overview of the work the SDC has been doing and will do in the future. I think its transdisciplinary approach is very important and impactful in the globalized world of today.

​If you could be doing anything, anywhere right now, what and where would it be?

Last year I travelled to Africa (Tanzania) for the first time and I fell in love with this country at first sight. I would love to go back and explore Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, and Mali. Besides travelling, I would also like to set up a development project, for example in school or sport facilities, because I have experience working as a teacher and a football coach in Switzerland.  During my journey in Tanzania, I was amazed by how much impact small actions can have, sometimes with little means. I want to go back there one day and work for a project or even start my own.  

​What is the most important lesson you have learned from your work?

Calmness and composure: in Tanzania the life motto is “Hakuna Matata” (No problem!). This lesson could - and should - also be applied more here in Switzerland, where we tend to be perfectionists and seek over-optimisation, yet our tasks seem to overwhelm us. With an approximate 100 e-mails the average worker receives every day, we should still try to stay calm and think positive. Things don’t have to be perfect, good enough is also good enough. 

Lee Zbinden is 26 years old. He comes from Thun, but is now living in Bern at Europaplatz, directly across the street from SDC. At the end of last year, he obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Social Anthropology, Social Sciences and Philosophy. Directly afterwards he went to Tanzania for 5 weeks, travelling and working in a school with a football-academy. His tr​avel ignited his interest in Development and Cooperation. He will be working with the Global Programme Food Security at SDC's headquarters for 6 months. He is looking forward to meeting and working with his team and other A+FS networkers – not only through a computer screen.

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