Newsletter A+FS and e+i|EPS / September 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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UN Food Systems Summit 2021 in a nutshell

Photo: Unsplash, Alice Young 

The Summit process

The United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021 (FSS) will be held on 23 September 2021 in New York with the ambition to provide the foundations to transform our food systems and to advance the achievement of the SDGs. While this very day will be dominated by official statements, the real discussions took place in a two-year inclusive preparation process.

A wide range of stakeholder groups all over the world gathered in Food Systems Dialogues to share their perspectives on how our food systems should be transformed. This Dialogue and consultation phase culminated in the public Food Systems Pre-Summit in July 2021. The main goal of this Pre-Summit was to consolidate and assess the wealth of ideas and approaches developed during the Dialogues. As a result, 5 priority Action Areas have been defined as the overall Summit Portfolio of Action. This is where the UN will place particular focus and where Coalitions will be formed to accelerate action.

Find out more about the Summit Process, the road ahead and the GPFS team's Pre-Summit highlights in the full article [reading time 6min.]

SDC independent Food System Dialogues - Results

Organised by the SDC GPFS & A+FS Network, the dialogues brought together 290 participants, representing a broad spectrum of stakeholders across 69 countries. The discussions highlighted three core needs: (1) Inclusive and facilitated dialogue platforms, (2) Reducing the gap between consumers and farmers, (3) Fostering enabling policies and environments to deliver progress on the SDGs. A summary report is under way. Stay tuned!​​

Members' Articles | Your comments join the network!

Strengthening resilience against natural and health disasters

Emergency cash hand-outs, Photo: © ARC[by Hans Ramm, GPFS | Reading time: 6 minutes]
Accelerating climate change is hitting Africa hard, with increasingly more food insecure populations losing their livelihoods in areas affected by adverse weather. The SDC’s Global Programme Food Security (GPFS) co-funds the African Risk Capacity (ARC), a disaster-risk management pool and early response mechanism established by the African Union against natural disasters, and most recently disease outbreaks with epidemic potential … ​ [read more

Transforming rural lives, one agri-entrepreneur at a time ​

Participants in the Agri-Entrepreneurship Program[by Shachi Gurumayum | Reading time: 4-5 minutes]
Manipur is a primarily agrarian state in India’s North-Eastern region devoid of much of the industrialisation seen in the rest of the country. The MaolKeki Foundation, a pioneering organisation with the purpose of catalysing positive development in Manipur, has set up an Agri-Entrepreneurship program to promote and support agribusiness in its transformative role ​​ ... [read more]

Vibrance in the hard-to-reach market system of Bangladesh  

Tea stall owner Raja Mia started an agro input retail business, Photo: Md. Tawhidul Islam [by Tawhidul Islam (M4C) | Reading time: 5 minutes]
Since 2011, the SDC-mandated project Making Markets Work for the Jamuna, Padma and Teesta Chars (M4C) focuses on reducing poverty and vulnerability of people living in the river islands of the northern part of Bangladesh. M4C's main interventions target farming households cultivating key crops in the selected districts, as well as rearing livestock. Since its inception, over 124,000 river islands households have benefited from the project, generating an additional income of CHF 20.8 million​​​​ ... [read more]

Nutrition-sensitive agriculture ​

NMA project, Nepal/IFOAM Organics International[by Alessandra Roversi, Alejandro Espinoza and Barbara Mejía | Reading time: 4-5 minutes]
The early 2010s saw a new, more holistic, way of considering food: the nutrition-sensitive agriculture approach, which underlined the close link between nutrition and food security. This shift in narrative marked some of the first steps towards the food systems thinking of 2021. Switzerland was among the early adopters to this new wave, notably with the Nutrition in Mountain Agroecosystems (NMA) project, in partnership with IFOAM Organics International. After nearly a decade, the NMA project will formally end in 2021
​​​​ ... [read more]

Sino-Swiss groundwater cooperation: 1st policy brief

Photo: Unsplash, Walter Randlehoff[by Lyan Wang | Reading time: 8 minutes]
In a first of a series of Policy Briefs on the on-going policy dialogues led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and Chinese partners, SDC colleague Lyan Wang shares a brief overview on groundwater management policies in the agricultural sector in the Hebei province, China. The summary builds on the lessons gathered through the Rehabilitation and management strategies of over-pumped aquifers in a changing climate, co-launched in 2014 by SDC and the Ministry of Water Resources of the People’s Republic of China​​​​​ ... [read more]

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The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the world

The 2021 State of Food Security and Nutrition report is the first global assessment of food insecurity and malnutrition for 2020. It offers some indication of what hunger might look like by 2030, in a scenario further complicated by the enduring effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also includes new estimates of the cost and affordability of healthy diets, which provide an important link between the food security and nutrition indicators and the analysis of their trends … [read more]

Project experiences on sustainable nutrition 

The “Sustainable Nutrition for All” project has built local capacity to trigger demand for diverse, more nutritious diets. After nearly a decade of support by the SDC and the Netherlands Development Organisation, the project comes to end. However, the extensive knowledge on sustainable nutrition it has generated over the years will continue to inform decision-makers around the world​​ ... [read more[watch the video​]

Following its commitment to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger in rural areas, Switzerland increases its contribution to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Switzerland supports IFAD’s ambition to double its impact by 2030 by enabling 74 million people living in rural areas – especially women and young people - to raise their incomes by at least 20% ​​​ ... [read more: EN, FR, DE]​​

A farmer in her solar-irrigated farm, Nepal. Photo by Nabin Baral/IWMI Under the title “Growing Resilience for a Better Future” this report details how CGIAR worked with partners to respond to shocks to food security around the world and to build back more resilient land, water and food systems. The online document presents research-to-impact results in 2020 across CGIAR.  The report covers: Highlights of 2020, response to the COVID-19 pandemic, contribution to impact, recent achievements, results indicators​  [read more]

Events | Your comments join the network!

Public lecture series: agroecology and the transition to sustainable food systems 

From 21 September to 07 December 2021, the ETH World Food System Centre is hosting a public lecture series that brings together perspectives from science, practice and policy to provide insights on agroecological fundamentals as well as societal aspects. The whole of the series is structured along the ten elements of agroecology, proposed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. [read more]​

SDC social protection learning journey – special A&FS module

Licensed by GOPA from On September 22 from 9:30 to 11:30 (CET) the SDC will present the first technical module of the training series on Social Protection. The module will focus on Agriculture and Food Security. This module aims at providing an overview of typical social protection interventions in the sector aiming at protecting life-cycle risks while at the same time promoting sustainable livelihoods. The learning journey encompasses nine learning events spread over a period of one year. The learning modules build one upon another and will look at social protection from various angles. ​​ [read more]​

Driving youth action for climate adaptation in food systems 

The #Act4Food Youth event to be held on September 29 is an official side-event of the ‘Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition’ – a landmark youth event hosted by the Italian Government just prior to Pre-COP26. The event is intended for youth from all around the globe to participate and engage in efforts and movements around food security under a changing climate. It also aims to create awareness of the Pledge initiative – a youth-led promise galvanising action to defeat hunger, improve health and heal the planet.​ [read more]​ ​​

GMO in agriculture: facts, risks and risk reduction 

On 11 October 2021, The Swiss NGO DRR Platform is organising a Learning Event with a focus on Disaster Risk Reduction to enhance capacities of practitioners with respect to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in Agriculture through introduction on basic mechanisms, facts, regulations, risks and risk reduction measures; practical examples from target countries and interactive discussions with experts.​​ [read more]​ ​​

Cultivating equality: advancing gender research in agriculture and food systems 

AIN Project in Banglasdesh. Photo by Habibul HaqueHosted by the CGIAR Gender Platform and Wageningen University & Research from 12 to 15 October 2021, this virtual conference will explore innovative actions to advance gender and research in global food systems. The different panels made up of representatives from research, civil society, practice, policy, private sector and donors will share insights on the importance of ‘gender+ research’ and ‘gender+ integration’ in guiding positive transformations in food systems and societies worldwide​. [read more]​ ​​

Past event: MetKasekor agriculture extension pilot model

Early August, the Cambodian Department of Extension Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DEAFF) convened a Food Systems Dialogu​e to kick-start the MetKasekor pilot, an early adopter-led extension model, supported by – among others – Swisscontact’s Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture. This event focused on stakeholder sensitization on the pilot model and discussions around opportunities to transform agricultural extension services.​​​ [read more]​ ​​

Who is who | Your comments join the network!

Bruce Campbell  

Focal Point, SDC Agriculture and Food Security Network 


Stephanie Piers de Raveschoot 

Co-focal point / Programme Manager of the SDC Global Programme Food Security

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

Having just started my new position, it is too soon to tell! More seriously, after my training as an environmental engineer, I have had the chance to develop varied work experiences, from the private sector (consultancy firm) to the NGO (humanitarian aid) to development mandates. Now with SDC since 2015, the development world from the donors’ side has proved to be extremely stimulating, being able to engage with a wide set of stakeholders, nationally and internationally, being able to both link strategic thinking with activities on the ground – without forgetting motivated and dynamic colleagues around the globe! I have no doubt this will continue as the years continue unfolding, having shifted from the water sector to the no-less relevant and closely related food security sector.

What is your favourite place in the region you work in and why?

I am blessed to have grown up and be able to live again in Switzerland. The variety of landscapes, from mountain tops to deep gorges, from small lakes to turbulent rivers, provide a setting for each mood and season. But being able to admire the sunset over a quiet lake is probably a winner to close the day.

What makes you happy or laugh?

I'm a great believer in the “small pleasures of life" – which can range from a ray of sunlight piercing through the mist to the sense of accomplishment from having finished the drafting of an annual operational report!.

Tell us something that no one would guess about you?

Give me a horse, set me free in a forest, and you won’t see me for a couple of days. If additionally you fuel me with beer, you probably won’t see me for a couple of weeks! :)

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

Tough question, because there have been quite a few over the years! I think that is probably the biggest treasure: continuously learning new lessons, as you discover new things, join new teams, adapt to new contexts!

Water engineer by training, Stéphanie joined the Global Programme Food Security this summer, after many years globe-trotting with SDC and other organisations to make the world a better place. She is now co-Focal Point of the A+FS network. Want to know more? Connect with her on LinkedIn​

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