Building Partnerships and Solutions for a Just and Sustainable Food System
Please join BCG for a panel discussion on how to build partnerships and solutions for a just and sustainable food system.
Creating solutions for a just and sustainable food system is imperative as food systems are severely threatened by climate change, degradation, and unsustainable farming practices. The negative social, environmental, economic, and health impacts are felt by communities throughout the world.
Topics that the panelists will discuss include market-oriented climate-smart agriculture and improved natural resource management, the role of climate finance and financial institutions, land tenure rights for indigenous communities, and the role of youth and gender-inclusive programming.
A light breakfast and networking will follow the event for those attending in person.
Please note if you are joining us virtually via the Zoom live stream, the event will be streamed from 9-10:30 am ET. A recording will be available on our YouTube channel after the event.
Registration password: BCG
If planning to attend in person, you must register for access.
Deputy Assistant Administrator, Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Hub and the Inclusive Development Hub
USAID Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation
Bama Athreya serves as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Hub and the Inclusive Development Hub in USAID’s Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation.
Ms. Athreya is an expert on international labor issues, gender and social inclusion, and business and human rights. From 2019 through 2021, she was an Economic Inequality Fellow at Open Society Foundations and Senior Advisor on Gender, Equity, and Inclusion to Laudes Foundation. From 2013 through 2019, she served as USAID’s Senior Specialist for Labor where she developed new programming to address labor rights, counter human trafficking, and promote women’s economic inclusion and was part of a working group to advance USAID’s approach to gender and social inclusion. She has developed and led multi-stakeholder initiatives with global corporations, and has worked and written extensively on labor and gender in U.S. trade policy. She is on the Board of Directors of Green America, Advisory Board for Worker Info Exchange, affiliated as a Fellow with Just Jobs Network, and a regular contributor to Inequality.org. She also hosts a podcast on the future of work, The Gig.
Ms. Athreya holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Michigan, and a certificate in Strategic Management for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from Georgetown University.
Senior Director, Food Policy
Suzy Friedman has dedicated her professional life to programs, partnerships, and policy to advance conservation and resilience for nature and people. Suzy is currently Senior Director for Food Policy at WWF where she works to advance policies that can enable agriculture to be net zero by 2040, end commodity-driven grassland and habitat conversion, advance regenerative, resilient agriculture at scale, reverse species decline, connect sustainable agriculture and nutrition, and support the economic viability of producers and communities. Suzy served as Vice President for Policy at the National Alliance for Forest Owners for 2.5 years and played a lead role in Environmental Defense Fund’s work to improve the resilience and sustainability of the U.S. agricultural system for almost two decades. While at EDF, Suzy played a lead role in developing and implementing EDF’s strategy to collaborate with farmers, grower organizations, agribusinesses, food companies, and retailers to improve the resilience of US agriculture through state and federal policy, market engagement, agricultural finance, data and measurement, and communications. She serves on the Board of Directors of Leading Harvest, which provides sustainable agriculture assurance programs optimized for flexibility, scalability, and impact.
Chief Climate Officer
Eric Reading serves as Abt Associates’ first Chief Climate Officer. He is an interdisciplinary social scientist with a background in geography, economics, and urban planning and more than 25 years of experience in water, energy, natural resources, land use, and agriculture. He has worked with national and local governments and the private sector in dozens of countries on policy, finance, and institutional reforms for more sustainable systems.
In this role, Reading leads Abt’s work in climate change mitigation and adaptation across divisions, as well as its corporate sustainability program. In previous roles, he led programs in water, energy, natural resources, land use, agriculture, and health. He joined Abt Associates in 2020 to lead the International Development Division, Abt’s largest business unit. In that capacity he oversaw programs which mobilized more than $7 billion of private investment in clean energy. He also oversaw the Climate Economic Analysis for Development, Investment, and Resilience program and Climate Integration Support Facility.
Before joining Abt Associates in 2020, Reading was the Executive Vice President for Chemonics International. He oversaw all aspects of global development business with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department for International Trade (now the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) and led digital transformation. As a board member, he spearheaded initiatives on impact investment and innovative finance. Previously he managed the firm’s two largest regional divisions through periods of rapid growth. He served in resident assignments in Egypt and Kosovo leading implementation of USAID water and energy programs.
Managing Director and Partner
Qahir Dhanani is a member of the leadership team for Boston Consulting Group’s Public Sector practice. He leads the firm’s work in global development for North America, working with international development organizations based in the US. He is also a member of the agile leadership team.
Qahir is an expert in agile transformations in public sector institutions as well as in global economic and social development. His work at BCG focuses on advising senior executives and officials in the public, private, and social sectors on operational issues (including agile, organizational transformation, process excellence, change management, and leadership development) and on policy and programmatic issues (including competitiveness, infrastructure, innovation, entrepreneurship, jobs, and poverty alleviation).
Prior to joining BCG, Qahir served as an advisor to the CEO at the World Bank and before that, he held various positions within the Aga Khan Development Network.
Senior Policy Advisor
Bureau of Resilience and Food Security, USAID
Dr. Emily Weeks, Senior Policy Advisor in the Bureau of Resilience and Food Security, USAID Washington/Global office. She provides leadership across the Agency in Climate, Natural Resource Management, Land and Resource Governance, Resilience and Food Security. She has led several key efforts including the Natural Resource Management guidance for the US Government Global Food Security Strategy for Resilience, Climate and Natural Resource Management policy, The Agency guidance on Nature Based Solutions, and the Land and Resource Governance Joint statement. Emily is a co-chair on the Global Donor Working Group for land, USAID representative on the National Climate Assessment 5, committee member on the donor advisor group for Agro-Ecology and committee member on the FAO Fisheries panel. She has also been the agency lead for the IPPC review and in 2019 and was part of the USG delegation for the IPCC.She currently leads the Comprehensive Action for Climate Change Initiative (CACCI), a global initiative that supports local organizations to work with key stakeholders at country level to meet NDC and NAP commitments. Prior to joining USAID, she was the co-founder of the National Land Resource Centre, in New Zealand. She was also a program leader and managed over 20 themed collaborative research projects, as well assisted with the development of goals and strategic vision and provided access to key resources for the development and implementation of key policies across New Zealand. She has conducted research for a range of projects in Oceania, Asia and Africa, including REDD+ Ethiopia, Sustainable Development of Protected Areas System of Ethiopia (SDPASE) project for the UNDP, and land use planning and ecosystem services in South Africa. She has a PhD in conservation biology and an MSc in Marine Ecology.
Associate Vice President of Agriculture, Resilience and Water
Aaron Sundsmo, Winrock’s associate vice president of Agriculture, Resilience and Water, has 20 years of experience providing organizational and portfolio leadership with both for-profit and non-profit international development organizations, including 15 years in Africa and Asia. Aaron supports Winrock’s mission through development of global partnerships with smallholder farmers, communities and agricultural enterprises that increase food security, enhance livelihoods, and strengthen sustainable water solutions by applying resilience-based approaches. Over the past two decades, Aaron has led complex projects focused on resilience, food security, agriculture, and government systems strengthening, in addition to working in the water security, public health, HIV/AIDS, and education sectors. Prior to joining Winrock, he was director of resilience for Mercy Corps in Zimbabwe, and was the team lead for the Resilience Knowledge Hub, a strategic project of the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund. He also worked in Sri Lanka as senior director for international programs at Plan International, where he oversaw cross-sectoral support to Plan’s 52 country offices. Aaron has a master’s in international peace and conflict resolution from American University’s School of International Service.