Wrapping up Sustainable Food Systems on Agrilinks
Thank you for joining us during this month’s Agrilinks series on “Sustainable Food Systems: mainstreaming natural resource management (NRM).” This topic area is highly relevant to USAID’s coming inauguration of the Resilience, Environment and Food Security (REFS) Bureau, which will incorporate units that work on agriculture, water, resilience and food security with those focused on climate change, biodiversity conservation and land and resource governance. One critical point of convergence in the new bureau is NRM. Poor NRM damages the ecosystems that underpin agriculture and food systems, while improving NRM is critical for resilience in the face of climate change and other stresses. Key to improving NRM in agrifood systems is partnering with and drawing on the skills and knowledge of those who live and work on the land, husbanding its natural resources but have often been left out of decision-making: women, Indigenous Peoples, youth and marginalized rural communities.
A foundation for the theme this month was a Policy Review and Portfolio Review that investigated the integration of NRM into agriculture, food security and resilience programming at USAID. The reviews highlighted the diverse approaches to integration, the barriers to integration and recommendations from over 60 staff on how to overcome barriers and achieve greater synergies. These reviews inspired us to continue the conversation on Agrilinks.
Within the month, Agrilinks received 20 blog contributions on our theme from experts around the world. Topics included youth empowerment in achieving sustainable agrifood systems, sustainable food systems and the wild meat challenge, how insect farming contributes to sustainable food systems and addressing food waste and food safety in sustainable systems. The month was capped by a hybrid in-person/online panel discussion on building partnerships and solutions for a just and sustainable food system.
In addition to our blogs, we had a hugely successful webinar with 1,158 registrants, 351 attendees and 66 countries represented. It featured a keynote presentation on NRM and sustainable food systems (CIFOR-ICRAF’s Ravi Prabhu and Robert Nasi) and a discussion with USAID Mission staff on water resources management (Alison Macalady of USAID/Peru) and regenerative food systems that work for people, nature and planet (Moffatt Ngugi of USAID/Mozambique). Watch the full event recording here.
We also hosted a hybrid event on building just and sustainable food systems with Deputy Assistant Administrator Bama Athreya highlighting the need to include all stakeholders across the entire food system and the need to build gender-inclusive programming. Panelists — including Eric Reading, Chief Climate Officer Abt Associates; Qahir Dhanani, Managing Director and Partner, Boston Consulting Group; Aaron Sundsmo, Associate Vice President, Winrock International; and Suzy Friedman, Senior Director of Policy, WWF — discussed 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. You can view the event here.
I would like to thank all of our contributors to this month’s Agrilinks series — our writers, speakers and behind-the-scenes crew. This was a huge success and we look forward to building this discussion through more knowledge interchange and greater collaboration over the upcoming year.
Stay tuned for more engagement and keep up the amazing work that you are doing!