End of Year Letter from our Executive Secretary – Hildegard Lingnau

The Partners in Action Campaign

As we near the closing of the year 2021, GFAR takes this opportunity to thank all our Partners in Action contributors, readers and those who engage in the comments section.

When the Partners in Action campaign was flagged off in May we were hoping that you would offer your experiences in your various fields of work but we were positively surprised about your great interest and commitment. With 33 original blog contributions published, from 28 partners in diverse regions and constituencies, the campaign has become an important part of our work now.

We have covered topics on Inclusive transformation in Agriculture, forgotten foods, gender, farmers at the centre of innovation, the youth’s role in agriculture and most recently farming in a post-Covid world. These blogs are not just stories of what you and other partners are doing, they are also opportunities for us to learn from each other and enhance partnership opportunities within the forum.

In the next year, the Partners in Action campaign will go through a revamp with more exciting and out of the box themes and we anticipate even more participation and engagement.

GFAR rebooting to put small-scale farmers centre stage in the transformation of agri-food systems

2021 has been an important year for GFAR’s structure: With a new Chair, Dr Ravi Khetarpal, and a new Vice Chair, Dr Ross McLeod, and new staff in the Secretariat. With these new energies in the forum, we are optimistic that we will all together be able to reboot GFAR.

This year also saw the launch the Global Manifesto for Forgotten Foods at the FAO Science Week preceding the UNFSS pre-summit. This landmark document was the culmination of numerous regional consultations processes carried out in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East mobilizing thousands of stakeholders to build a common vision around the future of thousands of traditional crops cultivated by farmers The Manifesto and the related Global Plan of Action will serve as a guide for the present and the future valorization of forgotten foods by outlining a process of negotiation between formal science and the knowledge emerging from the local learning, experimentation and problem-solving capabilities of farmers.

Additionally, In the summer, the Collective Action on Inclusive Digital Transformation of Agriculture was kicked off with a regional chapter in Latin America and the Caribbean, and regional activities are in the pipeline in Asia Pacific. As part of the Collective Action, an inter-regional Task Force on Inclusive Digital Agriculture, with members from all the Regional Fora as initial conveners, was launched at the KM4AgD conference on 9 December under the auspices of FARA.

We have also been holding consultations with the Steering Committee about the possibility of having additional Collective Actions. So far two meetings have been held with partners making their case for their proposed collective actions.

In the first half of 2022 we plan to hold regional meetings to continue discussing these and other fundamental issues based on the recommendations of the independent evaluation which was done in 2018.

To have more opportunities to exchange more regularly about issues of common interest we will start two new exchange fora in 2022: quarterly GFAR Talks starting in January and quarterly interregional exchanges starting in February allowing Regional Fora to connect to each other on key topics affecting the pro-poor transformation of agricultural research and innovation systems. Premiering on Wed, 26th Jan 2022, GFAR Talks will be a showcase for debates on challenging and provocative topics related to agri-food system transformation, climate change and innovations in agriculture. These debates make use of GFAR’s global platform to put farmers, women and indigenous and marginalized communities center stage, making for a lively and all-inclusive experience.

For this (and other) initiative(s), GFAR is partnering with YPARD – Young Professionals for Agricultural Development – to ensure that youth is represented and that their voices are heard. Youth representatives will be invited to contribute to the webinars as participants, experts, moderators or panelists.

Further, we plan to have regional workshops in the first half of 2022 leading up to the Partners’ Assembly which we intend to organize in partnership with FARA and YPARD on 26- 29 July, 2022. This meeting will employ a hybrid format and will garner over 150 delegates worldwide (both virtually and in person) to provide oversight of GFAR’s strategic framework, plan of action, role and direction; and to bring collective advocacy and common commitment for GFAR’s Collective Actions.

There are still a number of challenges to be tackled (GFAR positioning, sustainable funding, adequate staffing etc.) but I trust in our joint strength to do so successfully.

Wishing a joyous holiday season and all the best for happy and successful new year I remain with kind regards

Adj. Prof. Dr. Hildegard Lingnau

GFAR Executive Secretary


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