Expanded partnerships for impact

Source: IFPRI

Source: IFPRI

At the end of November, I participated in two very exciting development events in Brussels.

My first stop was IFPRI’s workshop, Partnering for Impact: IFPRI-European Research Collaboration for Improved Food and Nutrition Security. The all-day workshop brought together 80 of IFPRI’s European partners to discuss how we can strengthen our partnership to have the highest impact on future food and nutrition security.

I had the honor to open the workshop with Klaus Rudischhauser, the deputy director-general at the European Commission’s DG Development and Cooperation, EuropeAid. The participants of the workshop emphasized the need to focus future research and partnerships on: monitoring and evaluating policies; linking evidence with the policymaking processes; adapting research and partnerships to emerging challenges; engaging the private sector; and supporting innovations in policies and institutions. IFPRI intends to make this workshop an annual event to brief our European partners on emerging research results and progress being made.

The workshop concluded with a ceremony during which I joined Mr. Jean-Pierre Halkin, Head of the Rural Development, Food Security, Nutrition Unit at the European Commission, to sign a European Union Contribution Agreement to initiate a second phase of the IFPRI-led Food Security Portal project.

My second stop was the 8th annual European Development Days, an international forum organized by the European Commission. This event brought together hundreds of European practitioners and their partners worldwide to discuss improving development coordination and aid effectiveness in the context of the post-2015 agenda. I took part in two roundtable events as part of this forum.

In the first panel, “Resilience-building for Improved Food Security and Nutrition,” I emphasized the importance of strengthening the resilience of smallholders to a host of increasingly severe political, economic, public health, and environmental shocks. Smallholders cannot and should not be treated as a homogenous group. Instead, a varied approach is needed to help households move out of poverty, malnutrition, and vulnerability. Going forward, efforts to strengthen resilience should focus on promoting social safety nets; increasing smallholder-friendly financial tools and investments; and, integrating smallholders into nutrition-focused value chains.

During the second panel, “Food Security and Food Justice: Building Blocks for a Just and Sustainable Global Food System”, I addressed how to eliminate hunger sustainably by 2025 amid changing climate, land, and water scarcity, and competing demands on the food supply and natural resources. The way forward lies in following success stories with significant progress in improving the food security, such as Brazil, China, Thailand, and Vietnam. These countries utilized different strategies, ranging from an agricultural growth-led strategy to social protection and nutrition interventions. In order to usher in an era of food security and improved nutrition, stakeholders need: good metrics to monitor progress; country-led approaches; evidence-based policies; and engagement of new actors, such as the private sector and emerging economies.

IFPRI’s successful collaboration with its European partners goes back many years and such events as the Partnership for Impact workshop and European Development Days play an important role in advancing and strengthening this relationship.