AGA [ID: 544]

2020 Annual General Assembly

Strengthening coordination towards SDG2: Pathways for Food Systems Transformation

Over the coming year, the entire United Nations system and international development agencies will be involved in the design of the Food Systems Summit, which is set to take place in 2021 in New York, and will be a key contribution to the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The current COVID-19 crisis is demonstrating how much all actors engaged in agriculture and rural development depend on each other, and the importance of ensuring that food systems are inclusive, sustainable, resilient and provide for good nutrition. The intention of the Summit is to map out directions for the transformation of food systems needed to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Donors (bilateral development agencies, development banks, foundations and civil society organizations), through their policies, investments, programmes, coordination and support for the global food systems architecture have a critical catalytic role to play in supporting food system transformation.

The problems of current foods systems are well understood as are many of the potential solutions. The challenge is in creating pathways for systemic change that can mobilize commitment, inspire action, strengthen the evidence base, reconfigure incentives and enable coordinated responses.


The selected theme for this year’s AGA, “Pathways for Food Systems Transformation” will open a discussion on what processes are needed at local, national, regional and global levels to underpin food systems transformation, and the role that donors can play in catalyzing and supporting such processes.

The outcomes from the AGA sessions will be taken forward to develop a GDPRD preparatory contribution for the Food Systems Summit. This contribution will assess the ways donors currently support and invest in food systems and identify options for strengthening or changing these in the context of the wider agenda for food systems transformation.

Date and venue

The AGA virtual events will be held over a period of four days, from 2 to 5 November 2020, through the Zoom platform. The events will be publicly streamed over the internet, and therefore accessible also to those who are not registered.


The AGA will feature one high-level session and three events that will deepen the conversation, discussing and analysing some of the principles emerging from the high-level panel.


High-level event

Click to watch livestream recording of the high-level event

Monday 2 November 2020

15:00–17:00 (CEST – Rome, Paris & Brussels)
09:00–11:00 (EST – New York & Washington DC)
22:00–00:00 (CST – Beijing)

Transforming food systems: implications for coordination and financing

The objective of the high-level event is to explore the processes, coordination and financing needed from local to global levels to bring about a sustainable, equitable and resilient transformation of food systems, and to assess the future roles of donors.

The high-level event will focus on critical questions related to the supporting, coordination and financing roles of the donor community, for instance:

  • What processes at local, national, regional and global levels are needed to bring about transformation, and what are the implications for donors?
  • Is there something fundamentally different that needs to happen to achieve a food system transformation? (What is working well, what is not and what are the gaps?)
  • Is funding within the global food system architecture directed in the right way across areas such as:
    • national and regional research
    • national dialogue and policy innovation/coordination
    • incentive structures
    • catalysing investment
    • private sector engagement/partnerships
    • regional and global platforms
    • integration of nutrition, agriculture, rural development, climate change, environment etc.
    • Social protection
  • What is the role of different stakeholders in food systems transformation?
  • What role can donors play to support this transformation and how does it align or vary with current investments?
  • What could be the niche and value add of the GDPRD in supporting food systems transformation?


Jim Woodhill, AgriFoodNexus Consulting / Honorary Research Associate, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

Opening remarks:

  • Paul van de Logt, Head, Food and Nutrition Security, The Netherlands, and Global Donor Platform
    for Rural Development, Co-chair
  • Agnes Kalibata, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on the Food Systems Summit
  • Michelle Nunn, President and CEO, CARE U.S.A.
  • Marie Haga, Associate Vice-President, External Relations and Governance Department,
    International Fund for Agricultural Development


  • Hanneke Faber, President, Foods & Refreshment, Unilever 
  • Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer, African Union Development Agency, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) 
  • Carla Montesi, Director, Planet and Prosperity (DEVCO.C), Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission (EC) 
  • Johan Swinnen, Director-General, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
  • Joan Valadou, Head of the Human Development Department, Ministry for Europe and
    Foreign Affairs, France
  • Martien van Nieuwkoop, Global Director, Agriculture and Food Global Practice, The World Bank

Event #2

Tuesday 3 November 2020

15:00–17:00 (CEST – Rome, Paris & Brussels)
09:00–11:00 (EST – New York & Washington DC)
22:00–00:00 (CST – Beijing)

Pathways for food systems transformation

The objectives of this session are to discuss and analyse the insights and outcomes of the high-level panel. Participants will contribute to developing a few elements of a statement/position on transitioning to sustainable food systems, to use as an initial contribution for shaping the Platform’s contribution to the Food Systems Summit.

The session will take inspiration from the themes emerging from the high-level panel and pick a number of themes on which participants will be requested to work in breakout sessions, deepening the themes and providing some options for developing the position of GDPRD in view of the Food Systems Summit.

Selected senior-level speakers will stimulate the conversation by presenting focused interventions, to which a moderated breakout session will follow.


  • Ron Hartman, Director, Global Engagement, Partnership and Resource Mobilization Division, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)


  • Tristan Armstrong, Sector Specialist, Agricultural Productivity and Food Security, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia
  • Conrad Rein, Policy Officer, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission 
  • Paul van de Logt, Head, Food and Nutrition Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands 

Event #3

Click to watch livestream recording of the event

Wednesday 4 November 2020

15:00–16:30 (CEST – Rome, Paris & Brussels)
09:00–10:30 (EST – New York & Washington DC)
22:00–23:30 (CST – Beijing)

Food Systems: Data for evidence-based policymaking

The objectives of the session will be to Review two key initiatives using data-smart agriculture to support decision-making.

How can international organizations and development partners evaluate the agricultural interventions that can transform the lives and incomes of the world’s poorest farmers, while preserving the environment? How can we produce high-quality and timely agricultural data and make evidence-based decision-making in agriculture the norm?

Two initiatives, namely Ceres2030 and 50x2030, aim to build a stronger capacity to produce, analyse, interpret, and apply data to decisions in the agricultural sector, and provide the infrastructure to build evidence-informed policies for rural development and food security.

How do such tools support decision-making? How will they support the global efforts to food systems transformation?


  • Ammad Bahalim, Policy Officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


  • Jaron Porciello, Co-Director, Ceres2030 / Cornell University
  • David Laborde, Co-Director, Ceres2030 / International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
  • El-Iza Mohamedou, Programme Manager, 50x2030
  • Thule Lenneiye, Coordinator, Agriculture Transformation Office (ATO), Ministry of Agriculture Kenya

Event #4

Click to watch livestream recording of the event

Thursday 5 November 2020

15:00–16:30 (CEST – Rome, Paris & Brussels)
09:00–10:30 (EST – New York & Washington DC)
22:00–23:30 (CST – Beijing)

Catalyzing responsible private sector investments for food systems transformation

This session will discuss how global public goods and donor support can help to mobilize responsible private sector investments for food systems transformation.

The private sector holds the potential to generate much-needed investment in agriculture and food systems and ensure responsible supply chains that can benefit small-scale producers, workers and consumers. However, irresponsible business and financial sector operations can undermine this potential.

Responsible investments in food and agriculture require the proactive engagement and commitment of all concerned partners, particularly in the business sectors of developing countries. To advance on such agenda, it is imperative that global financial institutions and organizations cooperate adequately and promote key coordinated effort towards responsible investment in agri-food value chains.

The event will address the following key questions:

  • How can we promote more responsible private sector investments contributing to food systems transformation?
  • What is the investment gap?
  • What is the potential role of the private sector in transforming food systems, both at the international and national levels?
  • How do we make private sector investment more responsible?


  • Jim Woodhill, AgriFoodNexus Consulting, Honorary Research Associate, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

Opening Remarks

  • David Hegwood, Senior Advisor, Global Engagement Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, U.S. Agency for International Development


  • Sean de Cleene, Head, Food Systems Initiative and Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum
  • Leesa Shrader, Program Director, AgriFin Accelerate and AgriFin Digital Farmer, Programs, Mercy Corps
  • Ishmael Sunga, Chief Executive Officer, Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions
  • Berry Marttin, Member of the Managing Board, Rabobank
  • Chea Serey, Assistant Governor and Director General of Central Banking, National Bank of Cambodia


Contacts AGA [ID: 558]

Contact | Secretariat

Maurizio Navarra

Secretariat Coordinator

protected email