Every year, the Platform holds its Annual General Assembly (AGA), an event that provides an open space for debate to Platform members, partners and invited guests on emerging topics in agriculture and rural development (ARD). AGA participants benefit from the core services of the Donor Platform: knowledge sharing, advocacy, and networking on key development issues and strategic directions that affect lives in rural space. AGAs are organized around specific themes: for instance, the 2018 AGA revolved around “Empowering the new generation in the rural space”, while the 2017 edition focused on “Agenda 2030 put into practice: what future for rural development”. 2019 was a particular edition, designed as a Members’ retreat, to discuss the evolving role of the Platform.
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, 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.
Despite the constraints of COVID-19, the Board Members of the GDPRD have decided to hold a virtual 2020 AGA between 2 and 5 November, designed as a series of virtual events under the theme of “Strengthening coordination towards SDG2: Pathways for Food Systems Transformation”.
The intention of the 2021 Food Systems 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 AGA theme of “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 catalysing 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.