Meeting highlights from the 2022 Annual General Assembly “Implementing National Pathways for Food Systems Transformation to Accelerate Progress Towards the SDGs in Times of Crisis and Conflict”.

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Members of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development convened on 14 and 15 June for the 2022 Annual General Assembly (AGA) to discuss evolving and emerging priority areas for collaboration among donors.

This year’s AGA was a chance to expand and elaborate on the ideas emerging from the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit, and adapt thinking to rapid and dramatic shifts in the global context.

It was held against the backdrop of an ongoing war launched by Russia against Ukraine. This conflict has curtailed exports of grains and edible oils by these countries, which are two of the world’s leading exporters, and reduced access to Russian fertilisers for farmers worldwide.

The consequences include soaring prices for traded food commodities and energy, stoking inflation caused by strong demand and constrained supply as the world economy recovers from the continuing Covid-19 pandemic that began in early 2020. The sense of crisis and urgency, has been reinforced by the Hunger Hotspot report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Food Programme. It warns that war and climate change have put 49 million additional people in 46 countries at risk of famine during the 2022 June-September ‘lean season’ in the northern hemisphere.

The report also said rising food and energy prices were compounded by high fertiliser costs which are ‘likely to affect yields and therefore the future availability of food’.  And this as humanitarian organisations were seeing sharp cost increases for their operations.

In this meeting review, drawn from the annual assembly discussions piloted by the GDPRD in Rome, we look at five key themes for donors:

  • Supporting national food system transformation pathways
  • Building consensus and coordination of initiatives in response to the global crisis.
  • Optimizing the use of data in decision-making
  • Responsible land-based investing
  • Rural youth employment in food systems

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