18 September 2019 – Creating stronger partnerships to help build an inclusive and sustainable future for millions of smallholder farmers and greater global food security was the focus of CABI’s 20th Review Conference held on 12-13 September 2019 at the Runnymede Hotel in Egham, UK.
Delegates from CABI member countries and partner organisations heard how creating stronger partnerships – with both the public and the private sectors – are key to reducing inequalities across the food value chain.
The triennial event saw more than 100 delegates from 33 Member Countries, over 20 partner organisations and CABI, come together to endorse CABI’s next Medium-Term Strategy for 2020-2022 which is responding to the needs of member countries including those of female farmers, youth in agriculture and climate change-affected food systems.
Dr Lutz-Peter Berg, Chair of CABI’s Executive Council, opened the meeting highlighting the conference theme – “Building an inclusive and sustainable future”. His remarks were followed by a keynote speech given by Her Excellency Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission, which stressed that ‘humanity is at a stage where we need to make critical choices that will affect the inclusive and sustainable future that we would like to see.’
H.E. Madame Sacko said, “We need to broker stronger relationships and partnerships with various stakeholders particularly the private sector. We also need to see mutually beneficial partnerships between local farmers and agri-businesses or the private sector in general. Governments must facilitate programmes and an environment that can ignite transformation that can ensure that we witness the inclusivity and sustainability that we so desire.”
The Review Conference, which followed three Regional Consultations covering Africa, Americas and Caribbean and Asia-Pacific, presented the opportunity for members to be updated on progress made against the previous Medium Term Strategy and the forthcoming one which will be ratified at the Executive Council meeting in March next year.
CABI will work towards a range of goals, in particular making smallholder agriculture more resilient to climate change, helping women and young people gain new opportunities from access to targeted, context-specific agricultural information. This will be delivered through innovative use of technology set across six thematic areas such as value chains and trade, invasive species management and crop health.
A number of presentations and panel discussions were held as part of the Review Conference. These included presentations about working in partnership given by His Excellency Sani Reni Ahmed, Minister for Agriculture, Ethiopia and Dr Muhammad Hashim Popalzai, Federal Secretary of Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Pakistan.
Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann, Executive Director, Global Operations, CABI, chaired a panel discussion on how working in partnership can help address the global challenges which included high level representatives from the European Commission, FAO, Koppert, and the African Union.
Dr Trevor Nicholls, CABI CEO, said, “Throughout this conference, we have strengthened our alliances with member countries, development partners and private sector partners. Now we can – and indeed must – work collaboratively to drive change effectively and efficiently.
“These partnerships cannot be empty expressions of cooperation but will generate action. Together we must make connections, working with CABI member countries to fund the projects we have agreed are essential to global progress as well as forging links between private and public sector organizations.”
Main photo (Sarah Hilliar/CABI): delegates at the 20th Review Conference held at the Runnymede Hotel, Egham, UK.