On October 13, 2020, we launched our replenishment period 2020-25 to raise US$1.5 billion over five years (2020-25) at a virtual event, Partnering to Transform Food Systems Globally. At the event –which was hosted by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and moderated by journalist, Femi Oke– donor partners pledged over US$300 million in new funding to the Program, meeting the yearly target for 2020.
The event pulled together a diverse group of experts for a tightly packed agenda, kicking off discussions about how food systems need to be reimagined in order to meet the new demands brought on by climate, conflict, and now the COVID-19 pandemic, and the critical role that partnerships play in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG2-Zero Hunger).
The first segment of the event included brief presentations on the trends and drivers of global hunger and the financing gap to reach SDG2, providing a snapshot of new global evidence and solutions to address these problems. An expert panel discussion then reflected on how collaboration is key to achieving SDG2. The second segment highlighted our value-add through the voices of partners involved in investments, and donors announced over US$300 million in new contributions.
In his opening remarks, German Federal Minister Gerd Müller underscored the urgency to work towards a common goal of achieving SDG2. He highlighted GAFSP’s important role in response to the 2007-08 food crisis and our current role in responding to COVID-19 impacts.
Dr. Maximo Torero, Chief Economist at FAO, considered the core drivers that affect the levels of undernourishment –climate variability, conflict, economic instability, and surprises such as the COVID-19 pandemic– and how the only way forward is to transform food systems. Jaron Porciello, Co-Director of Ceres2030, presented new global evidence showing that, to sustainably end hunger, donor investment must increase by an additional US$14 billion per year over the next 10 years and must be accompanied by an additional US$19 billion a year in domestic spending. Dave Prescott, Creative Director at The Partnering Initiative, presented how leveraging multi-stakeholder partnerships, particularly those that start at the local level, can help transform food systems.
During the live panel discussion, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, UN Special Envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit UN Special Envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit; Dr. Claudia Sadoff, Managing Director of Research Delivery and Impact, CGIAR System Organization; and Gilbert Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) discussed how complementary partnerships must exist at different levels –at the producer level, within government, private sector, research governments, development actors– to maximize impact on the ground. The panel discussed the effectiveness yet complexity of partnerships, the challenges we face including resources and lack of inclusion, and the centrality of food systems to so many other global challenges.
As host, trustee, and an implementing partner, the World Bank’s Global Director of the Agriculture and Food Global Practice, Martien Van Nieuwkoop, reinforced the World Bank’s commitment to GAFSP and underscored that food security remains high on its list of development priorities. Dr. Natasha Hayward, GAFSP Program Head, provided an overview of the Program and highlighted key achievements, stressing that our work is more urgent than ever, with climate change, conflict and COVID-19 further complicating food systems globally. She also announced that, in response to COVID-19, we recently allocated over US$60 million to 16 ongoing public sector and producer organization-led projects. In a series of testimonials, farmers from Bangladesh and Mali, private sector clients from Malawi and Honduras, and a country representative from Haiti shared their experiences of how GAFSP-funded investments have impacted their families, communities, and countries.
In an open exchange with Femi Oke, Liberian Minister Jeanine Cooper and former Togolese Minister Noël Koutera Bataka discussed how GAFSP’s flexible and responsive model has allowed their countries to deliver results and help smallholder farmers to become more resilient, particularly in the context of crises such as Ebola and COVID-19. Ibrahima Coulibaly, President of the Network of Farmers' and Agricultural Producers' Organisations of West Africa (ROPPA) and GAFSP Steering Committee member, reflected on what is needed for farmers to continue progressing towards SDG2, including more resources, better policies, and more open and transparent partnerships amongst country actors.
The event concluded with high-level announcements from our donors: Australia (US$10 million), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (US$10 million), Germany (€200 million), Norway (US$42 million), and Spain (€10 million). The United Kingdom and the Netherlands delivered statements of support but did not announce new funds. Closing remarks were delivered by German Parliamentary State Secretary Maria Flachsbarth, who thanked donors for their commitment and stressed the need to continue supporting the Program in the future.
This event was part of a series of events convened by the German government to reflect on global evidence, challenges, instruments, and partnerships around SDG2.