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Sustainable Food and Agriculture, the future for sustainable and inclusive development

Countries seek way forward to better integrate Sustainable Food and Agriculture in achieving SDGs in Africa

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7 June 2019, Addis Ababa – With global efforts rising to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Sustainable Food and Agriculture (SFA) can be a key component to accelerate and realize the goal set in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. FAO organized ‘Mainstreaming Sustainable Food and Agriculture (SFA) in the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Context of the Malabo Declaration’ to support countries to better understand the concept and identify mechanisms of collaboration and mainstreaming SFA in reaching SDGs.

Gathering over 80 participants from relevant ministries, the African Union Commission Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (AUC DREA), the New Partnership for Africa's Development of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA - NEPAD), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), private sector, and civil society, this workshop created a platform for different stakeholders to explore ways to better integrate SFA into national agricultural investment plans, in relation to the SDGs and Malabo Declaration targets.

The workshop sessions included promoting awareness of the critical role of food and agriculture for achieving the SDGs and discussing how to integrate sustainable food, agriculture, and natural resource management to align with Malabo Declaration implementation. Moreover, through panel discussions, participants from different countries and private sector shared experiences, discussed progress and challenges, and identified options for moving forward at regional and national levels.

The way forward for mainstreaming Sustainable Food and Agriculture

Understanding the major role that food and agriculture systems can play in many facets of human life in Africa, agriculture transformation is imperative for countries to achieve both SDGs and Malabo commitments, as they are aligned and complementary to each other.

By engaging a wide range of stakeholders, from core policy makers to farmers, the workshop provided a great opportunity to include diverse voices, needs, and practical solutions and actions to move forward in harmonizing SFA into National Agricultural Investment Plans. Towards the end of the workshop, participants presented the way forward to mainstream SFA in their respective countries under the 3 topics of Cross-sectoral Partnerships and Advocacy, Financing National Agricultural Investment Plans (NAIPs), and SFA – SDG Monitoring and Reporting Systems.

Strengthening sustainable agriculture and productivity is essential to achieve the SDGs and the Malabo targets, and for this we should join forces and work alongside government actors and partners to build an integrated approach. The immediate focus has to be in reshaping the policies in a way that promotes SFA and increases cross-sectoral dialogue and capacity development to be able to address national aspirations’, said Clayton Campagnolla, FAO Strategic Programme Leader for sustainable agriculture.

Strengthening collaborations on Sustainable Food and Agriculture

FAO, with its expertise and resources, is well-positioned to support countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, along with many partners. The interconnectedness of the SDGs means that all actors supporting countries in implementing and monitoring the goals must collaborate and share knowledge.

“Throughout the workshop, we were able to witness active participation and strong motivation by the participants during discussions and brainstorming sessions. I believe this demonstrates that stakeholders realize the potential SFA has in sustainable and inclusive development for their national and regional economies,” said Ade Freeman, the Regional Programme Leader of FAO Regional Office for Africa.

Freeman added “Following this growing demand, FAO, with key strategic partners including AUC, AUDA-NEPAD, and UNECA will continue to closely collaborate and create regional forums of learning and experience sharing. Through improving awareness and mechanisms to better integrate SFA and mobilize resources for agricultural investment plans, FAO will support to strengthen the mainstreaming of SFA to achieve the SDGs in the context of Malabo Declaration.”

Sustainable Food and Agriculture and SDGs

The way food is grown, produced, transported, marketed, stored, traded and consumed fundamentally connects people and the planet.  Sustainable food and agriculture contribute to tackling the root causes of poverty and are a catalyst towards inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and provide a practical solution for inclusive prosperity, leaving no one behind.

Therefore, food, agriculture, and people are at the center of the 2030 Agenda and Africa Agenda 2063, the Africa We Want. With both initiatives having a lot in common and complementing each other, SFA is a crucial factor in reducing poverty, providing nourishment to ensure healthy and productive lives, and preserving resources for future generations. Furthermore, SFA can contribute in delivering inclusive growth and driving positive change across the 2030 Agenda.

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