Two bees, or not two bees; that is the question

...And it's a matter of perspective.

“If no one is to be left behind, all relevant actors are to be heard,” José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UNFAO), told those at the opening of the 43rd Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS43).

It was clear from the first day of CFS43 that collaboration is critical if we are to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Elisabeth Rasmusson, Assistant Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), stressed the importance of collective efforts from all those along the value chain to address sustainable food production and nutrition. We need an approach that goes beyond the single stakeholder and the CFS has established itself as a forum that includes everyone.

If we do not examine the issues from all possible perspectives, complementarity and opportunities for synergistic solutions are missed. Effective solutions cannot be delivered. The clear failure of our current food system to deliver a healthy diet to all people calls for change.

Lively discussions during a CFS side event (hosted by the UNFAO, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development and the World Bank) promoted a multi-sectoral approach in tackling the issues of agriculture development. We must move on from thinking solely of the farmer or consumer when pursuing our goal of #ZeroHunger. This is a multi-layered issue that requires a systems approach for development of an effective solution. A systems approach starts with our ability to recognise the differences present within a given context. Dr. Henri-Bernard Solignac-Lecomte, from the OECD Development Centre, gave an example.

Vietnam and Tanzania are two countries requiring support to develop sustainable agriculture systems, but they are two countries with very different problems. The rural population in Tanzania is booming, jobs must be created for the many rural youth of Tanzania. In Vietnam, their aging rural population presents different problems requiring different solutions. In responding to each country’s specific issues, we cannot base our 21st century solutions on 20th century methods as we are dealing with a drastically different environment. We will not see the same patterns as developed nations have already experienced.

When discussing agricultural development, context is important. Whether it is a specific country/location, gender, demographic, or culture, each point (context) along the food value-chain brings a different perspective to the solution. Promoting local tourism impacts the agriculture system and so does the brand you choose to buy at the grocery store. Each stakeholder needs to be included when we discuss agriculture development. A solution arrived at by consensus, one that is constantly modified and adapted to our dynamic environment, is called for in our quest to achieve the SDGs.

A systems approach when tackling development strategies means that they must be structured to be inclusive and context specific.

It is sometimes overlooked and not discussed:  the plethora of people, expertise and diversity of knowledge required to develop effective development strategies. Each member of our society has a different perspective to bring. Their backgrounds provide multiple perspectives on the problem we are to address and also on relevant solutions.

Our common goal is to have #ZeroHunger. We need to work collectively, in unity, to deliver this vision.

Will we achieve the SDGs? Only if we involve everyone; only if we identify the problems from different angles, several perspectives and only if we approach the solution together...

After all, it’s a matter of perspective if we choose to only see one bee, or or if will we be able see (at least) two?

Blogpost and illustration by Jana L. Phan, #CFS43 Social Reporter – jana.phan@adelaide.edu.au

This post is part of the live coverage during the 43rd Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). This post is written by one of our social reporters, and represents the author’s views only.

18/10/2016 21:00

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