I still remember most of the faces and names, when in doubt, I take another look at the group phot0.
The availability of information and communication technologies has helped in linking individuals and groups thousands of miles apart, but face-to-face interaction is still tops!
The workshop on Policy Dialogies on the design, implementation and monitoring of Food Security and Nutrition policies and process was another prove. I have in the past interacted with many practitioners via the FSN online Forum, but a workshop with the individuals from different parts of the world helped me "put real faces to the names" My guess is that future deliberations will take a new angle for the better. Thanks to the FSN Forum Team.
The workshop was enriching at the personal level as well: provided a rare chance to receive detailed information from the presenters on activities in the different FAO regions. At some point it was conforting to learn that whatever part of the world, we are faced with almost similar challenges and opportunities when it comes to engaging stakeholders and key decision-makers - building partnerships.
However, there is still need for further deliberations and experience-sharing on how best to engage with the private sector as a partner in this "common good."
There is also need for more success stories on harmonization of policies (global, regional, national levels) in support of realities on the ground, especially by family farmers.
Many of the FAO regional programs mentioned school food and nutrition programs as part of their areas of focus. Drawing on documented experiences from some parts of the Global North on failure of some school feeding programs, one would want to know our approach so as to avoid "reinventing the wheel." Could the inclusion of policies on diversity be of help? For example on the the need for students, parents and local communities to be consulted and participate in the definition of what constitutes "food" for school programs? One way could be through a policy in support of "eating local" - taste and familiarity being part of what makes people consume certain foods, subsequently avoid or reduce food waste.
To conclude my input, I would like to reiterate an issue I raised at the workshop: how to bring in North America as a region within the FAO regions of focus? We already have many individuals who participate in the FSN Forum discussions, but not on food and nutrition security issues specific to the Region - for example the rising cases of malnutrition, overweight, obesity, food waste.
To kick-start discussions related to food security issues in North America, I am developing a concept and willing to moderate a FSN Forum discussion on food and nutritonal security of immigrants in the Global North, especially now. I will hold further consultations with the FSN Forum Team on the idea.
Merry Christmas - to all those who celebrate the season.
Happy Holidays to the rest.