Supporting Responsible Investments in Agriculture and Food Systems (RAI)

Virtual Seminar: "Towards Transformative Global University Teaching: The Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems


The virtual seminar "Towards a transformative global university teaching: The Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems" (CFS RAI) will take place on October 1 and 2, organized by the Salesian Polytechnic University of Ecuador (UPS) and the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) with the sponsorship of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The seminar will be attended by 174 professors of subjects related to agricultural investment from 37 universities in 9 Latin American countries. Its objective will be to exchange experiences on the inclusion of the CFS RAI Principles in the university curricula in order to analyze lessons learned and share ideas to continue advancing the uptake of the Principles. The conference will take place from 9 to 13.30h in digital format.

 Collaboration between academia and FAO on responsible agricultural investment

Academic organizations carry out a fundamental work in the promotion of tools and processes aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), such as the CFS RAI Principles. These principles constitute the first global agreement that defines what is considered "responsible investment" in the agricultural sector, a definition that integrates the need for agricultural investments to contribute to sustainable development, food security and respect for human rights. The CFS RAI were approved by the Committee on World Food Security in 2014.

The Polytechnic University of Madrid has been collaborating with FAO since 2016 with the aim of promoting the inclusion of CFS RAI in the academic curricula of universities in Spain and some Latin American countries. The first stage of this work culminated in 2018 with the commitment of 14 universities from 7 Latin American countries and a joint agreement to continue working on further actions.

During this period, the universities involved have been developing various academic "products" in undergraduate, graduate, research and extension teaching. These teachings constitute the main reason for the Seminar: to share progress with the participants and outline new goals. The experience of these universities, the work on case studies, their legislative follow-up, and university initiatives, will be the main components of the discussion.

The importance of the need to increase responsible investment in agriculture has been growing in recent years, and in particular in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, last August the Parliament of Latin American and the Caribbean (PARLATINO) and FAO launched a joint declaration (in Spanish) urging governments and parliamentarians in the region to promote increased responsible investment in agriculture and food systems through the application of the CFS RAI.

Among other recommendations, the declaration urges States to "consult with all relevant stakeholders, including academia, to establish monitoring, evaluation and reporting systems to quantify the impact of investment in agriculture and food systems, to address negative impacts, to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of laws, policies and regulations and to address any shortcomings related to the CFS RAI.

The Seminar will be opened by the Rector of the UPS, Dr. Juan Cardenas, and will be attended by Ms. Marcela Villarreal, Director of the Partnerships and Collaboration with the United Nations Division of FAO. 

The speakers are from 10 of the 14 universities involved in the project.

  • COLPOS- Colegio de Posgraduados de México
  • PAD, Escuela de dirección de la Piura, Perú
  • PUCMM- Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Mestra de República Dominicana
  • U. del Tolima de Colombia
  • UCSM- U. Católica Santa Maria de Arquiipa, Perú
  • UCSS- U. Católica Sedes Sapientiae de Perú
  • UNLP- U. Nacional de la Plata, Argentina
  • UNMSM- U. Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Perú
  • UPM- U. Politécnica de Madrid, España
  • UPS- U.Politécnica Salesiana de Ecuador 

With the session: The University transforming society through research: the CSA-IAR Principles by Dr. Adolfo Cazorla (UPM) Project Director will be the starting point to show in a concrete way the experiences in the following blocks.

  • The CFS RAI Principles and the graduate degree. UPS, UCSS, UNLP
  • A postgraduate course of excellence in accordance with the CFS RAI Principles. PAD, PUCMM, COLPOS
  • Research Cases: UPM, UCSM, U TOLIMA
  • University Extension of the CFS RAI Principles UPS, UNMSM
  • Legislation and the CFS RAI Principles
  • Presentation of the Student Association promoted by UPS to disseminate the CFS RAI Principles in universities

More information:

Photo by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash.