The UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) Science Days recognize the pivotal role of science, technology and innovation in the transformation of food systems. This two-day event, which will take place on July 8 and 9, is viewed as an important opportunity to support the agenda-setting process with scientific evidence and perspectives.
In the lead up to the Science days, CoSAI, through the involvement of Sara Mbago-Bhunu (CoSAI Commissioner) will partner with the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP) to host a side event focused on ‘Capacity development for agriculture innovation systems: Lessons learned and future action of the Tropical Agriculture Platform partnership’. The side event will take place on July 5 at 14.00–15.30 CEST and will introduce the TAP approach to strengthening capacities for agricultural innovation systems at individual, organizational and policy level. CoSAI will contribute to TAP partners’ perspectives on strengthening capacity of agricultural innovation systems. Registration for the side event is now open.
As we look to strengthen capacities for agricultural innovation it is critical to understand the investment landscape, as investment is such a critical factor in supporting and enabling capacity development.
CoSAI evidence is showing that somewhere between USD 50–70 billion per year is spent on innovation for sustainable agricultural intensification, but the most concerning aspect is that only 7% of this investment has explicit environmental outcomes and only half of that has clear social objectives. As we build capacity to ensure that innovation addresses environmental and social factors, it is critical that investment flows into these areas.
The second piece of evidence is focused on the innovation investment gap and what can be achieved if we fill the gap. The gap is identified at about $15B, with the investment spread across R&D, water resource management and technical support for climate change. If the gap is filled we can make significant progress on SDG2, hunger (at the 5% level) alleviated in all but sub-Saharan Africa, which falls to 11.6%, and make significant progress on the Paris Agreement. Again, as we look to fill this critical gap, it is essential that building capacity is a key outcome of the investment.
Transforming food systems
Innovation, through science, technology, policy, finance and institutional capacity lies at the center of food systems transformation. To unleash countries’ potential for agricultural innovation, human and institutional capacities must be strengthened.
The TAP side event will share country experiences from Africa, Latin America and Asia by partners including CoSAI, the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS) and the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI). Panelists will offer insights on evidence-based policy dialogue on agricultural innovation, from regional and country level assessments.
UNFSS thematic areas covered in the TAP side event will include: Ensuring access to safe and nutritious food for all; Advancing equitable livelihoods; and Building resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks, and stress.
Initiated by the G20 and supported by the European Union, the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP) focuses on the development of national capacities for agricultural innovation in the tropics, where most Global South countries are located and the capacity gap is especially wide.
To achieve these goals, TAP has embraced an agricultural innovation systems perspective, acting as a multilateral dynamic facilitation mechanism to enable better coherence and greater impact of capacity development.
TAP works with a range of partners, including CoSAI, in support of agricultural innovation systems.