Emanating from the wild, COVID-19 pandemic closed down the world, but it has also demonstrated that a rapid global response is possible!
Could the COVID-19 experience help us create a food-secure world through a transformative structural change?
Can we apply the lessons learned from crisis response to ensure that our actions support resilience and sustainability over the long term?
Is it possible to provide critical COVID-19 relief without losing sight of the long-term goals of food security and community resilience?
To avoid or prevent the same vulnerable group of people from being affected by the next crisis – be it a new disease outbreak, an unexpected drop in commodity prices, or a poor harvest due to unfavourable weather events or pest infestation – the resilience of rural people and rural communities and their capacity to cope with shocks need to be stronger.
Investment in rural development and agriculture makes rural people self-reliant and enables them to mitigate the impact of severe events, increasing prosperity, ensuring sustainable food systems and food security, and strengthening resilience.
Marie Haga is Associate Vice-President, of the External Relations and Governance Department, at IFAD. She is responsible for communications, global engagement, partnerships, resource mobilization and relations with IFAD Member States.
Haga has extensive experience in conservation, food security, foreign affairs and politics. Before coming to IFAD she worked with the Global Crop Diversity Trust, where she was Executive Director from March 2013.
Haga served with Norway’s Foreign Service as a career diplomat and held various positions in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including the Norwegian Mission to the United Nations in New York and the Embassy in New Delhi. She was appointed to and held the position of State Secretary/Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1997-1999.
Haga’s political career includes serving as a Member of Parliament in Norway from 2001-2009. She also held three ministerial positions: Minister of Cultural Affairs (1999–2000), Minister of Local Government and Regional Development (2005–2007) and Minister of Petroleum and Energy (2007–2008).
In addition, Haga held the position of Director for Renewable Energy in the Federation of Norwegian Industries (2009–2011) and of Secretary General of the Norwegian Air Ambulance (2011-2013) – the biggest voluntary organization in Norway.
Haga studied political science and was a trainee in the Norwegian Foreign Service.
Gordon is an internationally recognised scientist in sustainability of water, food, and the biosphere. She conducts innovative research that combines work with small scale farmers in Africa, global models of land-use and rainfall interactions, and culinary innovators.
She has previously served as deputy director, deputy science director and research theme leader at the Stockholm Resilience Centre.
As a researcher, Gordon is particularly interested in how intentional and unintentional actions in one place can influence systemic change elsewhere. In research she integrates insights from resilience thinking, land use change, food systems, hydrology, and social-ecological systems.
Her work also includes extensive experience in leading international research projects. One example is her research on Moisture recycling, analysing how land use change influence rainfall patterns and hydrology elsewhere.
She has also led, and still contributes to several research projects in the Sahel region including research on ecosystem services, livelihoods and social-ecological resilience assessments. This research has been funded by grants from SIDA, the Swedish Research Council, CGIAR and the French National Research Agency (ANR).
She currently co-leads the food theme in the Wallenberg Foundation funded Stanford collaboration programmes on ‘Natural capital, resilience and biosphere stewardship’ and ‘Fundamental research in biosphere-based sustainability science’. She is one of the authors of the forthcoming EAT-Lancet Commission, and on its Executive Editorial Team.
She is on the board of directors of the EAT Foundation, a science-based global platform for food system transformation. One of her key interests in terms of food system change is related to aspirational change, especially in the Nordic region.
Gordon has published more than 50 research articles, including articles in PNAS and Trends in Ecology and the Environment. She also co-authored the book Water Resilience for Human Prosperity (2014) and has contributed to several other book chapters.
Gordon has a PhD in Natural Resources Management from Department of Systems Ecology at Stockholm University, and a Post Doc at the International Water Management Institute in Sri Lanka.
She is a popular speaker at Swedish and International events, especially around food system change, water resources management and more general aspects of sustainable development.
Stephen Muchiri has been working in the agriculture sector for the last 16 years and is the CEO of Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF), a regional network of national farmer unions, federations and co-operatives in 10 countries. EAFF is currently managing a new strategic plan (2013-2020) whose focus is entrepreneurship and has a specific interest in the use of new ICTs4Ag to aggregate farmers for output and input markets, hence use of drones in agriculture is an area of interest for EAFF.
He holds both a Bachelor and Master of Science degree in Horticulture and a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management. EAFF is a non-political, not-for-profit, regional umbrella network of smallholder family farmers of Eastern Africa. Its role is to promote the interests of farmers on issues touching on policies, markets, productivity, capacity, information and regional integration as well as to voice farmers’ concerns in socio-economic development. In recent years Mr Muchiri and EAFF have been collaborating closely with the Empowering Smallholder Farmers in Markets (ESFIM) programme involving AGRINATURA-EEIG, Wageningen UR, NRI, and CIRAD.
Ruramiso is the founder of Mnandi Africa and is the first woman to become chairperson of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union youth wing. Ruramiso’s primary role is to advocate and lobby for youth and woman participation in agriculture. Upon completing a degree in Agriculture Business Management, Ruramiso worked for one of United Kingdom’s leading agriculture equipment companies. It was during that time Ruramiso realized how the use of equipment and technology could transform agriculture. Upon her return to Zimbabwe she committed herself to transform the image of agriculture. Her work was noticed by AGCO, and she was invited to attend their Africa Summit in Berlin in 2015. After sharing her story, she won an award for influence and leading woman toward mechanization in Africa. In 2016, Ruramiso was selected to participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship, which is the flagship program of Barak Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. Ruramiso was selected to be a panelist at the World Food Prize in Iowa and gave input on the importance of nutrition in Africa.