Independent Food Systems Dialogue (Africa Region) | Wednesday May 26 2021

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The MEALS4NCDs/FERN, in collaboration with other regional partners, including APHRC, REPSAO, ANS, FANUS, CAPHA, AN4H/IFPRI, FS-TIP, ANH Academy, CDIA, and others are co-convening the Africa Regional Food Systems Dialogue. The event will be held virtually on May 26th, 2021 (12:00 to 15.00 GMT).

DIALOGUE Details

Date: Wednesday May 26 2021
Time: 12:00 - 15.00 GMT
Location: Regional, Online

Category:  UN FSS Dialogue (Independent)
Curators: Professor Anna Lartey,
and Dr. Namukolo Covic

Concept Note: UN Food Systems Dialogue
When systems fail, reimagine them. The role of MEALS in reimagining a food system that Africa wants– by 2030.

Background
The world is facing an unprecedented challenge of four intersecting pandemics - climate change, undernutrition, obesity, and COVID-19 with incalculable devastating consequences for human and the planetary health, if urgent and decisive action is not taken. Regarding COVID-19, A joint statement by the International Labor Organisation (ILO), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) underscores its devastating impact on people's livelihoods, their health and their food systems[1].  The cooccurrence of these four pandemics and their collective impact on the food system has laid bare its frailty, and hence a renewed urgency to improve the food system. Of these four pandemics, malnutrition is the longest raging, and Africa is particularly hard hit. Home to more than half of the world’s acutely food insecure people, and with the rate of increase of overweight and obesity and other diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) alarmingly high, Africa has a unique challenge. To illustrate, between 1980 and 2015, adult overweight and obesity in Burkina Faso increased by 1400%, and by over 500% in Ghana, Togo, Ethiopia, and Benin. The existing evidence further indicates that eight of the 20 nations in the world with the fastest-rising rates of adult obesity are in Africa[2]. Low levels of overweight and obesity reported for countries like Ethiopia are misleading if the rates of increase are not also considered.

While the causes of the current malnutrition pandemic are complex, unhealthy diets remain one of the key contributors. In 2014, the FAO and the WHO and other United Nations (UN) agencies made it clear that the increased prevalence of malnutrition is the result of many factors including failing global food systems[3]. Additionally, increasing dependence on unhealthy diets is linked to food system failures to supply healthy and safe food options that are affordable, accessible, and feasible for all[4]. Participants of the FAO Future of Food Symposium in June 2019 agreed that “ending hunger and malnutrition will not be accomplished without transforming the global food system …”.  Governments are often called upon to ensure that such transformations happen. The role of governments in protecting, promoting, and assuring the health of their citizenry (including freedom from malnutrition) is grounded, primarily, in national legislations, but also local policies, and international conventions. To be successful, however, governments require inputs – including data, evidence, nudging, and support from other actors. In response to this call for partnership and a collaboratively delivered response, the UN Secretary-General has called for a Food Systems Summit in September 2021.  The Summit will articulate and adopt an actionable, integrated plan for food systems transformation.

To contribute to this Summit, MEALS4NCDs/FERN[5], in collaboration with APHRC[6], REPSAO[7], ANS[8], FANUS[9], CAPHA, AN4H/IFPRI[10], ANH Academy[11], CDIA[12], FS-TIP[13] etc, are co-convening this Independent Food Systems Dialogue – virtually on May 26th 2021 (12:00 to 15.00 GMT). The event will offer a platform for diverse food systems actors to exchange ideas, and reflect on the challenges and opportunities for transforming African food systems. Overall, the Dialogue will discuss long-term visions for a sustainable food system in Africa; it will also identify priorities for action within the next 10 years. Participants will deliberate on the role of MEALS in reimagining and re-designing the African food system. Reimagining Africa’s food system is re-imagining Africa’s food future, and ultimately, Africa’s future. Thus, these efforts will contribute to the Africa we want by 2030! 2063! & beyond.

[1] Joint statement by ILO, FAO, IFAD and WHO on the impact of COVID-19 on people's livelihoods, their health and our food systems
13 October 2020 https://www.who.int/news/item/13-10-2020-impact-of-covid-19-on-people's-livelihoods-their-health-and-our-food-systems
[2]GBD Obesity Collaborators. Health effects of overweight and obesity in 195 countries over 25 years. New England Journal of Medicine 2017; 377(1): 13-27.
[3]FAO. ICN2 International Conference on Nutrition: better nutrition, better lives. 19–21 November 2014, Rome. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization; 2014. http://www.fao.org/about/meetings/icn2/en/
[4]Freudenberg N: Lethal but legal: corporations, consumption, and protecting public health: Oxford University Press; 2014.
[5]Measurement, Evaluation, Accountability, and Leadership Support for NCDs Prevention Project/African Food Environment Research Network
[6]African Population and Health Research Center
[7]"Réseau de Recherche sur les Politiques et les Systèmes Alimentaires en Afrique de l'Ouest"
[8]African Nutrition Society
[9]Federation of African Nutrition Societies
[10]Coalition of Actors for Public Health Advocacy
[11]ANH Academy
[12] The Chronic Diseases Initiative for Africa
[13] Food System - Transformative Integrated Policy



[1] Joint statement by ILO, FAO, IFAD and WHO on the impact of COVID-19 on people's livelihoods, their health and our food systems

13 October 2020 https://www.who.int/news/item/13-10-2020-impact-of-covid-19-on-people's-livelihoods-their-health-and-our-food-systems
[1]GBD Obesity Collaborators. Health effects of overweight and obesity in 195 countries over 25 years. New England Journal of Medicine 2017; 377(1): 13-27.
[1]FAO. ICN2 International Conference on Nutrition: better nutrition, better lives. 19–21 November 2014, Rome. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization; 2014. http://www.fao.org/about/meetings/icn2/en/
[1]Freudenberg N: Lethal but legal: corporations, consumption, and protecting public health: Oxford University Press; 2014.

TimeSession Purpose
12.00 – 12.05Call to Order Dr. Samuel OtiShare purpose and format of the overall Dialogue
12.05 – 12.10Welcome Prof. Amos LaarWelcome participants and Dialogue introduce partners
12.10 – 12.15 The UN Food Systems Summit: Essence and expected outcomesDr. Charlotte Dufour? (yet to confirm) Introduce the UNFSS to participants
12.15 – 12.45 Food Systems -- Framing and ContextProf. Anna LarteyProvide African context and facilitate shared understanding of Food Systems
12.45 – 14.15Breakout/Parallel Sessions (15 minutes health break included)All; moderated by six Facilitators Each Session will discuss the role MEALS can play in transforming the African food systems by 2030
1 Role of Measurements and Evaluation in food system transformationFacilitators & Participants
2 Role of Advocacy and Accountability Science in food system transformationFacilitators & Participants
3 Role of Leadership & Leadership Support in food system transformationFacilitators & Participants
14.15 – 14.45Feedback from breakout sessions Facilitators Identify top policy and practice asks needed for food system transformation
14.45-15.00Summary of key actions [policy and practice asks) Dr. Namukolo Covic-           
15Closing and next steps FANUS? ANS? APHRC? Outline next steps and actions required post Dialogue

Participation is open to all food systems actors. A non-exhaustive list of food systems sectors and stakeholder groups are included below

Sector

  1. Crops
  2. Fish and aquaculture
  3. Livestock
  4. Agroforestry
  5. Environment and ecology
  6. Trade and commerce
  7. Education
  8. Communication
  9. Food retail
  10. Food industry
  11. Financial services
  12. Health care
  13. National or local government
  14. Utilities
  15. Industrial
  16. Food processing

Stakeholder Group

  1. Small/medium enterprise/artisan
  2. Large national business
  3. Multinational corporation
  4. Small-scale farmer
  5. Medium-scale farmer
  6. Large-scale farmer
  7. Local Non-Governmental Organization
  8. International NGO
  9. Local people
  10. Young people
  11. Science and academia
  12. Workers and Trade Union
  13. Member of Parliament
  14. Local authority
  15. Government and national institution
  16. Regional Economic Community
  17. United Nations
  18. WAHO
  19. ECOWAS
  20. AUDA-NEPAD - CAADP
  21. FARA
  22. International financial institution
  23. Private Foundation / Partnership / Alliance
  24. Consumer Group

 

  • To identify the role MEALS (Measurements & Evaluation|| Advocacy & Accountability Science|| Leadership & Leadership Support)) can play in transforming African Food Systems
  • To identify and prioritize policy and practice asks for transforming African Food Systems by 2030

Please register in advance for this meeting: https://www.meals4ncds.org/en/food-systems-dialogue-registration/

The Measurement, Evaluation, Accountability, and Leadership Support for NCDs Prevention Project (MEALS4NCDs) is a collaboration funded by The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Food, Environment, and Health Program—IDRC, Canada. This project is focused on measuring and supporting public sector actions that create healthy food marketing and food provisioning environments for children and adolescents in Ghana so as to prevent obesity nutrition-related NCDs. The project currently convenes the Africa Food Environment Research Network (FERN). Central to Africa FERN initiative is the threefold purpose of 1) building research capacity for innovative food environment research in Africa; 2) improving South-South and North-South partnerships for robust implementation of food environment research and practice in Africa and 3) sustaining dialogue around current and future needs for food environment research in Africa.

The African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) is a leading Africa-based, African-led, international research institution headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, with a regional office in Dakar, Senegal. Our researchers are contributing to the body of evidence about critical issues in population health and wellbeing, impeding Africa’s development to provide strong direction and recommendations to policy- and decision-makers at all levels. APHRC also aims to enhance the use of the evidence generated by decision-makers for policy and programming at the local, national and regional level.

The RECAP project by APHRC aims to identify context-relevant priority actions that promote a healthy food environment as a strategy to enhance healthy dietary patterns/practices and prevent nutrition-related non-communicable diseases (NR-NCDs) in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The project has four objectives: i. To assess gaps, barriers and facilitators to developing and implementing public food policies and government actions, ii. To assess the frequency and nature of unhealthy food and beverage marketing to children, the power of promotions on television, in stores, and in and around schools, iii. To estimate the cost of inaction for selected NR-NCD policies, and iv. To assess the legal and administrative feasibility of adopting and implementing context-specific NR-NCD interventions.

REPSAO "Réseau de Recherche sur les Politiques et les Systèmes Alimentaires en Afrique de l'Ouest" has been implemented in 2019. REPSAO is a platform of stakeholders including researchers, public policy makers and community actors that aims to develop research-action on healthy food environments policy and food system and to stimulate a regional dynamic around this topic in West Africa. The network has defined and agenda of priority research topics and actions that will guide policy-making decision and development of strategic plans in nutrition, health and environmental sustainability.

Established in 2008, the African Nutrition Society (ANS) is a leading continental professional society of scientists working in the fields of nutrition, food science, agriculture, health, and related disciplines. Amongst others, the society has the goal to strengthen human capacity needed for nutrition policy, programming, and implementation in our continent.

The Federation of African Nutrition Societies (FANUS) is a conglomeration of African Nutrition Societies with the aim of promoting, sustaining and improving nutrition security in Africa. The vision of FANUS is to enhance the visibility, relevance and functionality of the National Nutrition Societies in Africa so that they can advance nutrition science and positively change the nutrition landscape of Africa. FANUS is a non-profit organization with member countries from all over Africa. FANUS promotes networking and interaction amongst her member societies through conferences, workshops, seminars, training programmes and educational courses.

The “Coalition of Actors for Public Health Advocacy (CAPHA)” is a public interest coalition that brings together both state and non-state actors to advocate for public health.  CAPHA is planning a launch of an advocacy campaign to create a favorable environment for policy action and buy-in for food environment policies in Ghana. The current focus is advocacy support for the regulation of predatory commercial practices targeting children (specifically regulating food marketing and provisioning environments of children).

The Agriculture, Nutrition and Health (ANH) Academy brings together researchers, practitioners and policymakers working for better nutrition and health through improved agriculture and food systems. With over 5000 members from 140 countries, the ANH Academy is a global network and platform for sharing research and evidence, capacity strengthening and collaboration across diverse disciplines and sectors. Membership is free. Visit www.ANH-Academy.org

The IFPRI-Led CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) begins with consumption – of healthy, affordable, and safe foods – rather than supply, offering an innovative perspective on the relationship between agriculture, nutrition, and health through research that strengthens the knowledge base and new partnerships that lead to real outcomes. A4NH places strong emphasis on integrating gender and equity, as well as evaluation and impact assessment into its research, offering specific methods to support research and development by others. As CGIAR’s only research program on nutrition and health, A4NH operates as a lens, with a particular focus on the system-level outcome of improving food and nutrition security for health. Recognizing the magnitude of the task, A4NH is led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and managed by a group of four other CGIAR Research Centers and two academic institutions.

The Food System Transformative Integrated Policy (FS-TIP) initiative supports governments in Africa that demonstrate robust integrative leadership and capacity, political will, and commitment, in the development and implementation of an ambitious food system policy agenda aimed at achieving sustainable healthy diets for all their citizens. FS-TIP has a long-term, inter-generational perspective which leverages the momentum of the Food Systems Summit, but with its focus beyond, building a long-term platform for transformation, policy development, capacity building, innovation, and investment in support of the SDGs. The first phase of the initiative, under way in Ghana, Rwanda, and Malawi and supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, IDRC, Tony Blair Institute, APHRC, Akademiya2063, BCG, IFPRI, AGRA, and WFP, focuses on conducting a landscaping and diagnostic analysis of the current state of local food systems and their key challenges and opportunities, key stakeholders, and policy gaps and opportunities. Subsequent phases will focus on integrated policy development and implementation.

The Chronic Diseases Initiative for Africa (CDIA) was established in 2009 as a network of researchers and policymakers, from the University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape, Stellenbosch University, South Africa Medical Research Council, and other African institutions. CDIA aims to reduce the impact of NCDs and their risk factors across Africa; to prevent NCDs; improve the quality of care for people living with NCDs; and build NCD research capacity. The research focuses on innovative community- and facility-based approaches to the management and care of NCDs using a socio-ecological framework approach, implementation science and integrated knowledge translation supported by high-level advocacy to increase evidence uptake. The food environment research portfolio extends from understanding drivers of unhealthy food patterns in urban and rural areas over mapping of obesogenic environments to conducting the INFORMAS modules Food-EPI and BIA-Obesity (planned).

The purpose of the Drivers of Food Choice (DFC) program is to facilitate, synthesize and disseminate research to provide a deep understanding of the drivers of food choice in low-and middle-income countries, strengthen country-level leadership in food choice research, and foster a global community of food-choice researchers.

The Dialogue is convened by the Measurement, Evaluation, Accountability, and Leadership Support for NCDs (MEALS4NCDs) Prevention Project /African Food Environment Research Network (FERN) - in partnership with the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC); Réseau de Recherche sur les Politiques et les Systèmes Alimentaires en Afrique de l'Ouest (REPSAO); African Nutrition Society (ANS); Federation of African Nutrition Societies (FANUS); Coalition of Actors for Public Health Advocacy (CAPHA); Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) | International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); The Chronic Diseases Initiative for Africa (CDIA); Rockefeller Foundation Food System -Transformative Integrated Policy (FS-TIP). The MEALS4NCDs Prevention Project is funded by the Canada International Development Research Centre (IDRC-Canada).

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The MEALS4NCDs Project (Convener of this Independent Food Systems Dialogue) is funded by The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Food, Environment, and Health Program—IDRC, Canada.

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MEALS4NCDs/FERN Secretariat
Independent Food Systems Dialogue (Africa Region)
Email: dialogues@meals4ncds.org
Telephone: +233 20 078 4676