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Sustainable Livestock, Sustainable Lives

On July 20th, I had the opportunity to attend the International Livestock Research Institutes side event and the UN’s High Level Political Forum in New York. The side event was titled Sustainable Livestock, Sustainable Lives and it explored how to give livestock its rightful place in the SDG agenda. It highlighted how collaborations between researchers, government, farmers, civil society and the private sector contributes to support the livestock sector by creating sustainable, diverse and nutrition-enhancing food systems to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition, as well as supporting and promoting sustainable livestock and healthy diets.

Livestock is frequently a portal of entry for the landless and poor to economic production and household security. Domestic animals perform critical development functions through their contribution to nutritious diets, economic growth, poverty alleviation, and improved rural livelihoods. More than 1 billion people’s livelihoods depend on the livestock sector. Demand for animal-source products is expected to grow approximately twofold globally, and even more in low-income and emerging economies. Animal-source products - such as meat, dairy, and eggs – provide vital nutrition, particularly in the context of child and maternal health.

In order to be sustainable in its growth, the livestock sector needs to support livelihoods, contribute to enhancing economic and social well-being, protect public and animal health through the reduction of health threats to and from livestock, sustain natural resources and contribute to climate change mitigation. Livestock relates directly or indirectly to all SDGs. It most specifically helps deliver every target in Goal 2 of Food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture, as well as furthering Goal 1 in the fight against poverty, and Goal 3 on health. The Sustainable Development Goals are only achievable with the inclusion of livestock. To make the most of such opportunities, there is an urgent need to consult the livestock sector, increase awareness of policy-relevant investment needs and opportunities relating to the sector, and orienting policies, partnerships and investment in appropriate ways.

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Request for Proposal For a Consultant to Co-ordinate Development of a 10-Year Research Strategy for Pulse Crops

Emerging ag inc is soliciting proposals from qualified suppliers to assist in coordinating the development of a 10-Year Research Strategy for in the context of the 2016 International Year of Pulses.

The supplier will work closely with Emerging ag inc in development of the strategy.  In the context of the International Year of Pulses, Emerging ag inc acts as Secretariat to the Global Pulse Confederation which has convened a Productivity and Sustainability Committee comprised of experts from many pulse institutions.  The group has helped to frame the scope of the report and assisted in the development of a list of experts.  It will be available as advisors through the process of developing the project.

Emerging ag inc will co-ordinate communications and activities for the champions programme related to this project.

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First-Ever National Academy of Sciences Prize Dedicated to Food and Agriculture Sciences Established by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research with Support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Beginning in 2017, the National Academy of Sciences will recognize one annual recipient for an extraordinary contribution to agriculture or to the understanding of the biology of species fundamentally important to agriculture or food production. This fantastic award is jointly supported by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Establishing the NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences is part of FFAR’s efforts to elevate food and agriculture research in the scientific arena and highlight the critical need for scientists working toward more productive, sustainable agriculture and better health through nutritious food. 

Nominations for 2017 are now open, with a deadline of October 3rd, 2016. Mid-career researchers at U.S. institutions may be nominated online. “Mid-career” is defined as up to 20 years since Ph.D. completion. The Prize may also be shared by one or more individuals for a collaborative accomplishment. For the purpose of the prize, areas of science with applications to agriculture include the following:

  • Plant and animal sciences
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition and food science
  • Soil science
  • Entomology
  • Veterinary medicine
  • Agricultural economics

 

Election of the UN Secretary General


With Ban Ki-Moon’s term as Secretary General wrapping up, the selection process has been in full swing. The leadership shown by Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly, to increase transparency in the process is laudable. The webcast sessions to introduce candidates to member states and the world is a leap forward from the process being confined to the Security Council members.

Another innovation has been to allow civil society to contribute questions to the candidates via a process facilitated by UN-NGLS.  Details from UN-NGLS are below:

More than 1500 questions from nearly 100 countries have been submitted since the process began at the end of February. From among these, each candidate has been asked 2-3 unique questions during their UN General Assembly dialogue. In addition, two were used during the 12 July debate with 10 candidates in UN General Assembly Hall, and the President of the General Assembly posted 10 of the questions on his web site, requesting all candidates to respond to them.

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Time Flies...

Well as the old adage goes “times flies when you are having fun”. It is hard to believe that it has already been over a month since I joined the amazing team here at Emerging ag inc. 

My Emerging ag journey has been a constant learning experience on a multitude of levels. Working with a virtual team that is positioned around the globe is new for me, I am discovering a whole new side to the agriculture industry than I have previously been exposed to and at times I feel like I am learning a new language as I decode all of the acronyms that are used on a daily basis. 

July was an incredible blending of old and new professional experiences as I began my Emerging ag career I also participated in the event coordination of some grassroots livestock events during the annual Westerner Days Exposition, blending the two very different aspects of the agriculture industry was a unique experience. One minute my focus was on sire and dam information of purebred cattle and the next minute I was reviewing an RSVP list that includes high level dignitaries from around the global.  From Red Deer to Rome in the blink of an eye, how exciting!  

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Partnership Forum on Livestock: Final Report now available online

At its 41st session in October 2014, the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) requested the High-Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) to prepare a study on Sustainable Agricultural Development for Food Security and Nutrition: What Roles for Livestock? Ahead of the launch of this report launch, the Private Sector Mechanism to the CFS and the Government of Argentina co-hosted a Partnership Forum on Livestock on June 30 at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Rome, Italy.

Over 65 participants were in attendance, including over 20 permanent representations of member states to the UN Rome-Based Agencies, senior UN officials, members of the Private Sector Mechanism, NGOs and academics. The event was framed in the context of the upcoming negotiations that will take place at the UN Committee on World Food Security on Livestock.

The event started with a keynote address by Dr Jimmy Smith, Director General of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Smith believes that livestock should be viewed not as a problem to be fixed but as part of many solutions to many global problems. His address was reported on the ILRI website here. The event also showcased two additional keynote presentations and a set of rapid fire presentations highlighting projects undertaken by the private sector in order to improve the sustainability of the livestock sector and its contributions to food security and nutrition. A total of 27 presentations were made at the event.

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IFT16: Winners get the opportunity to share their pulse innovations at the largest food technology event of the year!

I was given the opportunity to attend the International Food Technology conference in Chicago, IL, USA last week. The events drew a crowd of 23,000 food scientists, technologists, agriculturalists and foodies.

I was there to support Pulse Canada, the American Pulse Association, USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council, and the Global Pulse Confederation put on the LovePulses Product Showcase. Winners from the National Competitions, and winners from the Virtual Competition presented their products to a crowd of over 100. Offering samples and cooking demonstrations, the winning teams captivated the audience for their hour long session at the Cooking Up Science booth. It was so great to see these students taking advantage of the opportunity to present their hard work to relevant industry members.

The teams who presented their products include:

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No one left behind: Livestock at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) participated in this week’s UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. This is the first of many meetings and processes that will take place to monitor progress in meeting the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Shirley Tarawali, assistant director general of ILRI, was in New York this week to take part in a livestock-focused side meeting, which took place on July 20, 2016. Tarawali is passionate about the forum theme “No one left behind”, as well as passionate that “livestock” not be left behind in the may agendas being put forward to meet the 17 goals.

Tarawali was one of five panel members who gave a short talk to frame the discussion.

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Outcomes of the Pan-African Conference in Zambia

The pulse of development is often a bean.

The Pan-African Legumes conference is highlighting some of the outcomes of their meeting in Zambia.  It was a pleasure to be a speaker regarding the International Year of Pulses. I’ve never seen such an enthused and dedicated audience at any meeting.  Every workshop was packed, people were engaged, and they worked 12-14 hour days in session.  More than 400 young scientists showed their passion for pulse crops, every one of whom is needed to foster the productivity of pulse crops and the diversity of the food system.

Read the event recap from the MSU publication ‘Futures’ here.

Emerging Ag congratulates Dr Lawrence Haddad on his appointment as new Executive Director for the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)

In June, I had the privilege of being invited as a guest to the GAIN Partnership Council annual meeting that took place in Geneva. It was an excellent event that brought together a diverse group of participants from GAIN staff, academia, civil society, and the private sector. I attended as a representative of the Private Sector Mechanism to the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in order to further linkages between GAIN and the CFS. At the time of the meeting, the search committee had not yet announced who the new Executive Director (replacing Marc Van Ameringen) would be. I was delighted to hear the appointment of Dr Haddad. Having worked at IFPRI previously in my career, I was all the more pleased. Dr Haddad’s reputation speaks to itself. He will continue being a leading figure in the international nutrition policy in this new capacity. The PSM Working Group on Nutrition will be keen on engaging with him.