Our friends at Real Agriculture took the time to interview me at FarmTech in Alberta. It is always fun to chat with Shaun, and got to discuss how Canada is doing on sustainable agriculture. It is particularly important since progress is being made on some global indicators that would allow more consistent and direct comparisons between countries. I think Canada is going to stack up well. Canada’s already made lots of progress on soil health through the use of conversation tillage. Now we need to focus in on improving crop rotations and measures on biodiversity. It’s great to see people already thinking about intercropping and other solutions to drive us to the next great innovations in agriculture. Onwards to continuous improvement!
On July 17, 2018, the SDG Business Forum will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, in the context of the High Level Political Forum, which is running from July 9-18. The Business Forum is a multistakeholder platform to support business action and partnerships to achieve the SDGs. It fosters public-private dialogues, catalyzes new partnerships and alliances, and explores innovative business solutions to accelerate sustainable development. Over 1,000 leaders from business and government are expected to attend. Learn more here. Please mark your calendars!
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - On Monday, February 19, 2018, Burkina Faso hosted the first Global Pulse Day in Koumbané, a rural commune of Namissiguima in Yatenga. The celebreation took place in the presence of Roch Marc Christian Kaboré and the Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), José Graziano da Silva, as well as the President of the Global Pulse Confederation (GPC), Huseyin Arslan.
No, I am not swearing at you. Or if I were, it would be to express excitement over the new innovation work in Canada. The Government of Canada set out a challenge to have public, private and academic institutions band together to create new innovations to support Canadian growth and jobs. A great example of blended finance, it asked for proposals that would link whole value chains and reach every corner of the country with exciting synergies of expertise.
For many years, it was commonly thought that college students and young adults who were just embarking on their own had bad eating habits; in part, this may be true, what with all the late night snack runs and a generally unsteady eating schedule. But with more people listening to the science coming out about healthy food, and with the added bonus of the availability of gyms at an affordable price for those just embarking on their own, these unhealthy trends appear to be on the decline.
Canada has always been an agricultural powerhouse, but these days it’s not just about selling prairie wheat, P.E.I. potatoes and maple syrup to the world. Now we’re also building bio-cars from ag-based fibres, composites and foams. We’re creating naturally derived pharmaceuticals and functional foods that help fight disease. We’re cutting carbon emissions by finding valuable uses for agricultural wastes, and we’re boosting agricultural productivity in all kinds of ways.
Last year, the third session of the United Nations Environment Assembly took place at the UN Environment Programme headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya from 4th to 6th December. This Assembly is the world’s highest decision-making body on the environment, with a dual role to govern the UN Environment Programme and discuss how to address important environmental issues at the bi-annual summit.
On the occasion of Canada’s 2018 Agriculture Day, which is on February 13th, I want to take time to reflect on some of the incredible work in agriculture that Canadians are accomplishing. It is such a thrill to pause each February 13th and realize that we’ve made incredible progress in just the past year, and that sensation of admiration and optimism is only multiplied when we compare where we are now to where we were five, ten, and fifty years ago.
Based on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and Emerging ag, a training seminar will be presented at UN Headquarters in New York, on 6 March, 2018, to raise awareness of the pivotal role played by agriculture as a sector and by farmers, especially women farmers, to achieve sustainable development. The upcoming 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 62) and its focus on rural women makes this initiative most timely and relevant to ongoing efforts to achieve the SDGs, and in particular Goal 2 and Goal 5, highlighting the fact that sustainable agriculture and farmers must be central to policy decisions that affect food security and nutrition.
The International Year of Pulses (IYP) was declared by the United Nations for 2016 and ended in February 2017. What were the year's legacy outcomes? The IYP saw the pulse sector band together to conduct an unprecedented worldwide campaign. Today, multiple sources and research results agree: this very special crop might make an immense difference in a world where the estimated number of undernourished people increased to 815 million in 2016, up from 777 million in 2015.